Blog Interviews: 8 Tips for Conducting Them with Bloggers
Over the years I’ve interviewed other bloggers, authors, scientists, researchers, and even high ranking government officials and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: Everybody has a story. You just need to give them a reason to tell it. Here are eight tips for conducting effective interviews with bloggers or anyone else you’re interested in.
Don’t Be Intimidated
Years ago I wrote a controversial article that mentioned a high ranking UK government official. When the comments got heated I contacted him and asked if he’d like to address the issue for my readers. He not only gave me a quote, he gave me enough information for two lengthy articles.
The moral of the story is: Don’t be intimidated. Those big name bloggers have the same concern do: Exposure. Most of them would be very happy to give you an interview because it means getting there name out there.
Ask Questions And Stop Talking
Don’t talk too much, and if you’re writing this interview keep your commentary to a minimum. Your readers or listeners are here to hear what your guest has to say. Ask questions and then listen. And don’t ignore the listening part. That’s how you know what to ask next.
Don’t Interrupt Your Guest
Let your guest complete his thought. Maybe you disagree but your readers already know your opinion. Now they want to hear his.
Give Them Important Questions In Advance
If you want to get the best information you can for your listeners then give your guest the important questions in advance so he can put together intelligent responses. Some of your guests are going to be nervous and won’t think fast under pressure. Not only will you embarrass them, but your listeners won’t get the quality information they’re after.
This also lets your guest know that there are specific things you want to discuss so he can make time to cover them in his presentation.
Ask If They Have Something Important They’d Like To Share
You may not be aware of it but maybe your guest is getting to release his new book tomorrow. Or maybe he’s announcing some earthshaking scientific discover tomorrow. If you control the whole interview and don’t give him the opportunity to address issues he wants to address then you’re going to look like a real loser – tomorrow.
What Do Your Readers Want To Know?
If you’re interviewing your idol then you probably have several questions you’d like to ask. I have a list a mile long for Stephen King – if I ever get the opportunity to interview him. But most of those questions wouldn’t interest my readers. (I’m sure I’m the only person on Earth who cares what brand of “astin” Roland was taking.)
Ask questions for your readers. In fact, if you know in advance that you’re going to be interviewing this person, write a blog post and ask your readers for their questions.
Ask Leading Questions And Follow Up
Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Then what? And how boring is that? Ask questions that start with who, what, and why and you’ll start a good discussion.
Do Your Research First
Always research your subject first so you can ask intelligent questions, otherwise you just look like a jerk. I was lucky enough to attend a reading by Stephen King himself. At the end of the reading he opened up the floor to questions. With one question left, someone jumped in front of me and everyone in the auditorium wanted to strangle her when she insulted him by asking if he wore boxers or briefs. King just gave her a disgusted look and walked off the stage.
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