One of the best things about blogging is interviewing. It is a time when something as casual as a conversation can make for a great article piece. However, as casual as it may be, interviewing is by no means simple on the first try. It takes practice to not only gain good interviewing skills, but also for creating a good interview. From having good people skills to knowing how to answer the questions your readers have wanted to know, we will outline the essentials for the perfect blogging interview.
Initiating the Interview
After you have chosen your subject, you now are in the art where you should go after them for the interview. This is what they like to call “going in for the kill”. This is the point when you not only need to know whom to contact, but also how to contact them. First, we will look at whom you need to contact first. This depends on many factors. Some interviewees don’t have a central contact that goes directly to them. Some will have a PR person that handles emails. This means that you must, either way, outline a level of professionalism. You must outline to your contact about your history and background, reason for interviewing, and how the interview will be used.
Confirming the Interview
By now, you have received an email back from the contact mentioning how they are interested in moving forward with your interview. You must now go back and forward over a correct date, time, and location. As the interviewer, you should provide your interviewee with many time/date options. This will show that you have considered their busy schedule and have provided many options to help them make your interview less of an intrusion into their schedule as possible. This could be a deliberation over time that can take anywhere from minutes to a whole week. As for location, we will go a little more over that later in this article. However, you should pick a location that, again, caters more to your interviewee. They are the one who is doing you a favor. If the interviewee is farther away, a Skype or phone interview may be best. One rule that is always there is to make the interview as personal as possible. If you are able to see the interviewee, this will allow you to get an idea of how they feel or are on that day. Emotion isn’t shown as well in an email.
The Essential Questions
As an interviewer, it is important to cover this essential set of questions that will not only jump start your interview, but will also allow your interview to be a successful one that will allow you to have a lot of information to walk away with. The first sets of questions are icebreakers. Your interviewee can be anyone from the CEO of a big company to a beginner entrepreneur in a small startup, they both deserve the utmost respect, but they also both are human and don’t enjoy a barebones, question-answer interview. Ask them about what drew them into the field they are in now. Ask questions about what they enjoy, how their day is. You may not want to ask these questions because they are never in interviews, but you should still ask them because not every question in an interview will end up in the final product. The last sets of important questions are those regarding their company or projects currently taking up their time. This will lead to more questions on the success they are looking forward to, and pitfalls they may have run into in between.
Tips for a Relaxed Interview
The best way for your interviewee to reveal the information that you want, you must create a comfortable environment. One way to provide for a relaxed environment is to pick the correct location. If your interviewee is far away, have a Skype call. If they are in your city or state, look into an in person interview. Depending on the nature and their schedule, the location can range from their office, your office, or even the local coffee house close by. The second way to create a comfortable interview space is to not make the interview centrally about the interview. Don’t come in, ask your questions, and get your facts, then leave. Make it a day, morning, or afternoon of talking. Have the interview over coffee; have them give you a tour of the office, this will make the day more worthwhile.
After the Interview
Your interview was successful! Great job, and I hope you’ll have more interviews in the future. To show the interviewee that you appreciate them giving their time for your interview, even if it helps their case or product, still thank them. It can range from a thank you email to a thank you card mailed to their home or office. This will reflect greatly on your style of business and will even create a new business contact for you.