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.
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.