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10 Tips for Creating Awesome Interviews for Your Blog

By:     Topics: Blogging,Interviews

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.

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#1 Schedule and Conduct Live Interviews

I’m guessing that more than 90% of the internet’s interviews are conducted through email. There are three problems with that.

  1. Sometimes the interviewee is bad at writing.
  2. The interviewee tends to whip through the interview as quickly as possible only contributing surface-level answers.
  3. 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. =

#2 Design Smart Questions

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:

  1. Did you start with a business plan?
  2. How long did it take for you to reach profitability?
  3. 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:

  1. 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?
  2. How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months/years?
  3. 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.

#3 Start with Small Talk

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.

#4 Make Sure they Know the Audience

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.

#5 Set Expectations

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.

#6 Introduce Them

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.

#7 Parroting

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.

#8 Transition through the Questions

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.

#9 Anything Else You Would Like to Add?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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…”

#10 Thank them and Direct People to Their Sites

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.

Bonus: What Can I Do Better?

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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  • Tram Tran @young business oppotunities

    wow, this is so much in time, I’m preparing some new cool interviews on my site and these tips definitely help ALOT. Will keep you guys posted of how i apply those tips into my vids. Thanks a milion, just RT this=)
    say hi some times on my blog=)

    • Nicholas Tart

      That’s great, Tram. Make sure you let us know how it goes.

  • http://tisuchi@gmail.com Thouhedul Islam Suchi

    Awesome.
    Mr. Nicholas Tart worte very well about the helndling the interview.

    Thank you very much, and waiting for your next article like that.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Perhaps I could write a follow-up to this article about how to reach out to interviewees?

  • http://www.brianfarello.com Brian Farello

    Great article Nicholas! I have been wanting to interview some people in my industry but have been a bit anxious to approach them. I gained a lot of great insight from this article and will share it with my followers. Thanks so much!

    • Nicholas Tart

      You’re welcome, Brian. What were you anxious about? Specifically, how did this article help?

      • Brian Farello

        I was anxious about how to go about asking questions This article helped me learn which types of questions to ask and how I should go about the interview process.

  • Duane Rackham

    Cool Post!!! This is the first time I have read a post like this. I will use these techniques when I do an interview for my blog.
    Thank you
    Duane

    • Nicholas Tart

      Sure thing, Duane.

  • Cheptiony Mutai

    This article came at the right time when; I am coaching interns on how to do great interviews for TV to be uploaded on youtube. I like #10 point where you(the interviewer) direct people to their site….some TV personalities do it wrong by letting the entrepreneur pitch his/her site; I totally disagree with it . The entrepreneur always feels uneasy. As always Income diary is my current hotspot because of its wealth of information. Keep up the good work.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Yeah, I learned #10 when I was watching a Gary Vaynerchuk interview and the interviewee asked him if he’d like to direct people to a site. He said, “Nope, they’ll find me.” I’m glad we could help, Cheptiony.

  • http://www.renegadeascent.com/ Ryan Krysiak

    Great Article. I find that most people forget #9. I’m often frustrated by the interviewer asking stupid questions and just wait for the interviewee to be offered to talk on what he feels is interesting. Thanks for the insight!

    • Nicholas Tart

      Haha… A bad interviewer can make Richard Branson seem like an imbecile. That’s my favorite question to ask.

  • Anthony

    You have no idea how grateful I am for this post. I decided this morning that I would have to start conducting interviews… and a few hours later I get this in my inbox.

    Thank you Nicholas!

    • Nicholas Tart

      I’m glad, Anthony. Let us know how they go.

  • Jason

    Nick,

    This is a really great article, as somebody who is total clueless when it comes to conducting an interview this really helped to clear the air. Thanks for carefully defining the steps for us.

    When listening to an interview you kinda know these things are happening but couldn’t really identify or put a name to them (like parroting). Now we should all be able to point them out.

    Just wanted to ask, how did you come up with these steps? If it was from a book could mention what it is in a reply?

    Thanks
    Jason

    • Nicholas Tart

      Hey Jason, all these tips are based on extreme observation and experience. Nick Scheidies and I wrote a book, What it Takes to Make More Money than Your Parents, where we interviewed Michael and 24 other successful young entrepreneurs. A lot of this advice came from that. Now we’re working on another exciting project for IncomeDiary and this advice is resurfacing.

  • http://www.Brooklynavenuejournal.com Brooklyn avenue journal

    Wow. I’m preparing for my first audio interview so this article couldn’t have come at a better time. Im concerned ab sound quality. Im soo nervous! Haha, thank you for the article.

    • Nicholas Tart

      Yeah, you definitely want a nice mic for recording audio. There’s no reason to be nervous. Talk to them like you would a friend.

  • http://billionsuccess.com James Soto

    I find Interview to be one of the hardest to get specially if you new and with little experience. – Thanks for this post

  • http://www.revitalizebeautifulskin.com Arlene

    I have been working on some scripts for YouTube videos and this outline has made me rethink some of things I was going to do. I think your tips will make my work much more valuable. I am so glad I took the time to Google the subject and found this site.

  • http://www.herperfectblackdress.com Dr. Reginia

    Fantastic information. This helps greatly.

  • http://Wearemma.com EddieO

    This is a really good post – have you got any hints and tips about how to arrange and interview in the first place?

  • Sheryl Coonan

    Great tips! Numbers five is terrific…many times interviewees have no idea what to expect and are pretty nervous. In addition to building rapport, walking them through what’s going to happen is a great way to ease tension. Parroting is also a nice strategy. And yes, sometimes at the end of the interview, simply by asking if there’s anything the interviewee would like to add, you get some of your best responses.

  • http://www.themindfulmorning.com Jo Poon @ The Mindful Morning

    I also found that if the interviewee receives a fairly brief list of questions before the interview – they are able to think about how they would answer the question in the best way. It does take some of the spontaneity out of it, but you will definitely get a more succinct, considered answer.

  • http://www.mintbeatz.com Rahul suresh

    Great tips.. It helped me to survive my late night interview by an SEO expert.. Thank you