If your blog has been feeling stale and you’re looking for ways to spruce it up or you want to start a blog but you’re not sure what format it should take, you might consider including interviews. Whether you write about travel, food, current events, film, or something else, there are probably knowledgeable experts and amateurs in your subject area that can bring a fascinating perspective to your readers. So, how do you go about finding the right people and getting them to answer your questions?
Choose Good Subjects
Ideally, the people you choose will be knowledgeable in their area, interesting enough to interview and well-known enough to draw people to your blog. Of these criteria, as long as the first two are in place, you probably have a good subject. Beware of scoring a well-known personality who doesn’t know much about the topic you want to interview them on or is a dull subject.
If you think about the times that you were watching a show about something you know a lot about and one or more of the talking heads are obviously chosen only for their fame, you’ll get a sense of the frustration you could cause in your readers. And unfortunately, some people may be experts and very good at what they do, but they are not particularly interesting to talk to.
Finding a Transcription Service
You might have put off adding interviews to your blog because you were dreading the time-consuming process of transcribing them. Even if you plan to post the interviews as sound files or videos, it’s a good idea to include a transcription since some people prefer to skim over listening to or watching something. A service can produce a transcription in seconds, which saves you time and money and allows you to be more productive and deal with other elements of writing and promoting your blog.
Respect Your Subjects’ Time
Even though your interview might be helping your subject promote something they have created or are involved in, be respectful of their time. Keep your communications with them friendly and to the point. Be clear about how long the session will take and stick to that.
Choose the Right Questions
As you’re choosing your questions, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. One is other interviews the person may have done and the other is your audience. For the former, try to avoid asking the same questions the person has answered in a dozen other interviews. For the latter, think about what would most interest the audience that you hope to reach.
For example, if your blog’s focus is on helping people get started with backpacking, your interview will differ from one aimed at an audience of experienced backpackers who are especially interested in details about ultra-light gear. Arrange your questions in a logical way, and think about whether any follow-up questions may be prompted by your subjects’ answer. Finally, in case the interview runs shorter than planned, have a few bonus questions set aside, but be prepared to discard them if you reach the end of the agreed-upon time.