But how do you do an interview? Should you record it and provide media? Should you have it transcribed? How do you know what questions to ask? Is it acceptable to edit the responses?
As you can see, there’s more to a successful interview post than you might think. I’m actually not going to answer all of these questions in this post (but I will in the upcoming ebook). Let’s break it down and take a look at what you need to know to create a successful reveiw post.
The most important aspect of a successful interview post is choosing the right person to interview. The person has to be highly relevant to your audience in a way that’s complimentary to your own business. Otherwise, no one will see the point of the interview.
Sometimes timliness is important here, because the person will just released a new book or product and want to promote it via interviews. These people are eager to get the word out quickly and are more likely to say yes to an interview request.
Unless you’re responding to a press release email or a request for you to interview someone, you’ll have to approach your interviewee yourself. If you’re nervous about this, take heart: it’s not tough at all.
Most people almost never say no interviews because of the ego gratification involved. Chances are excellent that all you need to do is ask. You do not have to have any existing relationship with someone before you ask them. It’s perfectly okay for you to ask them out of the blue.
However, it would be a good idea if you can tell the interviewee why accepting to be interviewed would be beneficial to her and not just to you, which means you should know something about her. If the interviewee has something to promote, this would be the obvious route. If the interviewee has a message or an agenda to get out to as many people as possible, let her know how many people her interview will reach.
For example, let her know how many blog readers, email subscribers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends you have if these numbers are decent and growing. You’re not doing this to brag, but to show that saying yes to an interview is mutually beneficial to both of you.
Let the interviewee know you know a little bit about her so that it’s clear your email isn’t just some form letter sent out automatically.
There are several different formats interviews can take, with varying levels of engagement and involvement.
- Text - Usually this is done by email. You email your questions to the interviewee, and she writes her answers to them and sends it back.
- Audio - You record an audio conversation with the interviewee and provide the audio on your blog for streaming or downloading. A popular way to do this is to get an add-on for Skype that lets you record your calls as an mp3 file.
- Video - You record a side-by-side conversation with the interviewee and upload the video to the web for streaming or downloading. Vokle is a new service for this that looks extremely promising.
A little research can suggest questions to ask. If the person has written a book, make sure you’ve read it. You should be familiar with the interviewee’s website and background.
- Think of all the questions you want to ask that first come to mind, and write them down.
- Then think of a second set of questions entirely, and write those down.
- Scrap the first set of questions and go with the second.
In other words, don’t ask the same questions everyone else does.
If a line of questioning seems really interesting, follow up on it and don’t worry about other questions you were planning to ask. Let the interview go where it wants to. This is harder to do by email but you can always email followup questions.
Your Chance to Practice
I almost never say to no to interviews (as various links above testify–and that’s not even all of ‘em), so if you want to interview me, just let me know. Any format is fine with me, email/text, audio or video. If you’ve never interviewed anyone before, you can practice on me knowing I’m not going to give you a hard time about anything.
Image by AV Hire London