Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Steps in Conducting a Great Interview (Series): Research & Information

Part of marketing and improving your writing is connecting with other writers. One way to do that is through interviewing authors, writers, bloggers, agents, etc.
First, you have to get someone to agree to be interviewed. See my brief post in a series of posts on How to Get a Guest Blogger.

Second, you need to do your research and gather information. Hopefully, some of this was done prior to asking someone to be interviewed. Sometimes interviews come to you as a blogger or writer, and you have little information about the potential interviewee. There are steps to take prior to the interview.
  • Know your Audience & Interest. Does this interviewee fit your blog? What is your focus? Does the person want to talk about fitness, and your blog is mostly about Horror & Thriller books? If so, is there a way of working this into your blog? "How to Stay Just Fit Enough to Get Run for Your Life" If the person does not fit your focus that is okay. Nicely decline the interview.
  • Learn about the Interviewee. The internet does wonders for this. What did we ever do before the internet? It is hard to remember. Find out where he/she is from? What he/she does for a living? What things he/she has written, edited, marketed, or published? Has he/she been interviewed before? If so, what was asked and answered? There are several good places to get this information:
    • Amazon/Barnes & Nobles/ Smashwords/ etc- Author Biographies, books, reviews of the author.
    • His/her Blog. Read a bunch of posts, read the About  section.
    • Look at his/her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, other social media.
    • Google his or her name and see what comes up.
    • Read their Book. If you have time, then you can ask specific question about the book.
    • Find someone who has read the book.
    • Ask them some information to prepare for the interview. "What is your goal for this interview?" If he/she has a book coming out, then they might like the interview to focus or highlight on that book.
  • Formulate Some Topics for Questions:
    • Have a theme in mind.
    • Ask questions on personnel life, pets, hobbies, work life, writing life, and future life.
    • Bring current events into the interview if seems fitting.
  • Mutually Decide on the Mode of the Interview. How will the interview take place? This needs to be something mutually decided on. Most of the interviews I have done have been through email. I send questions and they email back the answers and pictures and/or book covers. This is the most convenient for everyone. If you use a chat form, you get more of a conversational feeling.
    • Face to Face.
    • Over the phone.
    • Email.
    • Chat.
    • Text.
    • Skype.
    • Podcast.
    • Snail Mail.
    • Carrier Pigeon.
    • Telegraph. (I would love is someone proposed this to me. Where is my 6th grade project?)
  • Do the interview at agreed upon time/day.
  • Post interview, inform the interviewee that it is posted, and thank them.
  • Market the post- Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The more you do interviews the more comfortable you will be with creating questions. Just do it already!

What ideas do you have for conducting a successful interview? Any favorite inteview tactics or questions? If you would like to interview me, I am currently doing interviews!

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