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?
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!
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