Close
Close

The Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting Interviews For Your Blog

This is a guest contribution by Kelly Gregorio.

As an active blog owner, chances are you strive to produce content that is engaging, relevant and most important, fresh. Right?

Switching up your content’s style and delivery can keep readers’ interest and may even make the experience of producing content more exciting.

One way to engage your audience is with a stellar interview. Not only can a successful interview provide some great promotion to your brand and credibility within your field, but it also can get audiences more invested in your blog’s content.

Unfortunately not every blogger knows the keys to great interviewing.

Missteps and mistakes can turn your endeavour into a flop while running the risk of staining your online reputation. Follow these quality do’s and don’ts and make the process work for you, your interviewer and your blog audience.

Do Prepare

If there is one thing an interviewee hates it is a repetitive, unprepared interviewer. If you want stagnant answers and shallow insights, then by all means don’t do your homework. However if you want them to open up…

Get prepared. Know your subject’s biography and background better that he/she does. Read every interview about them that’s ever been published. Your interviewee will not only appreciate not needing to fill in the well-known blanks about their past, but they may even get invested in the interview itself.

By reading past interviews, you’ll know not to ask those same old questions that they’ve heard before. Take on the task of striving to ask something they’ve never publicly explored before; try to get them not just to answer, but also to reflect and really think.

Don’t Serve Your Own Curiosities

Of course you will come to the interview with your questions already prepared –this goes without saying. However pre-interview be sure to formulate each question with your eventual readers in mind. 

The formulated questions you collect should serve as a great skeleton for where you see the article going. The interviewee will either fill in the meat or break the mould completely; you have to be willing and open to things going either way.

Whatever you do be sure not to abuse your power and ask questions that solely serve your curiosity. Do not ask things that you have no intention of writing about but are instead, are just nosey; it’s so unprofessional. Everything you say and do should be in representation of your reader’s interest while being both polite and politically correct.

Do Set The Tone

It is your job to ease your interviewee’s mind. Despite their public persona, people get nervous during interviews. And a clammed up subject will make for some boring interactions.

This is why you should make the interview more of a conversation.

Be willing to work with your interviewee as they formulate his/her thoughts. If you rigidly plan to quote them verbatim you are going to find yourself with a tight lipped and hesitant participant. Instead, encourage them to just be themselves and go off and explore together. Get clarification before quoting anything, to make sure that their intended message gets across.

Don’t Forget To Show Thanks

Post-interview be sure to follow up with a formal thank you for their time. If you have an online following, promote your interviewee (and any upcoming projects they have going on) by providing teasers to your readers about the upcoming interview.

Be sure to let your interviewee know when their post will be live. Not only is informing them the polite thing to do, it might even open your interviewee up to participating and interacting with questions and comments from your readers.

Have you had any success conducting interviews for your blog? What tips can you add?

Kelly Gregorio is a journalist that reports on small business trends while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a company that provides businesses working capital. You can connect with her through the comments section of her daily business blog here.

 

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. George says:

    Nice contribution. Thank you very much kelly. This blog post really motivational post for new blogger plus advance blogger.

  2. dojo says:

    I planned on having some interviews on my blog, but never really started the actual work. On one of my forums I interviewed few people and the posts were very well received by the community. It would be a good idea to do this on my blog now

  3. I would like to interview a couple of my niche experts and I believe this post will help me in preparing for the interviews.

  4. marty says:

    I wish I had this weeks ago I just finished doing a massive interview with several bloggers and I have to admit at first I had no idea what I was doing.But I studied and hopefully it went well. I think your right that you have to let the people know you are on their side and make them as comfortable as possible.I also think it helps to read other interview that your subject participated in to see what they are comfortable talking about and what has never been asked before

  5. I appreciate your reference to writing content, and interview.
    I believe, the writer websites should afford, validate, and interview, their prospects towards business.
    This will make for regularity, productivity, and not having, loss of versatile information, or blocking.
    Thank you, for writing the post.

  6. Grace Henry says:

    Thanks for the tips – very timely, as I’m preparing to interview a few people this week!

    I have a question for readers. What format have you found most successful for interviews on your blog? Do you do email interviews? Audio recordings? Audio recordings and then transcribe? Video? I’ve done mainly email interviews, but am considering an audio recording for these ones…

    Thanks for your feedback!

    • Hey Grace, I am doing an interview per week on my blog and I do it by asking people to look at the questions and if they are interested, to leave a comment on my blog. Then I follow up with an email asking them to actually answer the questions by email, in their own time.

      I know that many people would avoid audio or video interviews because they feel they need to be more prepared and answer questions on the spot. Hope this helps!

    • I have interviewed several authors on my blog, and have done so using both email and video. I’ve found that preparing a list of questions to be answered by email is not as good as Mary Jaksch’s approach – which is to email one question at at time. This leads to a more conversational approach and is the approach I am using from now on, in email interviews.

      For video, you have to be prepared and expect the unexpected. If you think quickly on your feet, you’ll be fine. Eaver has Skype-recording software you can use for video calls; Google+ Hangouts is another way to go, too. The drawback with hangouts is that they are posted to YouTube, so you need to be aware that they will not be considered exclusive content for your blog.

      Good luck with whatever method you choose to use, Delia!

  7. Thanks for the tips, Kelly! My top advice is to keep it really short and simple and to give the person you are interviewing at least an idea of what it’d be expected of them.

    I find that email interviews work best and people are more likely to want to participate. I have mine started at: http://blogformatting.com/blogger-interview/ please come by and see how I’ve got them set up.

  8. Jef Menguin says:

    These tips are helpful. I am now incorporating interviews in my blog and your post is very timely.

    Thank you.

  9. Kelly, super helpful tips here. I remember as a blogging newbie interviewing Nik Halik, financier, world traveler, do it all, type guy. I researched like crazy even though his publicist sent me a list of questions.

    Good thing too. Nik said it was like his 9th interview of the day, with the same boring questions, and he told me to free style it. Things went down a fun, playful, awesome path.

    Have a framework but build a conversation to make your interviews sound natural.

    Thanks Kelly, great share!

    Ryan

  10. Pulkit says:

    Your writing skills are really appreciable ..and this article is very providing awsome tips , now i can incorporate interviews in my blog using these tips if i want to :)

  11. Tom says:

    I’ve done quite a number of interviews for my blog and agree with all these points.

    Something that I want to ask others about, and remind folks to think of, is how to cut off your interviewee and keep the answers short?

    I’ve been great at developing a conversational attitude in my interviews, but if things get too relaxed and friendly you end up with long answers that wind off topic. I have yet to figure out how to control this.

  12. Dave Rowley says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I really liked your advice to set the tone as a conversation.

    The interviews I get the most out of are usually ones where the interviewee is allowed to meander a little and different perspectives come up instead of a canned response to the questions.

  13. Sani says:

    Great post, I’m doing my first interview next week so this was perfect timing. Thanks for the great advice.

  14. Malhar Bahai says:

    Thanks Kelly for this nice write up. Great tips bloggers like us who have started their journey just now. :)

  15. Edson Hale says:

    The art of intervieweeing demands to make your subject speak the way you want from him and tells you and your readers the information they want to know. So the success of interview depends mostly upon interviewer to drive the subject where he can give his best.

  16. Susan says:

    I would say, a very good post and initiative. Some of the above points are worth to note as they are the common mistakes done by the interviewer like balancing the tone while taking interview.

    I will keep this points in mind while taking interview for my blog in future.

  17. Varun says:

    Planned an interview for my blog. Thanks for the tips – very timely.

  18. David says:

    Nice post. Never really thought about conducting interview for blogging, until now :)

  19. Robin Burks says:

    I would also recommend picking up a copy of “How To Interview” by Jason Arnopp. It’s a great book and has become my bible for doing interviews for my blog.

  20. Fardeen says:

    Good list Kelly. Have noted down some of the points; though it may be useful for me in near future:-)

  21. Great tips, Kelly! I’ve done several interviews for my blog so far and here’s what I’d add:

    1. Know up front why you’re interviewing that person. Are you interested in their most recent project? A past experience? Their taste in fashion? It helps to guide your questions and keep the interview focused if you or they go off on a tangent (which happens more than I’d like it to!).

    2. Make sure your interviewee knows why you’re interviewing them. Be as detailed as possible before the interview even starts with expectations and what you need from them. It helps them come prepared and cuts down on confusion. I wasted a lot of time during some of my first interviews explaining this at the start of the interview. Plus, if your intention for interviewing that person is about a thoughtful topic, you get better answers since they’ve given it some thought before they got to you.

    3. Tell your interviewee what you’re going to use the interview for, where it will be shown, what format it will be in and get their permission (recorded) before you start. It’s just good practice to be up front and good protection against “you didn’t tell me that” and “I didn’t say you could post that.”

    4. Expanding on not serving your own curiosities, let what they say during the interview and what your idea of what your audience wants guide you in your questions and follow up questions. Always be thinking about your audience and what they would ask this person if they had the chance. You’re their voice.

    5. Interviewing can be nerve wracking, especially if you’re a bit shy and anxious like I am. But I’ve learned that the interviewee is probably nervous too and I try to enjoy it as best as I can and focus on why I’m doing it. Of course, this part may not apply to you if you’re a super fearless person.

    Happy interviewing!

  22. Altaf Gilani says:

    I think apart from all points mentioned by you, the flow (chronological order) in which questions should be asked are very very important.

    Messing the flow might not hold reader/viewer completely…

  23. Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments! I hope these tips will help with your next interview!

  24. Sam Adeyinka says:

    This is a pretty impressive post and one that must be duly observed. Well, I have done two interviews so far, one with Reginald Chan and the other with Jeeet Banerjee and it was literally successful. It was so because I followed this same method and I mean I went out of my way to land those interviews which my interviewees actually replied too. I will publishing another one soon and this time around it’s with an amazing woman called Sue Neal

    Thanks for sharing this, friend! :)

    Sam

  25. Michael says:

    Thanks for the tips, I am actually conducting interviews for my blog right now, perfect timing.

  26. Alexa says:

    I would say that posting interviews in your blog is really traffic increasing. The tips you give are good. Most of them seem obvious, but many people keep forgetting them.
    Thank you for a great post!