<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=519725236441885&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Content Planning & Question Writing

Good Questions Determine the Success of Your Async Podcasts?

In this article, we dive into defining the types of questions for each section of your interview and we share some valuable tips that will help you formulate them correctly.


The interview’s backbone

Questions define whether your interview will be successful or a disgrace.

Inadequate questions will show the host’s poor preparation and will reflect a poor image of the guest. So what’s left for the interviewee but to finish the conversation as quickly as possible and avoid encountering the host ever again?

But competent and well-thought questions can do wonders. Guests will feel valued and will be prone to answer them as best they can. The conversation becomes meaningful for the audience attracting more listeners and potential customers. The interview becomes marketing content that portrays the host and guest in their best light. Asking good questions is an art form and we’re here to help you craft them in a way that your guests will be delighted to answer them.

In asynchronous podcasts, there’s an additional challenge where you record the questions beforehand and can’t adjust them to your guest’s answers which usually happens in a live conversation. So everything has to be perfect from the very beginning. This article is focused on formulating great questions for this type of podcasting. Here’s what you need to know.

Where do questions come from?

Before diving into the how we should do some research on our guests and their field of expertise. Learning about their background ensures that your questions will be relevant which will reduce their likelihood of digressing from the topic.

The American Youtuber Sean Evans, most famously known for his series Hot Ones, is an excellent example of doing thorough research on his guests. Many guests are impressed at the facts he’s able to dig about them and they frequently congratulate him on his well-researched questions. Here’s an example. Look at how his guests glow after hearing his questions. Wouldn’t you like to get that feeling from your guests as well?  

Look at your guest’s social media, read a couple of blogs on their field (or articles written by them), ask people that know your guest about them, go that extra mile and take notes throughout this journey to ensure you formulate the best questions for that specific guest.

Different types of questions

Asynchronous interviews can be structured in at least three parts and each stage has a specific type of question you should address.

Part 1

The first part starts with the introduction where you focus on warm-up and background questions. There are two vital reasons to get this part right. Firstly, this is where your guest will get used to talking to you and it will either motivate them to keep answering thoroughly and passionately or they will feel uninterested and try to shorten the conversation as much as they can. Secondly, since it’s the beginning of an exciting interview (hopefully), this is where you grasp the audience’s attention (or not) which will predispose them to keep interested for the rest of the interview.

Depending on the topic you want to address, here’re some questions to break the ice.


  • Please could you introduce yourself, and tell us what you do?
  • What does your company do?
  • What clients do you serve, and what are the typical problems you help them solve?
  • What’s a common myth or something people misunderstand about your profession?
  • What’s the biggest challenge your industry is facing today?


  • Where did you grow up and how did it affect who you are today?
  • How would your parents describe you today and as a teenager?
  • How did you develop the skill you are known for now?
  • What is your morning routine?
  • How would you spend an extra hour every day?

And we could go on with a variety of topics but the important thing to grasp is that you should get your guests comfortable and excited about embarking on this interview. If your guest is happy participating, your audience will love it too.

Part 2

The second part is getting to the main section of your interview. Here’s where you dive deep into what you announced in the introduction. Guests might take more time to answer each question in this section but don’t worry about them going to greater lengths to get their point across. You can always edit it later.

Some questions in this section might go as follows:

  • Who are your typical clients / what sectors?
  • What problem do you solve for your clients?
  • What makes you unique from your competitors?
  • Could you take us through a case study of your product or service as an example?
  • What’s one of the biggest mistakes new marketers make?
  • What are the common misconceptions people often have about self-improvement?
  • What is one of the most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
  • What routines, habits or tools have you found to be helpful in your personal development?

Part 3

The third and final part is the outro, people’s closing thoughts. Some podcasts use a signature closing question that they ask every guest and it is a distinctive feature of their show. This helps keep consistency and serves as an expected ending for the audience. For instance, you can ask how much of their success would they say is due to luck or hard work. You can also have different signature questions depending on the topic you’re exploring (e.g. business, self-development, etc.).

But there are more standard questions to end your interviews. Here’re a couple of examples:

  • Where can people find out more about you online (website, social media, etc.)?
  • What's the biggest takeaway you hope listeners learn from this interview?
  • Could you share your top 5 book recommendations with our audience?
  • What’s next for you in this business/self-improvement journey?
  • Where can listeners sign up for your course or purchase your product?

The closing question can serve as a call to action (CTA) such as guiding your audience toward learning more about the guest. But it can also leave the audience motivated with something to look forward to. Either way, make it feel like an ending. People need closure.

Tips for formulating amazing questions

Once we know the general structure of your interview, we can focus on broad guidelines to help you formulate questions that your guests will enjoy answering.

Focus on open-ended questions

Open questions usually start with one of the w’s: why, what, who, where. Additionally, you have the “how” questions. When you start your question like this, guests can talk more freely and they can take time to develop a well-thought answer. Usually starting with “why” or “how” will get you the best answers. These questions will help the guest explain their way of thinking and it will get them to speak at length.

Here’re a couple of examples:

  • How did it feel to do that?
  • Why did you decide to change strategies?
  • How are you different from your old self from 5 years ago?

However, too open questions can make the guest feel lost on how to answer them. Likewise, if you’re interviewing several guests, each one might interpret it differently. For instance, you might ask if you think your guest’s customer would recommend their products or services without specifying which one or what type of guest you are referring to.

Avoid closed questions

On the other hand, closed questions usually start with do, did, is, or can. They call for very short and predictable answers, usually yes or no responses. 

Don’t ask questions like these:

  • Do you like your work?
  • Have you ever used “x” (any specific product/software/service)?
  • Have you found your mission in life?

These questions don’t allow for longer responses and your show will feel bumpy instead of feeling like an evolving story.

Create questions answerable by more than one guest

If you’re creating a multiple guest episode or a podcast series that needs to maintain a certain consistency throughout the episodes, you should stick to asking the same questions. Don’t include personal details in the question so you can share them with all your guests and ensure that the questions are relevant to all of them.

For instance, one of our clients, Sounds Profitable, created the most comprehensive database of podcast businesses that others could access. To create an easy guide for anyone interested in learning about a company, he sent the same questions to dozens of firms:

  • What does your company do?
  •  Who does it serve?
  • Why do people need what you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • What makes your offering better than your competitors (without putting them down)?

This allows you to scale the interviews and reuse these questions in other interviews. You’ll also get dozens of consistent answers which will reduce the time you spend editing these podcast episodes. You get more content in less time which allows you to publish consistently every week.

Ask your guests for examples

Not only do examples help illustrate a point but audiences love hearing about real stories. Alternating between facts and stories allows the audience to easily follow the plot and enriches the conversation. There’s always a good story hidden beneath if you know how to help it come out.

Help them exemplify their point with the following questions:

  • Tell me a time when “x” happened.
  • Could you share with us a real-life example of that? What happened?
  • Can you illustrate your previous point with a real-world application?
  • What’s a use case for your product or service?

We will more easily remember a guest if we can link it with a story. Help him become memorable in your audience’s ears.

Follow up on your guest’s answers

Since asynchronous interviews aren’t live, we can enhance the flow of the conversation by adding comments to our guest’s responses. Not only does it add a natural element to the interview but it also helps dig deeper into the topic.

While it may take more time to edit your podcast episode, since you have to listen and think about your guest’s answers, it will serve as positive feedback for your guest and will allow your audience to value your guest’s response even more.

You’re giving more time to your audience to digest what has been talked about. It’s an emphasis that strengthens your guest’s answer and they will appreciate it.


Questions are an essential part of the interview process, especially in a setting that happens asynchronously. They help define the guest’s mood and depth of their answers and your audience’s level of engagement with the content. In this article, we dive into defining the types of questions for each section of your interview and we share some valuable tips that will help you formulate them correctly. 

Useful Links:

Similar posts

Get notified on new audio marketing insights

Be the first to learn new audio marketing insights. Grow your business with audio.