By Julia DiNardo of Fashion Pulse Daily
Sometimes a q&a can be filled with anticipated questions, which can make reading through one start to feel like an arduous task, rather than an engaging, revealing experience. Sometimes too it can be hard to gauge responses and go with the ebb and flow of an interview since so much of our work is done online, hence interviews are often times conducted through email. Here are some tips to reduce the monotony and increase the creativity found in your questions, as well as spawn great commentary from your interview subject.
Do Your Homework
My favorite tip: prepare for this as you would a job interview — because there truly are a lot of similar characteristics between the two! When you're meeting someone for the first time, (despite it being in-person or online), you want to make a good impression, and prove that you are a reliable, knowledgeable, trustworthy, intelligent person who is invested in being there and worthy of his/her precious time. Plus, the more you already know about this person, the less of a chance you will ask the same run-of-the-mill questions that tend to pop up.
Don't Lose Sight of the Focus
What are your intentions, or that of the subject, with doing this interview? Did that person recently have something interesting happen to them? How are they an expert or important within their particular field? And, is that the main reason why they agreed to this interview? If your subject has recently written a book, created a collection, made a film, etc, be sure to see/read/gather more information about that before creating the questions. This way you will be able to more accurately stay on task, and show that you are genuinely interested and invested in the interviewee, who will in turn, feel more willing to open up to you. Mixed in with this, you can also create some questions that move away from the focal point to lighten up the mood and make the interview more jovial and less formal.
Reduce Mono-syllable Responses by Crafting Thoughtful Questions
Since you have exclusive access to the person you are interviewing, it would be great to get a good insight into their personality, what it may be like to be them, or do what they do. A question that elicits a “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” response isn't going to cut it. Think of questions that, if you were in their position, you would like to be asked, or share. If you feel like the your question might be a “no brainer,” and can easily predict the interviewee's answer, cross that question off the list. It's good to keep in mind that the reader gains access to this person through you, so once you've covered the main focus of the interview with a handful of questions in this fashion, it's fair game to come up with some queries into topics that may address the fields that draw your readers to your site, such as the concept of blogging, social media, personal style, secret beauty tip, etc. Speaking of social media, why not use it while conducting your research and preparing for the interview? See if your subject has a Twitter or Instagram account, and ask your followers if they have any questions that they'd like you to ask the subject.
Stockpile Some Great Interview Examples
If you're having trouble thinking of some creative, innovative, out-of-the-box interview questions, why not start to compile interviews that you read that you completely loved, create a list of your favorite questions from them, and tweak them to fit your site and interviewee? I really enjoy Harper's Bazaar Style Q&A series, and dig the incorporation of photos from what the interview subject mentions throughout the q&a. I also think a consistently-run original q&a concept for your blog is a great idea. Amber Katz of BeautyBloggingJunkie does just that with her “Five Rules for Life” in which fellow bloggers and colleagues in the realm of beauty give their two cents in a clear format that is easy to follow. always unique, and attention-grabbing.