As a podcaster, one of the decisions you face is determining the number of guests for your episode. The choice between a solo episode, a one-on-one conversation or a group discussion shapes the tone, depth and engagement level of your show. Each choice offers benefits and watch-outs.
- Focused expertise: Solo episodes let you showcase your unique perspective without distractions. You have full control over the content and can delve deep into a specific topic.
- Efficiency: Recording and editing solo episodes remove the need to coordinate schedules or moderate guest interactions.
- Consistency: Solo episodes help your audience know what to expect.
- Engagement: Holding listeners' attention throughout a solo monologue requires strong storytelling and communication skills.
- Variety: A series of solo episodes might lack the dynamic range of perspectives that guests can bring.
We've found that solo episodes often are used for an organization’s internal podcast—when a team leader wants to communicate a specific topic. For example, a CEO detailing the company’s quarterly progress, the head of HR guiding employees through new wellness initiatives or someone explaining the new tax code to the internal accounting team. Often, these episodes are behind a company’s firewall and not for public consumption.
- In-depth discussions allow for deeper explorations of topics, with a more personal and engaging connection to a guest.
- Guest spotlight: This format showcases a guest's expertise and experience, which can lead to captivating conversations.
- Chemistry: With just two voices, it's easier to establish a natural and easy-to-follow flow.
- Guest availability: Coordinating schedules and ensuring you and your guest are available can be challenging.
- Moderation complications: Ensuring a discussion where host and guest have the opportunity to contribute isn’t as easy as it seems. Knowing when to hold one’s tongue is a special challenge for some hosts.
This is the main format we use at Rivet360. Usually our clients select a host from their organization to be the show’s voice.
- Diverse perspectives: Group discussions bring a range of viewpoints and opinions, creating a rich and dynamic conversation.
- Engagement: The energy and interactions among multiple participants can grab listeners.
- Moderation: Managing a group conversation requires skillful moderation to ensure that everyone's clearly identified and has a chance to speak, and that the discussion remains focused.
- Editing complexity: More voices mean more potential for overlapping dialogue and interruptions.
- Guest dynamics: Ensuring each guest has a distinct voice and contributes meaningfully is crucial to avoid one person dominating
The group or panel discussion episodes we’ve produced usually come from the recording of a live event. So much time and effort (and money!) goes into planning live events that leveraging that content beyond the event itself is a great way to extend the budget. And since event planners have often selected the optimal panel moderator and participants, a podcast episode is a great way to market the event to entice more attendees.
Choosing the right guest count for your podcast episode depends on your goals, content and audience preferences. Experimentation and adaptation will help you find the perfect balance.