Do We NEED the Guest’s Backstory for Your Podcast?

Dave Jackson
5 min readApr 1, 2021

Knowing every detail about the guest’s background can definitely help produce a valuable podcast episode as you will ask better questions. That is a given.

Does the listener really need their backstory? I think not! This post is going to cover how asking people for their “backstory” can be an immediate turn-off, as well as some tips on how to ask questions that will get them talking instead.

How many podcast interviews do you hear start with this, “Tell me a little bit about yourself?” Ugh. For me, what the host is really asking is, “Hey, I didn’t do my homework and probably don’t know much about you, can you help me out?”

Your Guest Already Has Credibility

So many people think we have to walk through your guest's “story” so we can see what they’ve gone through, and establish the guest's credibility. There are three problems with this:

  1. Your guest’s story may be boring.

2. Your guest may have a great story, but be an awful storyteller.

3. As the host, I trust YOU to bring on guests who will bring value to your listeners. You don’t have to prove their credibility. I’m assuming you’ve already vetted this person and wouldn’t let someone boring on your show.

With this in mind, in many cases, you don’t need their backstory.

The iconic first scene of the movie Jaws doesn’t have us understand who the girl is, and where she went to school, and how many jobs she has had over the years. We know it’s dark out, and that she is swimming naked in the ocean, where they may be sharks, and that is all we need.

Give Them Something To Care About

In the book Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, he states, “Your customers don’t care about you, your products (insert PODCAST here), or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.” I realize that is a bit harsh, but I also believe it’s true.

They don’t care about you until you give them a reason to care.

If you have an expert on Facebook advertising as a guest, do I really need to hear about where they live, their current weather, and their first three jobs? I clicked play…