Blog interviews can be a lot of fun, they really can help you get out of your shell, get some fresh perspective on your blog and from my own experience with some of my interviews, I've established a connection with my interviewees that has lasted over the years. On IFB, Mademoiselle Robot gave some great interview tips and really, I cannot stress enough to read that post.
One of the reasons I feel I have to revisit this, not from a blogger perspective, but from an interviewee perspective is because bloggers are busy, we're often juggling so many different things, and often we don't get feedback from the other side. I myself, have been asked to do a number of interviews, and while I always believe it's an honor that anyone have any interest in my experience, some interviews have left me feeling used, depleted, and feeling like my interview sucked big time. So here are some tips I hope you'll take into account when doing your next interview, so your interviewee feels good about your interview with them:
- Let them know about your site, if possible, inform them a bit about your audience, as they may or may not have heard of your blog before, and answers given to a fashion obsessed teen audience may differ from a tech audience.
- Do your research, why are you interviewing them? What makes them different from every other person in their profession? What makes them unique? Ask them about it.
- Ask concise questions that show you did your research. If you can't find anything out about them, then let them know, and ask questions you think would be pertinent to what makes them special.
- Be respectful of their time. Tell them what your timeline is looking like, and ASK them if it's ok.
- If you have any special requests, then please be mindful of their time.
- If you'd like to use images from their site, provide links to the images you are interested in using, and say you'd like to use these images, or ones like them, or if there are images, please send them. Help them out by letting them know what you want.
- Say ‘thank you' within 24 hours of the interview or the next business day.
- Let them know when you plan on posting your interview, and if necessary, let them know if you are syndicating the interview on any of other sites.
- Let them know when you've posted the interview, and thank them again.
- Don't give a person 25 generic questions and expect that they'll be happy to answer them all. If you're doing a series like '10 questions for X' that's great, just let your interviewee know, and provide links to previous interviews or a brief description of your new series.
- Don't ask a person questions where the answers can clearly be found on the about page of their website.
- Don't pressure your interviewee to publish a post about your interview. Interview them because you find them interesting, and because you think your readers will find them interesting. Besides, they may have a special press page where they publish mentions in the press. They may publish the link on their twitter and facebook. If they don't post about your interview, it may be for reasons that have nothing to do with you, so don't take it personally.
- Don't be a stranger after the interview. Say thank you, let them know when the interview has been published, and keep up with them, and keep in touch either by facebook or twitter. Sometimes I'll do follow up posts on interviewees as they usually end up creating more interesting things to post about.
The good news is that there are loads more things you can do right than to wrong. Basically the only thing you can do wrong is don't say ‘thank you.' Everything else… suggestions. Not saying ‘thank you' can leave a bad impression, while they may not hold it against you outright, it may affect your relationship with them in the future. It may sound simple, I'm sure it's happened to you where someone you helped didn't say it.
What are some interview tips you've learned from either interviewing or being interviewed? Has being interviewed affected your interviewing strategies?
image by Oscalito