5 Interviewing Tips to Get the Most Value

Interviewing Tips

So you’ve finally generated some great interview ideas for your company’s content marketing strategy. Now what?

First you need to find an expert or two to interview. Then you’ll nail down the details, the technical stuff, and the interview itself. Use these interviewing tips to help you prepare and record interviews your customers will love to hear and share.

Tip #1: Research and Plan

If you have an interview idea in mind, you’ve probably already started with this tip. Never “wing it” through an expert interview. You’ll have to be flexible because no two interviews are ever the same, but research and preparation are the difference between mediocre interviews and exceptional ones.

The major things you’ll need to research for each potential interview idea include:

  • which experts are both knowledgeable and right for your audience
  • background information for each expert that could contribute to the interview
  • what your customers would want from each expert
  • what topics you want to cover
  • how each topic/question helps your audience

Tip #2: Prepare Your Expert

Interviews go best when everyone involved is comfortable. This interviewing tip is critical because it can make the conversation sound more natural.

Before the interview, take some time to prepare the expert you’re interviewing. Share with them your plan for the interview, including the topics you want to cover and any specific questions you will ask.

Get to know the expert a bit, and help them get to know you and your audience. Many experts may have topic ideas or stories they could tell that would benefit your customers, so ask for suggestions.

Tip #3: Check Your Technology

This interviewing tip may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re stressed about talking with an expert and asking the right questions, double-checking the technical details can easily slip your mind.

Test both your interviewing software (e.g., Skype, video camera) and your recording software (e.g., microphone, tape recorder). And keep pen and paper handy during the interview for handwritten notes and to jot down spur-of-the-moment questions.

Tip #4: Ask Good Questions

This interviewing tip is really several pointers wrapped up in one. Some things to keep in mind when you’re planning what questions to ask are:

  • ask open-ended questions: What, When, Who, Why, Where, How
  • let your interviewee tell stories when appropriate
  • ask one question at a time
  • keep your questions brief with minimal background info

And most importantly… never interrupt your interviewee!

Tip #5: Use Varying Media

A major component of every good content marketing strategy is using many different types of content, and this interviewing tip is all about maximizing the potential of your content. To really make the most of your interview, you could use it in multiple content formats.

Consider using any or all of these media for your next interview:

  • podcast or audio recording
  • webinar
  • video
  • text transcript
  • news article or press release
  • blog post about the interview

Using multiple media for one interview expands your promotion efforts by increasing your leverage opportunities. For example, you could co-host a webinar with the expert, record it as a video and share it on your blog and YouTube channel, write a press release about the webinar and a news story about the video, and use portions of the text transcript in your next ebook or email newsletter.

If you need more tips to help you create value-packed interviews, check out this step-by-step interviewing guide from SEOMoz.

What interviewing tips can you share?

What’s worked for you? Please share your experiences in the comments below!