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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 Tips for Creating Awesome Interviews for Your Blog

Interviewing successful people in your niche is a great way to boost traffic to your blog.
The problem is that most bloggers don’t have a clue how to properly interview someone. More often than not, the blogger fails to squeeze out any semblance of quality information so the interview is filled with fluff and the interviewee has no incentive to share the interview or even associate with you.
If you want to start creating awesome interviews for your blog, you need to follow these tips.
I’m guessing that more than 90% of the internet’s interviews are conducted through email. There are three problems with that.
Sometimes the interviewee is bad at writing.The interviewee tends to whip through the interview as quickly as possible only contributing surface-level answers.You don’t have a chance to ask tailored follow-up questions that get them to delve deeper into the subject.
If you want a high-quality interview, you need to conduct it live or through Skype. =
An interview is only as good as the questions that you ask. If you ask boring questions, you’re going to get boring answers. And nobody has time for boring content.
Here are some popular boring questions:
Did you start with a business plan?How long did it take for you to reach profitability?What’s your best advice for making money online?
Here’s how you can reframe those boring questions into smart ones that’ll make it more fun for them to answer:
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months/years?If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Do you see the difference? Smart questions draw them into a frame of mind where they able to give you their best possible advice.
Once you get the interviewee on the other line, start with a few minutes of talking about where they’re from, their family, or even the weather (as cliché as it might be).
This makes them feel more comfortable talking with you and they’ll open up and tell you more of their secrets.
Your goal with any interview is to get the interviewee to provide the most valuable, specific advice tailored to your audience.
If they’ve never read your blog (which they probably haven’t), then it’s your responsibility to tell them everything about your audience, from the age, personality type, interests, etc.
Right before you start the interview, give them a roadmap of where you intend to take the interview. Tell them the questions or topics so they can structure their responses based on the information you want them to give in the order you want them to give it.
Also tell them how long you the interview will take and how you are going to record and distribute the content.
One of the most impolite things you can do in an interview is start it off by asking them to introduce themselves.
Prior to conducting the interview, spend at least an hour learning about your interviewee. Read their about page. Look through their latest blog posts. Try to figure out what they’ve been doing lately through Twitter or Facebook.
Then write a 2-3 sentence introduction that walks the reader/lister/viewer through who the interviewee is, why they’re important, and why the audience should pay attention.
Plus, if you ask the interviewee to introduce themself, they’re going to do so humbly and the audience won’t get a sense of how important that person is.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you want them to speak as much as possible while you speak as little as possible.
One way to do this is to parrot. Pick out one or two words from something they said and ask that phrase as a question.
For instance, if they say, “I attribute all of my success to optimizing our sales funnel.”
They you say, “Sales funnel?”
Then they’ll say, “Yeah, our sales funnel is…”
Anytime you want them to elaborate on a thought, use that technique.
The only time you should spend a little time talking is in between questions. Wrap up the question by summarizing their response. Then transition into the next question by relating it to their previous response. If you put some thought into crafting and organizing your questions, this will be easy.
This is the magic question to ask at the end of every interview. Asking them if there is anything else they would like to add has two benefits:
It’s almost impossible to cover everything with your questions. This gives them an open door to talk about anything that they believe is important.It subconsciously tells them that the interview is about to wrap up which encourages them to summarize everything they’ve said up to that point in perhaps the most important two minutes of the interview.
It’s uncanny. The response to this question is almost always, “No, I think you covered everything, Nick. But I would like to say this…”
At the end of the interview, thank them for taking the time, remind the audience of their name, and direct people to their websites.
Similar to the intro, don’t ask them to pitch their sites. Do it for them.
You’ve heard the sales phrase, “Always be closing,” right? Well, I think you should also always be getting feedback.
Immediately after you wrap up the interview ask them if there’s anything you could’ve done better. They’ll appreciate you asking and you’ll find out how to improve.
It’s a lot more work to conduct the interview live, produce their audio/video, and transcribe then edit the content, but it makes a world of difference in the quality of the interview. Let’s make the internet a better place.

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