If you want to add a bit of variety to your blog content and gain some authority and engagement in the process, try interviewing an expert. Turn that interview into a blog post, and watch what happens! In today’s post, freelance writer Beth Bauer (@JourneyofBethB) offers sound tips for landing, conducting, and completing an interview for your blog.
If you’re trying to come up with new ways to engage your audience, consider doing an interview. Interviewing someone well known to your readers will make you seem credible and increase your level of authority. Plus, if you interview someone whose name people recognize, the post should create some buzz and bring attention to your blog.
It’s essential, though, to approach the interview professionally. That means being well prepared. This post gives you some helpful pointers on how to conduct interviews for your blog.
Choose the Right Topic
Your interview should be about a topic that makes sense for your niche. Spin it so that your readers will find it interesting. For example, when I was in Zermatt Switzerland and was staying in a hostel, I met a father and son mountain climbing team that was about to tackle their lifelong dream of summiting the Matterhorn. My blog is about travel, so I put it in a context that had to do with travel. I mentioned how I met them and why they caught my attention.
Create a List of Interview Prospects
If no one specific comes to mind once you have a topic, do some research to come up with a shortlist of possible people to interview. Even if someone specific does come to mind, it’s a good idea to have a back-up list in the event they don’t wish to be interviewed. If someone does turn you down, try not to take it personally.
How to Approach a Potential Interviewee
I like to approach a potential interviewee in writing. It gives them time to respond so they don’t feel caught off guard. It also gives them a good impression of your professionalism.
It’s a good idea to keep your request brief. There are two main points to make in your request.
- Tell them who you are.
- Tell them why you’re reaching out to them.
If you decide to do interviews regularly, you might simplify the process by creating a template to use for future interview requests.
Prepare Engaging Questions
Once you have an agreement for an interview, it’s time to prepare your list of interview questions. Think about what drew you to them in the first place. Look at the conversation from your reader’s perspective. What do you think they would ask if they could? Make sure the questions make sense for your niche topic and will appeal to your audience.
It’s always a good idea to have someone you know and trust look over the questions to see if there’s something important you’ve forgotten to ask.
Pick a Good Time and Approach for the Interview
Timing is everything. You don’t want to feel rushed, and you want your interviewee to feel relaxed and engaged. Avoid catching them when they are stressed out or tired from a long trip or hard work. Think about their schedule, and do what you can to schedule the interview for a time when they feel fresh and energized, so maybe avoid late in the day.
Also, pick a medium that works well for both of you. Will the interview be over the phone, in person, or maybe a video call using Skype or Zoom? It’s nice to be able to easily record the conversation, so you don’t have to take quite a copious notes.
Conduct the Interview
Conducting the interview is the fun part, but that doesn’t mean you should be so focused on the words that you forget to take notes or record the conversation. Either way, you should get their consent to take notes or record the call. (In many countries and states it’s illegal to record without permission.) Try your best to relax during the interview so you can focus and ask good follow up questions.
Ask them to Review the Post Before You Publish it
Once the interview is complete, make sure you thank the interviewee. You should also ask if they would be willing to review the blog post before you publish it.
I don’t only do that as a courtesy, but also as a way to fact check. It’s embarrassing to have to post a correction or to feel bad about an error. The best way to avoid that is to have your interviewee review it first before publishing.
Also, if they suggest edits, don’t take it personally or get defensive. On the contrary, you should thank them for their valuable feedback. However, it’s also okay to ask them to only request factual changes.
Interviews are fun, and some of my favorite posts to write. Remember, the more you do it, the easier it will get, and the better you’ll become.
What are you interview tips? Tell me in a comment below. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media or with other writers or bloggers.
About the Author
Beth Bauer is a freelance writer, travel blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur currently working on her third novel. She has traveled to over 20 countries in just the last two years and enjoys life as a digital nomad. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A., and when she’s home lives on the Long Beach Peninsula with her dog, Ozzie.
Photo courtesy of Kzenon