Give great blog: 7 Tips for conducting interviews
If you’re interested in becoming a writer or expanding your blog, you’ll need to know conducting interviews. As a blogger, interviewing comes in handy when you need content for a post or information to write a magazine article.
A well-conducted interview can also help you form relationships, connect with readers, and provide exposure for someone you like or admire.
1. Do your research
Read your subject’s blog, get acquainted with their website, peruse their marketing materials or press releases. Take note of all of the basic information provided and use it as a starting point for a more in-depth conversation.
For instance, instead of “When did you start your blog?”–a quick review of their archives would likely answer that–read their first post and ask them to talk about why they chose to start their blog at that time.
Don’t be afraid to let the interviewee know you’ve done your research by asking about a project or event they’ve mentioned on their blog/Facebook/Twitter. It makes you seem professional, not stalker-ish!
2. Determine the method of communication
Good ol’ technology has made it easier than ever to conduct remote interviews, though nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation. Decide upfront whether you want to use phone/Skype, email, chat, or even Twitter for your question and answer session.
You can also combine media if possible–for instance, start with an email interview for basic information, then ask your follow-up questions via chat or phone.
3. Keep it fresh
Try to think of fresh, new questions instead of the same ones people are asked in every interview. Mix it up a bit, and throw in one or two weird or funny questions to help loosen up your subject and relax the tone of the interview.
4. Ask open-ended questions
We all know this one from middle school, but it still bears repeating. Once you ask a question that requires more than a yes or no answer, your subject has to put more thought into their reply and you can glean more information from their response.
Which brings us to…
5. Ask follow-up questions
Use the interviewee’s responses to ask follow-up questions. This is obviously easier if you’re conducting an interview in person, via phone, or chat, but even email interviews can include follow-up questions. Your readers will enjoy it more if the interview is more of a back and forth conversation as opposed to a static interview.
6. …But not too many
If you’re sending your interviewee a list of 47 questions, you need to edit! This is supposed to be fun, it shouldn’t feel like completing a corporate status report.
7. Be courteous
Always thank your interview subject for working with you, and let them know approximately when the interview will run. If you remember, send the link to the published article when it goes live.
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