Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
For top SEO companies, performing an interview with a big industry player or an intriguing person of wide appeal can be a huge plus for drawing numbers to your blog. A problem comes into play, however, if you don’t know how to conduct a great interview. If you don’t come in prepared, not only will you make your interview subject feel uncomfortable, but it’ll show in the resulting blog post, which will make an irrelevant blog post that readers have to sit through. Coming prepared will give you an edge and afford you a great interview.
Before the interview, it’s vitally important to perform research on your interview subject. Visit the subject’s website, read any news or magazines articles on the person of interest, and formulate any questions that come up in your research. Also look through the subject’s blog posts, as well as their activity on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking sites they might be signed up for.
Contact the interviewee before the interview. This private correspondence serves to set expectations for the interview, so you should give them an idea of what you intend to take away from the interview, as well as what kind of questions you’ll be asking and topics. You will likely want to give the interviewee time to construct a thorough response to your questions so that your readers can get the most information they can out of the interview.
As an interviewer, your goal is to provide your audience and readers with valuable insights and information about a person they may or may not have heard of before. Tailor your questions to your audience. Before the interview, you may even want your audience members to submit any questions they might have for the interviewee.
The first two or three sentences for your interview will stand as the introduction. This introductory note is for the reader who may not be thoroughly familiar with the subject. The introduction reveals why the subject is of great interest and why the audience needs to pay attention. You could try to get the interviewee to introduce himself, although he might do so in a more humble fashion that doesn’t get the audience interested.
If the interviewee has never read or heard of your blog, you should tell them about the general targeted audience that your blog appeals to.
Once you have the interviewee, whether on the phone or in person, it might be a bit jarring and uncomfortable for top SEO companies to bolt right into questioning. Start with some small talk, whether that be a few minutes talking about the weather, their family, or the interviewee’s trip on the way to your agreed-upon rendezvous (if the interview is in person).
An able interviewer is usually able to transition well between questions, with the previous question intuitively connecting to the next. The only time where talking or a possible light back-and-forth should occur is in between questions. The conversation may even evoke another unexpected question from you, and this is acceptable so long as it stays within topic and it doesn’t throw off the interviewee.
By the end of the interview, you should ask if the subject would like to add anything as an ending note. It encourages an interviewee to summarize in their own words what the whole interview was about. Always thank them for their time.
Learning to conduct, record and transcribe an interview can be a lot of work. Yet producing a great interview can produce great results by bringing more traffic to your blog.