Interviews are something that not most bloggers do, like video blogging (or vlogging). IMHO it’s something that lifts your blog into a higher standard than the rest of the blogs in the entire sphere. If you want to play the game and win, you have to hustle with every post. Let’s take a look at interviews, from the benefits to how to conduct them, plus some great tips!
Benefits of Interviews on Your Blog
The following are just some of the best benefits of conducting interviews for your blog.
- It gives you a boost in traffic. You will have two people promoting the post on their networks – you and the interviewee. If the interviewee is prominent you will also get a great backlink from a high PR site/blog.
- You will get great exposure to the interviewees network. You may even gain some new regular readers that sign up to your newsletter and subscribe to your feed.
- You can stockpile interviews, if you get a break and make contact with a lot of interesting people. This will give you excellent content you can post when you suffer from inspiration deprivation or take a slight break from blogging by scheduling posts for the future.
- It will save you time. If you’re like myself and Kristi, researching and writing a blog post takes longer than the some who cut, paste and spin of content. This type of content practically writes itself. Get a great video, look for a quote and paste some images and voila! You’re done.
- You expose your readers to different views. Chances are the experts you interview will have a different voice than your own. It’s like having guest bloggers, but you’re still the blog post editor.
- You build relationships with people you will never meet or network with in any other way.
- You learn a lot along the way by delving into the experiences and insights of someone who offers a different view to your own. Every person’s experience in an industry/niche is unique, and therefore you learn from their triumphs and mistakes you don’t have to make.
The Best People for Your Interviews
You will do well to approach individuals that will be a good fit for your blog. Obviously not any person will do. Let’s look at some good criteria to adopt when looking for interviewees.
- They should have achieved something – like published a book, have a ground breaking blog of get lots of press.
- They should be an inspiration to YOU and you must genuinely be interested in hearing from them. If they’re not, it will show in your questions.
- They should be presenting a new concept in the marketplace.
- They should be a peer that you respect.
- They should have star power, like a celebrity.
- They should be controversial. Think the Wierd Al Yankovich or Lindsay Lohan of your industry/niche.
This criteria is, of course, not the be all and end all of interviews but will surely help guide you produce an interview that will not get done on a tin can or echo into a grand canyon like blog space.
How to Approach Your Desired Interviewee
There are a couple ways to approach your desired interviewee. There are ways that are effective and ways that are not. Let’s look at both.
- Through the persons contact page on his/her blog or website.
- Calling, presuming you have their number.
- Skype contact. Be careful to first make contact and get to know them before springing it on them.
- Through Twitter.
- Blog Comments.
- Annoying Private or Direct Messages.
- Facebook Inbox Messages.
I have no idea why but the latter group is not effective at all.
The Best Resource for Finding Quotes and Interviews
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is my juiciest and best resource to date. You simply sign up as a reporter, submit queries of the source or interview you need and respond to the pitches. The service is free and the feedback is that responses is astronomical.
I submitted query three weeks ago and I have around 65-80 GOOD interviews and simply cannot keep up. People on this platform are so hungry that they email me to find out when I am getting back to them or when their interviews are going to be published.
Top Ways to Conduct Your Interview
It is important to go with the method that your interviewee is most comfortable with. These include:
- Video - Have the interviewee on either a split screen on your PC (which is convenient if you are far removed from each other).
- Conference Calls – Have both parties online and record the call.
- Text via Email – A very effective way to go which a lot of people prefer because they can answer the questions in their own time and no scheduling is needed.
- One-on-One – Meet the interviewee at a conference or social event, or you schedule a meet-up and document it with video or audio.
You will obviously need some resources to conduct the interviews with your desired interviewee. Here are some I have used or plan to use as they are recommended by other professional bloggers.
- Audacity – I mainly use this resource for podcasting but you could set up a Skype or call on loudspeaker and record it this way. Obviously the quality isn’t excellent but will definitely do for your first few. It has recording and editing capabilities. Basic editing skills will be needed. You can download Audacity from Sourceforge for free.
- Skype – Most people should be familiar with Skype by now. They DO have paid business solutions but for the basic applications, Skype remains free. It offer chat and call capabilities. Using this in conjunction with Audacity is preferred. Download Skype to start calling. A Skype user guide is also available if you are unfamiliar with their service.
- Camstudio – Many times people do interviews on screen to capture the activity on the screen to do tutorial or discuss web content or services. You can download Camstudio to get started right away.
- Freeconference – This ios the top referenced resource to do interviews online and is set to be the best product around. I haven’t personally used it but it is on my ‘to-do’ list. Check out free and paid services for Freeconference here.
- InterviewStream – This is the premium services of business the world over to do interviews with prospective employees. Their product suite of proprietary online technology provides video interview solutions to hundreds of professionals including nine of the top 10 MBA Programs and the world’s leading global outplacement firm. Learn more about InterviewStreams solutions and features here.
I’ll share with you my method for doing great interviews which you can also apply when doing live audio/video interviews. If you’re recording it live, you will need to think on your feet.
- Ask questions relevant to your blog and it’s purpose. Seek to bring out both what you do and what he has to offer. Trick is to find a balance between them. Keep your listener or readers needs or reason they come to your blog in mind.
- Save time by having an interview template that is unique to your blog. I have one when I have to send out bulk interview questions like when I got so many HARO responses. The template serves as a springboard.
- Send email with interview template attached to interviewee.
- When the email is returned, have a look through the questions and elaborate on issues and concepts that are still unclear or you may be interested in finding out more about. Remember to keep your reader in mind.
- Finally, look through the persons blog/website. Browse and pay particular attention to the ‘about’ and ‘press’ pages. See what else is interesting and not covered in the interview thus far and ask more questions. Look at their networks and companies worked for previously. Sounds like a lot of stuff, but remember that you can still edit. I have actually edited 40% of the last interview I’ve done and it’s still a very meaty one afterwards.
Don’t worry, the more you do it, the better you will get at it. Here is some feedback by an author on using this method.
Thanks Ivin for a great interview. You would not let me settle for an average interview. You asked questions and would not stop until you had great answers.
Remember, people like to talk about themselves, so ask a lot of questions. If you want to have a look at some of the interviews I’ve done before, including with Kristi, have a look here.
Are you being interviewed on radio/audio? Read my tips on being a successful radio interviewee.
Well, that’s it from me. I hope you have been inspired to take your blog to the next level and you have sufficient tips and tools to dive right in and get your first ones done. You are welcome to add your tips and thoughts in the comment section. In fact, don’t leave without giving us your thoughts – we (the blog owner and I) insist!