4 Steps to Conduct Interviews for Award-Winning Content [HOW TO]

You don’t have to be a world-famous journalist to conduct engaging interviews and create award-winning content. Whether it’s an article or video content, you can spin an interview into content that resonates and genuinely engages with your target audiences.

Step #1 Research

After you have connected with the person you want to interview, make sure to do your research before you conduct your interview. Be flexible with scheduling the interview. This person is taking the time out of their busy schedule to be interviewed so keep that in mind.

  • Check out your expert’s website, bio, company information, professional background, social media sites, company information, etc. Make sure this expert aligns with your professional ethics and doesn’t have any “skeletons in the closet.”
  • Prepare your questions before you interview (stick to around ten questions). Be prepared or you will come off sounding like a novice during the interview.

Step #2 The Interview – What’s the real story behind the person?

You don’t have to stick to your prepared interview questions. Based on time constraints, you want to stay on topic but don’t be afraid probe deeper. Be courteous and respectful of his or her boundaries, but you don’t have to stick with the “safe questions”. What is that one thing that your readers would NEVER guess about this person? Don’t rattle off “resume interview” questions. Ask innovative, creative questions.

Step #3 Fact Check

If you aren’t sure about a fact or need further clarification, don’t be afraid to connect with your interviewee and verify facts before you publish content. It’s helpful to record interviews so you can review post-interview. It’s common courtesy to ask permission before you record an interview.

Step #4 Create & Publish Content

1. Blog posts – Create a Q&A blog post. Include “teasers” on social media and emails to market the interview on your blog. Make sure to include your guest interviewee’s bio and links to the guest’s social media/website, contact information, etc. They will be grateful for the added marketing exposure.

2. Video or audio podcast - If writing isn’t your strength and you shine on video or audio, create a “live” interview on video or via podcast. If you plan to record the interview, ask permission from your guest expert BEFORE you start recording. Keep your questions to a minimum (pick the most impactful questions), and keep the video/podcast brief. Promote the video/audio on video sharing sites such as YouTube. You can use the video or podcast as a promotional teaser to draw people back to your blog, website and social media.

3. Article and press release - Spin the interview into a news-worthy article and press release. Make sure they do NOT read like an “infomercial” for your guest interviewee’s products or services. The purpose behind a press release and article is not to sell – it is meant to inform and educate the public. Post on free press release services and article marketing sites. Not only does it further strengthen your industry expertise, but it also cross-markets your guest expert as well.

In a Nutshell

Conducting successful interviews for award winning content is not rocket science. For best results follow the 4 step process detailed above and summarised again as follows:

  1. Thoroughly research your interviewee before the interview.
  2. During the interview, don’t play safe ask probing questions without being rude.
  3. Check your facts before you publish the interview.
  4. Publish the interview in various formats including blog posts,  video, podcasts and consider article marketing and press releases for syndication.

Rinse and repeat :).

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Omar Kattan is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital, the MENA region's first specialist content marketing agency headquartered in Dubai. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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