Blogging 101: How to Conduct an Interview

interview a fashion blogger

In a couple of my recent posts on IFB, I've mentioned interviews as a great way to come up with content, and many of you seem to be in agreement. But interviews aren't just a way to get new articles up on your blog, they're also a big help with building your network and forming those all-too-important connections between bloggers, brands, executives, and other people in the fashion industry.

A good interviewer knows that there's more to an interview that just asking a bunch of questions, and while getting the permission to conduct an interview may seem like the hardest part of the process, the real hard part is getting your answers back. Plain and simple: it's still easy to mess up even after you've gotten permission. So what can you, as the blogger conducting the interview, do  to help make sure you not only get permission, but that you also get content you can use?

Ask Nicely.

This seems obvious, right? Hopefully, no one reading this is sending out rude e-mails on a regular basis. But asking nicely goes beyond just saying please and thank you; it also involves the entire tone of your approach. Remember: you're not doing the person you're interviewing a favor. It's a mutual exchange. They get media coverage, and you get content for your blog. Check and double check the tone, wording, and flow of your e-mail, especially if the language you're writing or conducting the interview in is not your first language.

Be personal, but professional.

You should absolutely be friendly with your prospective interviewee, but avoid being overly familiar. You're probably not best friends or drinking buddies with your interview subject (unless, of course, you actually are), so make your communications both respectful and straightforward. Another part of being both personal and professional is doing your research and becoming familiar with your interview subject's brand, job, or website before contacting them. And it goes without saying that you should avoid “form letters” (basically copy-and-paste e-mails), and that you should always use your interview subject's name.

Send over a tightly edited list of questions.

When I'm answering interview questions for other sites, this is where most people fall short. Don't send over a list of 35 questions. Don't send over a list full of redundant or repetitive questions. And don't send over a list of 1 or 2 questions and then ask me to come up with the rest. Like you, your interview subject is busy, and you should take care to be respectful of their time. I think an ideal number of interview questions is in the 7-9 range, but if you've got a lot to ask, many people won't mind if you stretch that out to 10 or 12 questions. However, beyond that, you run the risk of not getting a reply at all. Every single question on your interview list should be an important one (no fluff or filler questions), and if you want to really stand out, take the time to do your research and ask questions other people haven't asked before.

Avoid making edits or changes to the interviewer's words without permission or approval.

If you have an issue with something in your interview subject's answer, either contact them for more clarification or scrap that answer. However, you never, and I mean never, want to edit your interviewer's words to make it appear they've said something they haven't. That includes removing words, adding words, using synonyms (substitute words), or changing the order of words. Not only will your interview subject likely feel betrayed or taken advantage, you'll also come across as extremely unprofessional and untrustworthy (this is especially true for written interviews, where you both have a copy of the answers). A word that sounds synonymous to you might be completely wrong for your interview subject, and they will have every right to be upset if you change their meaning…regardless of your intentions.

Tell your interview subject when the interview is live.

Now that you've done the interview, it's time to publish it to your blog. But the work doesn't stop there; you also need to promote your interview so people can actually see it and read. Often, when  someone agrees to do an interview with you, they're also willing to do some help with promoting it. Send your interview subject a link to the interview when it goes live, and ask if they'd be willing to share it on their Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook page. And of course, don't forget to thank your interviewee!

Do you incorporate interviews into your blog content? What are your tips for doing a good interview? Let's help each other out in the comments!

[Image credit:]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

8 Responses

  1. Georgia

    I have done an interview with Gabrielle Aplin for my blog! She is a big fan of charity shopping and I thought to add a bit of originality to my blog to interview Gabrielle. I had lots of good feedback and Gabrielle was extremely lovely and she was honoured to be asked and it’s one of my favourite posts to look back on.

  2. Ina

    I’d say it’s important when asking someone to agree to an interview to highlight why you asked them and how they would fit in the context of your blog. It always helps if you admire the person or their products, etc to voice your thoughts in the innitial email as I think everyone likes to hear that; plus they might be more open if you are genuinely interested in their person/work.

  3. Krystal Orr

    Great great article! I love doing interviews and can’t wait to integrate them into my blog more often. One thing I can add to this list is to make sure you make yourself available to the interviewee. I hate it when someone asks to interview me and I have questions about something they forwarded to me and it takes them days to reply to my inquiry. Make sure that you make the process painless for the other party, because there have been a few times that I walked away from an interview because the writer took too long to correspond.

  4. Justine

    I really like this article. I think it’s great that you stressed the importance of doing background research. It’s always better to be informed about your subject. Now I just have to find someone to interview…

  5. Kenneth Jacobs

    I’ve been approached to be featured on a bloggers website, but I’ve been trying to follow up with no answer. How many times or how long should I wait to follow up?

  6. Alyssa Pritchett

    I love conducting interviews for my blog, they are a great way for me and my audience to learn more of the fashion industry. They are also great tools in building lasting networking relationships! Thank you for the tips!

  7. #HTStylish

    I’ve done a few interviews on my blog for both fashion an beauty. Like other people have said, it’s great for building long-term relationships. If you’re approaching someone for an interview, do your homework. If your interviewing a makeup artist, do some research on their work. Do you truly love it? Do you agree with any other makeup advice they’ve given to other media outlets. When you finally e-mail the interviewee, it’s always good to mention to them a few thing you like about their work. It show’s that you’ve done your research and that you truly care about what they have to say.

  8. Heather

    Even if you don’t run a fashion blog (my niche is theatre), this is still a brilliantly helpful, insightful article with tons of helpful advice. Thank you so much!