Bloggers. We’re stereotypically an introverted bunch. All writers are for that matter! When you’re cooped up in your office hashing out your upcoming novel of literary genius, you don’t have to be bothered much by the outside world. But if you’re a blogger, isolating yourself can have you missing out on some great opportunities.
Interviews! What better way to give your audience some great firsthand insight into your area of expertise than interviewing other professionals who are successful? I’m a huge fan of doing interviews and let me tell you, people just eat them up.
But most bloggers make a huge mistake when they decide to conduct an interview. They come up with a list of questions, email them to their interviewee, and wait for that person to type in their answers in an email back.
This is bad!! It’s lame for several reasons. First of all, your interviewee will take forever to get back to you. I promise. Who has the time to type out the answers to all those questions?? Not me. Now asking for a half hour phone conversation, that’s a different story…
Typed responses in an email have no interest, warmth, or character to them. Where’s the spontaneity?? The spur of the moment humor?? Email takes out every humanizing element that makes interviews great. If you’re going to do an interview, bite the bullet and do it the right way. Ask to schedule a half hour phone appointment. Most people are very happy oblige.
Does the thought of having a real live person on the other end of the phone scare the heck out of you? It shouldn’t! If you’re prepared, it’s a piece of cake. And super-fun, I might add…
So, how do you conduct this interview without making yourself look like a buffoon?? It’s easier than you think!
-Be Prepared: This is the single most important element of a successful interview. Before conducting an interview, I spend at least a couple of hours scouring the internet for any info I can find. I read as many articles as I can, and any other past interviews they’ve done to see what questions they’ve already been asked. I did an interview just the other day and I happened to know how she met all of the other colleagues in her business. She was very impressed that I took the time to be prepared, and I believe it shows gratitude and respect for their time.
-Lots of Questions: While doing your research, take as many notes as you can, and come up with as many questions as possible. When you’re reading interviews they’ve already done, cross of questions that have already been asked or think of a different angle. You want your questions to be different. That’s what separates your interview from all the others.
-Control the Conversation: When interviewing, you need to have a subtle way of controlling the conversation. It does take some practice, but a good way to start is to have your questions prepared beforehand in an order that makes sense. For example, plan to first discuss their early career, maybe segue into a hot topic, then finish out with future plans. But ALWAYS be prepared for the conversation to go in any direction. That’s when it really gets interesting!
-Be Aware of Time: If you’ve ever transcribed an interview, you know that listening to someone ramble is the worst! This is also a part of controlling the conversation. You’ll know very early on if someone is a rambler, and you have to politely keep your interviewee on track or else you’re going to have a 2-hour recording to go through. Not fun! You also want to make sure you get to ask all of your important questions without running out of time.
-Did She Just Say “Recording”?: Yes! Recording your interviews gives you the freedom to pay attention, be organized, and enjoy a free-flowing conversation. I like to use the TapeACall App. I can even email the audio files to myself after for a backup.
-Just Talk: While talking to complete strangers may not come naturally to some people right away, the more you practice doing interviews, the easier it gets. I never want the person I’m talking to, to feel like they’re being interviewed. We’re just having a fun chat about their favorite topic! It takes a lot of pressure off the both of you.
If you’ve never conducted an interview before, it can seem intimidating. I promise you, it’s FUN! You get to talk to all kinds of interesting people and it’s a great learning experience. Imagine getting to talk to the top SUCCESSFUL professionals in your industry and ask them anything you want!
And I can guarantee those interview posts will be some of your most popular. Not only will your audience read them, but also the audience of the person you’re interviewing. There’s no better way to expand your following!