As I sip my coffee this morning and write up my weekly spotlight interview, it occurred to me that it’s time to share tips and ideas about interviewing with other content creators. It’s not that you don’t know how to interview, but maybe you don’t even realize that you should be doing interviews, or you don’t know the benefits, and then you also are unsure what questions to ask. I will cover the “why”, “who”, and “how to” in this article.
It really doesn’t matter what business you are in or what you write about – an interview is a great way to shake up content, bring some new blood into the mix, and provide your readers with a fresh perspective. They are still hearing your voice since you are the one asking the interview questions, and they also get to see a new side of you. You will offer your readers an insight into how you interact with others, which is cool for them to see. Plus, they get to understand more about you and your brand by the person or people you choose for interviews, the types of questions you ask, and how you present the content.
Basic reasons to publish interviews on your blog:
- New, fresh content for your readers
- Fresh perspective
- SEO links
- You want to be interviewed, and a great way to make that happen is to give others the same opportunity and expand your network
- Content collaboration and trade with the interviewee
- Potential for a long-term relationship with your interviewee on shared projects
- Boost in website traffic, with double the shares (your social + interviewee’s social)
Who to Interview?
Ok, so you like the sound of conducting an interview, but you have absolutely no idea who you should interview. This is complicated by the fact that you write about your main passions, which for you could be anything from making jewelry, doing yoga, to fitness, or food. Who in the world do you interview, when you are the one who is trying to get interviews yourself, or you write because in real life you are terribly shy?
Tips to help decide who to interview:
- Find people in a similar market as you who are not direct competitors
- Find people who inspire you and whom you admire
- Anyone who has a larger following than you (and fits the two qualifications above)
- People who’s authority can help build your cred (virtual street cred, that is)
- People who you think your readers would love to hear from
How to Conduct a Killer Interview
Interviews seem daunting, but in fact they are kind of like an organized, somewhat formal conversation. I think what makes them feel out of reach or nerve racking is that you are almost always interviewing someone you have never met before. The quickest way to fix that issue is to get to know your interviewee. Below I break down, in steps, the best way to go about conducting an interview so your readers will want to come back for more (and more, and more, and more)!
Top tips for interviewing:
- Know your subject – the only way to conduct a valuable, insightful interview is to do due diligence, and research your interview subject. This does a couple of things; it gives you an edge to ask relevant questions, and it makes your interviewee feel like you care about them, hence building a bond.
- Break the ice – don’t delve into the nitty gritty on the first few questions. You may have some pointed questions to ask, but get to know your interviewee and build some rapport by asking general questions about their background. This will help put you both at ease (whether the interview is live or written).
- Direct, Open-ended, and Short – a recent article I read about interviewing suggests making your interview questions methodical. Don’t dance around what you really want to know, and be sure to leave plenty of room for your interviewee to come up with his or her own answer (rather than a closed question to which they can only respond “yes” or “no”).
- Listen – Any journalist, writer, or interviewer knows that the best way to extract the best content is by listening to your interview subject. Listen for subtle answers that might otherwise go unnoticed, and expand upon them.
If you are interested in reading some of the interviews I’ve written, they can be found on the HireInfluence blog. Recent interviews:
- Spotlight Interview: Actor Influencer, Kelsey Goldberg
- Spotlight Interview: How About Cookie, Food Artist Guru & Influencer Selena Kohng
- Spotlight Interview: Alejandro Moreno de Carlos, Photography Influencer
- Spotlight Interview: Glutes & Gloss Founder, Christie Cash, Fitness & Beauty Influencer
* I do a feature interview every week on influencers who have made a big impact in their industry. If you feel this is you, please email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.