Hey everyone, it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back! As a lot of you would know, I am an aspiring journalist so I love interviewing people on my blog. I haven’t done it in a while, but I’m definitely planning for some more this year! A lot of people ask me how I do interviews or how I find people, I’ve done posts on specific parts of the question in the past, but I thought it would be more convenient if I compiled all my advice into one post. I am in no means an expert, but I have done quite a few so I have some experience.
I’m splitting this post into three parts: Reaching Out, Preparing and Conducting the interview. So, feel free to read only the parts specific to what you want to find out since there is a lot of information!
Let’s jump into the post!
Reaching Out To Interviewees
When you’re choosing who you’d like to be your interviewee for an interview it’s very important that you see how popular they are. Sometimes, you might reach out to someone with thousands of followers, so they may not see your request. This happens a lot, so I just say start small with maybe a few fellow bloggers or content creators who you’ve already interacted with, this way you already have experience for when you reach out to larger people!
Once you’ve decided who you will reach out to, the question is: How do I reach out to them? You can do this in two ways:
- Social Media (E.g Instagram or Twitter)
If you’re reaching out to someone you’ve already interacted with, then stick with social media as you’ve already spoken to them and it’s more direct!
If you’ve never spoken to this person, you may find that emailing is better as it’s more professional. But, I have found that a lot people do check their DMs, so if you choose to send an email, send a similar message (but shorter) to their social media as well and let them know more details were emailed to them.
Reaching out via social media means you have to be very persistent, even if it’s commenting on one of their posts to let them know you’ve sent them a DM. Whether you do this or not could be a huge factor in whether you get the interview or not, because trust me people do read their comments – a large amount of my interviews have come from people noticing me commenting on their social media!
Preparing For The Interview
Once you have a confirmed interviewee it’s now time to move onto the next stage: Preparation! Preparation is so key, because you can really tell in an interview how much preparation has been done, and it really leaves an impression on the person because what you ask them is based on preparation.
When you prepare your questions the most important thing is to do lots of research. You want to make sure you ask a variety of questions to the person, not just on one subject. Of course, you want to go into the interview with a main angle or topic in mind, but put yourself in the shoes of the person, getting asked questions on the same topic can be draining after a while.
An example is, if you interview an actor who has a new movie coming out. Naturally, most interviews will be them getting asked continuous questions about their movie – and a lot of the questions will become repetitive after a while. But, if you do research and find other ventures they’ve done (E.g they started a business or charity work) you can ask them that to add more varied questions and to make it more interesting for those reading the interview and the interviewee!
The Main Sources Of Research For An Interview Are:
- Their Social Media (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc!)
- Their Wikipedia or trusted online sources
- Any Previous Interviews They’ve Done
- Any Content They Produce (Youtube Videos, Blog Posys etc!)
I would say that social media is probably what you’ll want to look at the most. Because people post so much about their interests and other ventures as well as the mainstream work they do. Therefore, you can ask a lot of questions based on their social media!
Conducting The Interview
When the time comes for the interview to be conducted, it’s very exciting because you’ve been working up to it! You have two options when it comes to conducting the interview:
- A Written Interview
- A Spoken Interview
If you choose to do a written interview, this means you send the questions over to your interview, they send their answers back to you! This is a very convenient method if the person or you are busy, or if it’s one of your first interviews and you’re nervous, it’s a great way to ease yourself intoA spok it. Also, your interviewee will be able to add details of any extra information they’d like to say. The only downsides are you’re not directly speaking to them so it might not be as personal, and you won’t be able to ask follow-up questions. But, I’d still recommend this method for when you begin to interview people, or if you don’t have time for a spoken interview!
A spoken interview is always super fun, it allows you to have a true conversation with the person, ask follow up questions and really get to hear the passion in their answers. A few things to consider when doing the interview is:
- What Platform You’ll Do It On (E.g Zoom, Google Meet etc!)
- Any Time Zone Difference (Figure out the time difference and ask the person when they’re free and see if you’re available in your time zone – remember they’re giving up their time for you!)
- An Estimated Interview Time (Spoken interviews can vary in time, and if people are busy, give them an estimated interview time so they can be prepared!)
Whatever interview you decide to do, the biggest thing to stress is listen. Whoever you’re interviewing has a story or advice to share, and you’re giving them your platform to share it. So, make sure you listen intently and be respectful!
So, that’s all the advice and tips I can give for when someone asks me about blog interviews. I hope this was useful to anyone who wants to start doing them. Speaking of interviews, I should have a new interview released within the next 1-2 weeks so I’m excited for that! Let me know in the comments your thoughts on blog interviews!
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Thanks for reading!