What is it with interviews?
All the top bloggers seem to do them.
They get to know each other.
They share their knowledge and stories.
And they engage, educate and entertain their fans.
Interviews are the mark of a professional blogger, and you’re dying to join that club.
But something’s holding you back.
You know that publishing an interview with a big name could do wonders for your credibility, but you don’t feel ready – too much could go wrong.
You could be ignored or even rejected.
You could embarrass yourself, trip over your tongue, or ask stupid, boring questions.
You could even land an interview with your favorite influencer only for the technology to fail and screw up your opportunity of a lifetime.
But in reality, most of your anxiety around interviews is simply a fear of the unknown.
Once you know the right way to approach interviews, they can be easy and even enjoyable.
Why Interviews Rock (and Why They’re Easier Than You Think)
It’s no coincidence that so many popular bloggers are conducting interviews – the benefits are numerous.
Interviews help you grow your readership and reputation in the following ways:
- They allow you to start building relationships with your interviewees. Often these are people with a wider reach and greater influence who can help accelerate your own success.
- They increase your credibility and reputation with your own audience (and new visitors) because people can see you virtually “hanging out” with big names.
- They drive traffic — even if you just started a blog, especially if your interviewee has a large audience. An interview is a magnet that attracts people who haven’t heard of you, but do know the person you’re interviewing.
- They can help your audience solve specific problems by bringing someone else’s relevant experience and knowledge to their doorstep.
- You can get a lot of traction from a single interview by bundling it with other content, creating a transcript or using it as the basis for a podcast.
The good news? Despite what you might think, interviewing doesn’t have to be a scary process.
If you lay the groundwork and follow a proven structure for both the interview request and the interview itself, you’ll be surprised how quickly your nervousness will float away.
But first, let’s ask the all-important question:
Whom should you interview?
How to Choose the Perfect Interviewee
Your ideal interviewees will depend on your goals.
If you’re hoping to build your reputation, approach the big names within your blogging space. (We’ll talk about how to do that later in the post.)
If you care primarily about helping your audience, then landing a big celebrity isn’t as important as finding someone with valuable advice you can trust.
But whatever your strategy, keep the big picture in mind.
While interviews do drive traffic, even a superstar or guru won’t magically launch your blog into the stratosphere.
The true power of interviews is in relationship-building. They help you to get to know influencers, introduce you to a larger audience, and open the door to more support and cooperation in the future.
Don’t write someone off just because they’re a big celebrity – some folks are more accessible than you think. Others may say “yes” if you just happen to hit them up at the right time.
But you never know until you ask. Besides, a “no” usually isn’t final – it just means “not now.”
At the same time, nobody is too unknown to interview if they have a strong story or specific knowledge that will help your audience. Just understand that they probably won’t be able to drive much traffic to your site.
When making your list of potential interviewees, consider the following factors:
- Does the person’s knowledge and experience overlap with your audience’s interests? (If so, they could make a good target.)
- Do they make a habit of sharing the interviews they’ve been involved with? (If not, you might want to skip them.)
(The exception to the second rule is where the person has a large, loyal following who will likely share the interview even if they don’t.)
Create a wish list of interviewees who pass both tests.
You may have to send three or four requests to different people before you get your first “yes.”
However, you can significantly improve your chances of a positive response if you adopt the right approach.
How to Do the “Pre-Work” That’ll Help You Land Your Dream Interviewee
It can be scary reaching out to people, especially to someone you really admire.
As a result, many folks fall at the very first hurdle – asking for the interview.
They come to a screeching halt because they’re afraid they’ll be ignored or – worse still – laughed at.
And their fears are well-founded. Successful bloggers, particularly the big names, are inundated with requests for favors such as interviews.
But you know what?
Most of those requests suck.
They suck because the person sending the request hasn’t done the important pre-work required to show that they’re serious and credible.
So once you have your wish list of interviewees, do the following:
- Follow them on the social media platforms where they’re most active. Notice what they’re posting and sharing.
- Subscribe to their blogs and read a few of their most popular posts.
- Read their About Pages to get an overview of their background and current focus.
- Familiarize yourself with their current projects – for instance, any courses or books they’ve recently created or written.
You don’t need to go overboard with your reconnaissance at this stage – spend around an hour per potential interviewee – but when you’re done, make sure you have a clear picture of the person and their work.
Once your invitation is accepted you can go into more depth, but first you need them to say “yes.”
The “Request for Interview” Email That’s Almost Impossible to Resist
In most cases the best way to approach the interviewees on your wish list is via email.
Sometimes their correct address will be obvious; other times you’ll need to spend a little time searching for the right contact email.
But once you have this information, the following tips will increase your chances of getting a favorable response:
- Prove you’ve done your homework. Highlight some information from your preliminary research that shows you understand who they are and what they’re up to.
- Be on an intriguing mission. When you have a goal that people believe in, they’ll be excited about working with you. For instance, Henneke Duistermaat wants to “stamp out gobbledygook and to add sparkle to boring business blogs.”
- Tell them they’re in good company. Mention other people you’re interviewing (or planning to interview). If you plan a mastermind series and there are other big names on your list, influencers won’t want to be left out.
- Head off objections from the start. For instance: reassure them that the interview will be no longer than half an hour; tell them you’ll record it so you can do it anytime it’s convenient for them; say you’ll send your questions and all the other details ahead of time to make the process run smoothly.
- Make the opportunity irresistibly tempting. Most authorities will recognize a chance to grow their audience if your listeners have similar interests. So emphasize those commonalities and let them know why you’re so excited to have them talk to your audience.
- Pick the perfect moment. Influencers are particularly interested in accepting interviews when they are launching a new product, course, or book – so be on the lookout for those kinds of events.
Combine these ideas in your email and you’ll have a very convincing invitation indeed.
Here’s a template you can steal right now:
I’m wondering if you would be willing to do a quick 30-minute interview sometime over the next few weeks?
I have a blog called [blog name and link]. I help [audience] to [goal].
I recently came across something you wrote/said [here] and I’d love for my audience to hear your take on [topic]. [Statement of why this is important to your audience, or what’s missing in the niche.]
I’ve also interviewed/am planning to interview [here’s where you can drop names, if applicable.] I’d love to include you as well.
The interview will be pre-recorded, so we can talk whenever it fits into your schedule and I’ll make sure to keep it to 30 minutes.
I’ll send you my questions ahead of time so there will be no surprises.
Just let me know a few times that might be good for you, and I’ll be happy to set it up.
That’s all you need. Short, sweet, and to the point.
Once you’ve received your first “yes” response, it’s time to get to work.
Deepen Your Research and Pull Out Tantalizing Details
Now that you have your first interview lined up, it’s time to do the research that’ll make it easy to conduct a professional and insightful interview.
That means you must go beyond your broad but shallow preliminary research.
Here’s how to do it:
- Watch their videos. You’ll often find videos on an influencer’s own website or YouTube channel, but don’t forget that they could have been featured on other people’s sites as well. Try searching for “[Influencer name] video” or “[Influencer name] youtube” on Google.
- Listen to their podcasts and audio interviews. Even if your interviewee doesn’t have their own podcast, they may have been featured on someone else’s. Listen to 2 or 3 to give you a good feel for their style and lots of ideas for great questions. This time, search for “[Influencer name] podcast” or “[Influencer name] interview.”
- Speed-read their latest book. Find the table of contents on Amazon or buy a copy and use this technique to quickly extract the key information. If they have several books, read the one that is most relevant for your audience.
- Track down any press releases. Look for press releases issued by them or mentioning them by searching PR Newswire for their name.
What to Look For During Your Research
Strong interviews move you emotionally, tap into feelings that your listeners share, or tell attention-grabbing, memorable stories.
Sometimes powerful moments arise spontaneously, but you don’t have to rely on luck. You can artfully steer the conversation into the right territory – if you already know where to go.
So as you deepen your research, look out for the following:
- Entertaining, compelling or touching stories.
- Ideas or suggestions that will speak to a common goal, make an emotional impact, or inspire and excite your audience.
- Topics that the interviewee is highly passionate about.
Make notes you can draw upon when planning your interview and your questions.
How to Structure an Interview They’ll Enjoy (and Everyone Will Remember)
Good interviews have a natural flow. With experience you will fall into your own rhythm, but when you’re starting out you should think about structure in advance.
Following a predefined structure won’t limit you as much as you may think. Instead, it will make you and your interviewee feel comfortable and help you lead the discussion in the direction you want it to go.
As you’re structuring your interview and devising your questions, keep these two important questions for yourself in mind:
- What do you want your audience to take away from the interview?
- How are you benefiting the interviewee?
Here are some tips to help you structure the perfect interview.
Prepare your introduction in advance
The purpose of your introduction is to:
- Give your listeners a preview of what’s coming and how the information they’re about to hear will be valuable to them.
- Let the interviewee know you’re prepared and excited.
- Set a light, upbeat and engaging tone for the interview.
Your introduction is important. Don’t leave it to chance.
Here’s an example that will get you off to a good start:
Welcome, [name]! Thanks for joining us.
Open with easy questions that will help you both relax
Ease into the interview topic with the first couple of questions. The calming and focusing effect they have on the interviewee (and on you as you find your feet) is more important than the answers you get.
You could ask the influencer to share something about what they do and why they do it. (In the next section you’ll find question templates you can use.)
Include prompts for stories you know will captivate your audience
During the discussion, plan to ask for a story or two that illustrates an important point your audience could learn.
Lead into this by saying, “I bet you have some great stories that are examples of this. Care to share a couple?” or “Would you mind repeating that great story about [subject] for our listeners today?”
Pro tip: I always recommend that you send your questions at least 24 hours in advance, so that you never catch your interviewee unprepared. You can give them a heads-up and ask them to have some stories in mind.
Save difficult, controversial or surprising questions for later in the interview
By that time everyone is comfortable and engaged. The interviewee should be open to your digging a little deeper.
Finish with the spotlight on the interviewee
Close by having the interviewee tell your listeners where they can find them online and let them promote their books, courses, events, or products. Make sure they give a link – and spell it out. Don’t forget to thank them for their time and for sharing their expertise with your audience.
Now that you’ve got a solid structure to follow, let’s look at coming up with some awesome interview questions.
How to Generate Engaging Questions Your Interviewee Will Love Answering
Your goal as an interviewer is to grab your listeners’ attention and keep them spellbound. You don’t want them clicking away due to boredom.
That means you have to control the tone and energy of the interview.
Some influencers do many interviews. They’ve probably had their share of bad and boring discussions – but they’ll respond in kind if you are engaged and excited.
You may be wondering if you should you model some popular interviewers and ask the same questions all the time.
You can, but it’s hard to pull this off well. It also can come across as lazy – and the fact is, your questions won’t really fit the situation with everyone you talk to. That’s why it’s better to generate a fresh list of questions for each interview (even if you use a previous list to get started).
Think about the following as you begin formulating your questions:
- What topics are you personally curious about? What are you dying to know as you do your research?
- What will the influencer be eager to discuss? (You may want to ask them ahead of time.)
- What questions will likely occur to your audience as they listen to the influencer speak (think about their dreams, desires, fears and frustrations)? You can even poll your audience on social media or with a quick email for additional questions.
- How could you challenge the accepted wisdom a little, or challenge the interviewee’s assertions (respectfully)? Hint: do this sparingly.
- What quotes from your interviewee have particularly impressed you? Can you find a way to incorporate them in your questions?
- What are the stories that most impressed you from your research? Which would your audience relate to most strongly?
If you’re struggling to come up with enough questions, use the following questions to fill in the gap.
15 Proven Questions That Get Great Answers Every Time
- How do you structure your days?
- Where and how do you work best? (If it applies to your topic.)
- What tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing [task]? (Again, if it applies.)
- How do you solve [common problem – productivity, scheduling, marketing, networking, reducing overwhelm]?
- What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
- What’s the best advice you ever received?
- Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
- What is still your biggest challenge?
- What are your favorite books or movies on [your topic]?
- What’s your best advice for handling criticism?
- What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
- What do you find are [your audience’s] biggest stumbling blocks and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
- What’s next for you?
- What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
- How do you balance work and family demands?
You can use many of these questions verbatim when you’re starting out. As you get comfortable doing interviews, start creating your own variations.
Great questions will help your interview run smoothly on the day, but they’re just one part of the puzzle.
How to Neutralize Your Nerves on the Big Day
The best way to banish fear if you’re the nervous type is simple – rehearse.
Do dry runs with a friend or colleague. Have your friend take the role of the interviewee.
Practice helps with both your comfort level and your interview skills. It also lets you become familiar with the technology you plan to use.
Go through the process just as you would in real life. Use the actual questions you plan to ask. Have your friend answer as best they can, let yourself go on some limited tangents to keep the conversation interesting, and pull out tidbits you didn’t expect.
Here are a few tips to make you feel at ease, both in practice and on the interview day itself:
- Keep it conversational. Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop talking to a friend.
- Record your practice sessions so you can listen back and adjust your approach if necessary.
- Smile (really! even if the interviewee can’t see you) and laugh. Have fun and your interviewee will do the same.
- Watch your “um’s” and “ah’s.” But remember that conversational quirks always sound worse to you than others.
- Remember that you’re not a reporter or journalist. Don’t feel like you have to rake people over hot coals – that’s not your job.
Try to remember that nervousness comes from two main sources: not being prepared, and not knowing what to expect.
But after several run-throughs, you should start to feel much more at ease.
A Simple Technical Setup That Works (Without Headaches or Tears)
Although you might envy your idols’ slick, highly-produced video interviews, you can get started with a simple audio format.
In fact, many of the web’s most popular and professional podcasts stick to audio. Also, many interviewees prefer audio interviews. They’re more likely to accept your invitation if they know they don’t have to look presentable or be at their computer while it’s happening.
And audio interviews are perfect for beginning interviewers too because they’re easy to do. The technology is straightforward and the entire process should make your first interview relatively stress-free.
You will need a decent microphone, so invest in a good headset if you don’t like your phone’s recording quality. You should also find a reliable free conference call service like FreeConferenceCallHD.com.
Skype is another alternative, although it can sometimes be prone to network interruptions and occasional issues with audio quality. If you prefer to use Skype, I still recommend you sign up to a conference call service as a backup in case of any technical glitches.
Also, be aware that some people simply won’t agree to interviews over the internet because of the potential for malfunctions. In that case, you’ll have to have a cell phone or landline connection and a conference call service.
How to prepare for the inevitable glitches
No matter how much advance planning you do, there will be occasional problems with technology. They’re unavoidable.
So have contingency plans in place. The following tips will help:
- If you use Skype, arrange for both you and the interviewee to record the interview so you have a backup.
- If you have a recording that came out low quality (for example, hard to hear in places or having interference), you could always transcribe it and release it in text format on your blog.
- Check out The Ultimate Freelance Writer’s Guide to Recording Interviews for more ideas.
So you’ve done your research, connected with your interviewee, found some questions which will insert an emotional punch, chosen your format, figured out the technology, and rehearsed until you’re comfortable.
Pat yourself on the back!
You’re not quite done yet, though. Don’t forget these last-minute details.
The First-Time Interviewer’s Essential Checklist
There are a few housekeeping tasks you can do ahead of time to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the big day.
One week (or more) before the interview
- Test the technology you’re planning to use. Make sure everything works without a hitch during a few trial runs.
- Decide on your backup plan.
One day before the interview
Send a reminder to your interviewee to confirm the time, date and dial-in details. Send your interview questions in advance if you haven’t already done so.
The day of the interview
These are obvious, but they’re also really important. Trust me, you’ll be kicking yourself if you forget any of them (I have).
- Be ready at least 20 minutes early.
- Have your questions and notes together so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
- Relax. You’ve prepared, young Jedi – you can do this.
- Remember, perfection is overrated. Mistakes can be edited out and quirks will endear you to listeners.
Immediately after the interview
Don’t drop the ball at the last minute. Remember, you want to keep this relationship with your interviewee growing.
- Send a brief but sincere “thank you” email and let them know that you’ll tell them as soon as the interview is published.
- Follow up once the interview is live and provide links so they can share easily with their audience.
- Engage with them on social media, share their stuff, and stay in touch.
Congratulations – you did it. Welcome to the club!
Are You Ready to Join the Ranks of the Bloggers You Admire?
Interviews might seem scary and intimidating, but with the right system and preparation you can knock out all those fears and potential stumbling blocks one by one.
Your uncertainty doesn’t have to hold you back anymore.
Instead, you can feel confident when you reach out to influencers and potential affiliates.
You’ll know exactly how to create compelling and valuable interviews.
Before you know it, you’ll be a pro – basking in the glow of your new credibility as a blogger rubbing shoulders with influencers and experts.
There’s no reason to delay any longer and the benefits are huge.
So get started on your list of dream interviewees!
69 thoughts on “How to Interview Influencers (Even If You’d Rather Curl up and Die)”
Leanne, You know what i love about your writing? you explain each points with full informations to ensure easy digestion. I love it keep it up!
Thanks so much, Nasirudeen – I will and you do the same!
Hey Leanne this was really great.
I’ve been contemplating doing interviews for a very long time and just never got around to doing it.
I think a part of me was scared because I wouldn’t know how to keep the interview entertaining to not only those listening but to the person I’m interviewing.
And I’m a person that did podcasts before. I think it’s just a matter or doing research and asking questions that you’ll get good answers from.
I love the formula/email script you shared. Not pushy and seems like it’ll work.
I hope to make interviews a major part of my blog/business in the new year. Thanks for this.
And you did an awesome job with this post.
Your writing is always on point and descriptive.
Thanks for the kind words, Andrew.
There are always nerves involved with approaching big names, but it always helped me just to imagine I was hanging out somewhere, having coffee or whatever. Concentrate on good conversation (that’s the entertaining part) and get out of your head. You can do it!
Hey Andrew, I totally get the nerves bit of this. However it’s an awesome strategy that Leanne is laying out and I’ve used something similar over the last few years. Being able to interview top influencers in your field is a great way to leverage both their credibility AND their audience. I hope you give interviews a shot – they are definitely worth your time. 😉
True, Ian – and even aside from those benefits, they really are quite enjoyable to do.
Thanks Ian and Leanne.
It’s something that I do plan to do. Getting over those nerves will dissipate after the first few ones. Thanks for the advice, Leanne. And for the reassurance, Ian.
Welcome back to BBT! Third times’s the charm. 🙂
Expert interviews are awesome. As you stated, not only do they boost a blogger’s credibility, but they can bring in traffic and get you onto influencer’s radars. It’s a great blogging strategy, and guys like Michael Dunlop have started their careers by doing them.
But yeah, I do think most bloggers avoid doing them because they’re scared. I know a big reason I’ve never bothered to reach out to the likes of Michael Hyatt or Seth Godin is because I didn’t have a clue where to even begin. This guide you’ve created for us is super detailed and helpful, Leanne. Thank you. 🙂
I’m going to share it with my Twitter and Facebook followers, and I’m definitely going to bookmark it so I can reference your tips later.
Thank you for the hard work you put into this, Leanne. Hope you receive hundreds of comments! 🙂
Thanks for the shares, Kevin – and for noticing that it’s my third time here. 😉
Maybe we need support/accountability groups to help us reach out to those big, scary influencers. It can take time and persistence for sure.
You’re very welcome! As for noticing it’s your third time here, well… I owe that to being a bit of a stats geek.
I have a spreadsheet that keeps track of every single BBT post – who wrote it, the date it was published, how many comments it has received, etc. I started the spreadsheet to see how my own BBT guest posts were doing against the competition, but I’ve kept it going because apparently I’m a big nerd. 🙂
Hope you have a great Friday and weekend, Leanne!
Here’s another one I see a lot:
If you want an influencer to look at your article, send them the link.
Don’t ask if you can send them the link. They’ll just Google your name, find your site, and look at it that way…though with a tad less respect for you.
Great point, Greg. This is super important.
I’m a big fan of making it easy for folks to share by using a tool like ShareLinkGenerator.com. One click is all they have to do to share it.
Thanks for this!
Good to see you here again, I second Kevin’s thoughts on this :). And thanks for writing the very “how-to” post I need right now. I’ve been gearing myself up to doing interviews for a while now. I gave it a go but had some tech issues with recording that made me cringe. But I’m recovering from this and am creating a list of interviewees.
I’m going to start by interviewing people who are a couple of levels ahead of me to build up my confidence before I approach for influencers. Although, I have got feedback that I ask good questions, ones that illicit in depth answers, and this encourages me to go for it.
Also, thanks for saying most people prefer audio interviews to visual. Me too, if I’m honest. Hangouts seem popular but it’s good to know good ol’ Skype and audio are acceptable. I’ve also heard that you can record Skype calls with Camtasia.
Will definitely be coming back to this post for guidance and encouragement.
Of course, you know what this post means now don’t you? Expect a few interview invites from readers coming soon. 🙂
Haha, Tom – truthfully, I hadn’t even thought of that. But I like a full dance card. 🙂
thanks, extremely valuable post!
On structuring interviews in an appealing way, I would recommend a look at the books of Neil Strauss, especially the ones on Jenna Jameson and Marilyn Manson. That guy knows how to ask questions that hook an audience.
Will definetly share this one.
Thanks for the recommendation, Alexander – I will definitely check Neil out.
Great post! Thank you sharing.
What a great post! I was one of the people holding back on interviews because I was too scared to start. What helped me was easing into them by doing two-minute book reviews first. I’d simply film a short review of a book I was currently reading and enjoying, and I’d tag the author and publishing house on Twitter. Most authors enjoy watching these types of reviews, and I found it easier to approach them for a video interview afterwards.
Now that I’ve been video interviewing for a year, it’s much easier to approach influencers with an email that’s very similar to yours. I enjoyed reading your post because it outlines the process I was using, but now it gives me a checklist I can use instead of rethinking every step.
Thanks so much!
I love the idea of the book reviews, Asheritah. Good for you for coming up with that!
Yes, I like checklists… no matter how many times we do something, it’s still easy for some important detail to slip my mind, especially when I’m rushing. 😉
This is probably one of the best reads on BBT. The worst part of my living is socializing. I’ve had a really tough time to open up and talk to people. This seems to be a perfect check list for me.
I get it, John. It might help to try to relate interviews to something that you are comfortable with and already enjoy, like having dinner with a friend.
Not only is this an article which represents all the best in blogging techniques (length, well researched, linked and very helpful) but you respond to each commentor personally. Talk about building relationships in a high tech age!
Question: I understand the value of influencers, but I wonder in your experience, which build better Local recognition: local influencers or national names? My niche is marriage counseling, a touchy, private area. I draw local clients into my private practice and people want privacy, anonymity, as you would expect. Influencers people trust on this subject tend to be personal confidants. So who best influences local folks to seek out counseling? That’s my challenge to answer.
I would think a mix of known or unknown experts would be fine. You could even (maybe anonymously) talk to couples who have successfully gone through the process. If I were you, I’d just look for people who can demystify the process and make it more accessible and less scary for potential clients. Interviewees who will add value to listeners’ lives.
Just to be clear, the term “influencer” in this case means people who are influential in your field, and who could help you get recognition and a bigger audience – not necessarily people who would influence your potential clients to sign up for sessions. Make sense?
Thanks again for your time and thoughts. You’re right, I was thinking the latter kind of “influencer” who would move people my way. The other kind of influencer who aids in increasing audience size is also useful.
The demystifying aspect is very important in my work. So many people are actually afraid to be vulnerable. It’s been an ongoing learning process for me about how to use the web to make it easier for couples to take the “plunge.”
Very well-developed, well-thought and well-described post. I am not saying this as a formality to open my comments; this is one of my favorite topics and have shared two very detailed posts on my blog on topics related to the same subject of blog interview post.
You know one thing is missing in this post that is how to conceive the idea of blog interview post. Just kidding. You actually have covered everything from pre-interview to interview and then post-interview steps and I don’t have any point to mention other than the idea of conceiving a blog interview post though it is so common and need not to conceive it Lolz.
I personally observe many struggling bloggers drop the idea of blog interview post fearing no one would say yes to them. Here you have very well described how to make an influencer yes to an interview pitch even a person is nobody.
Creating questions for an interview post is heck of the task and most of the blogging experts are divided on this point to what extent one should go to put something different in the post. I say it is just like interview on any other media where interviewer first has to ask questions that let his audience know about the one who they are listening. Equally he has to relax interviewer in the beginning to later on make him reply very critical questions.
Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful tutorial on how to take interview of pros even if someone has no huge fame in his niche.
Have a super awesome rest of the week
You’re welcome! I did have a short bit about email interviews and turning interviews into blog posts, but in the end we decided to concentrate on audio interviews. But you’re right, most of this applies no matter what your media.
You couldn’t have written this at a better time. I am currently reaching out to influencers, getting good results and this post is just refreshing.
This post is very step-by-step, actionable and has been bookmarked.
Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Hannah. Good luck! Let me know how things go for you.
What a through article. I’ve blogged about this topic before, how to hold an expert roundup post, etc. While reading your post I felt this was part of the bigger picture of “trust” which comes with credibility. I may write a new post on trust thanks to you! Thanks for the inspiration.
I think you’re exactly right, Janice. Glad to be of help! 😉
Awesome article, Leanne and so handy for me right now (slowly working towards reaching out).
I love the sample email and suggested questions – this is something I always struggle with.
I know that a face-to-face, even if on Skype, interview is best, but do you have any tips for interviewing people via email, e.g. emailing them your questions for them to respond?
Would you even recommend it as a first line approach, or only when absolutely impossible to have a real chat?
Joanna, email interviews usually involve less personal interaction and less opportunity to build a relationship and be memorable. So, I definitely wouldn’t make them a habit.
If your goal is relationship-building, then speaking to someone one-on-one is the way to go.
Video interviews are great, yes – just be aware that it’s often easier to get people to agree to audio only.
Thank you for this post, Leanne! I hadn’t even thought of the fact that even small bloggers could conduct interviews, so this post was both a bit of a revelation and a great tutorial. I’ll definitely be referring to it in the future if I decide to add interviews to my blog.
Yes, Hannah, if you leverage interviews correctly they can help your grow from small to bigger pretty quickly. After all, everyone you hear on interviews today were once small bloggers themselves. We all start somewhere.
Hi Leanne. In a past life I used to do quite a few interviews. Since I’m so out of practice I found myself getting the jitters thinking of doing them again! Your post has alleviated much of the anxiety — thank you!
You’re welcome, Melissa. Good luck!
Leanne, I loved the completeness of your post and some intriguing questions. I recently did my first google hangout video interview. I struggled with the headset and technology. And even with a test dry run between my computer and cell phone I still had an audio problem (my guest couldn’t hear me) when I first got it rolling. I was able to fix it before the interview started. And then it went fine from there. I love the format and for me it is fun because I focus on helping business owners strategically think about their business. My brainstorming with them by interview was a fun format for this.
If anyone is interested in being interviewed by me or would like to do a practice interview with me, I’m open to that. I find that too often people read great articles then never take the first step to get off the ground. As Leanne says, you’ll get better with practice, and I know you’ll never regret having taken that step. You can reach me at http://www.mikemcritchie.com at the contact tab.
Enjoy your interviews!
Great idea and so nice of you to offer, Mike! I hope people take you up on that.
Awesome article Leanne! Curling up sound less appealing now, lol. You’re putting out here something people pay to learn in courses and workshops, I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this post time and again to kick myself in the shins on why I haven’t scheduled my first interview yet!
Haha! Just set a deadline for yourself and schedule it, Wu. 🙂
Thank you so much for this post! Really inspiring and with great tips 🙂 Keep up the good work!
Thanks for stopping by, Maria!
This is an awesome detailed step by step guide for anyone(like me) doing interviews for the first time. Going to be very helpful. Thanks for sharing.
Should we interview on phone with a good microphone as you suggested, if we don’t have a podcast?
Sure, Rajkaran. You don’t need a podcast to do this. The good phone connection and microphone just ensure that you get a good quality MP3 recording.
If you don’t have a podcast you can just make the MP3 available to your audience. If you do, or if you decide to launch one down the road, all you’d have to do is upload the MP3 into an audio editor, add an intro and outro, etc. and you’d be ready to rock. 😉
Thank you for this detailed post, Leanne! Definitely a must-read for anyone starting with interviews. Shared it with our audience!
Thanks a million, Shane! 🙂 Glad you like it.
Great post Leanne! I was so nervous reaching out for my first few interviews, and then during the interviews. Especially with some of the people that I admired from afar.
The good news is – that that’s a normal feeling, and the interviewees are normally great at helping you feel at ease. And the even better news, is we get better at interviewing over time!
So do it, do it again, and again, and again! Before you know it, it’ll be a piece of cake 🙂
Thanks again for the great advice!
Sonia, you’re exactly right. I wasn’t particularly afraid when I started interviewing, but I did end up liking them much more than I expected.
I don’t have any plans for any interviews at the moment, but if I ever do, now I’m at least somewhat prepared. Great stuff!
I’ve been thinking about doing interviews for the past couple of months but never got around it. Maybe i’ll make it into a New Years resolution since we have a couple of months left in the year.
I like to start of doing blog interviews first if anything. I’ve been the interviewee and it’s much easier this way for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
I never had a big interest in doing podcast or video interviews though. I know many people like them, but for me it’s just a preference.
But I’m glad that you laid out the foundation of how to approach an influencer. It’s similar to approaching someone to do a guest post on their blog. Coming up with the questions for the interviewee will stump me, but I’m glad that you gave some examples of what to ask.
Thanks for sharing Leanne! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend!
Yes, Sherman, coming up with good questions is often a big stumbling block, that’s why I included some examples to get you started. Publishing interviews on your blog is perfect. Best of luck to you!
Interesting stuff, I wish I read it before doing my first interview. It was with Barry Schwartz and I guess I have done all the possible mistakes 🙂
We all have, Anton. We just learn as we go along. 😉
Excellent post Leanne!
Actually it’s more like a mini tutorial
I’ve done a few interviews, and they went well.
But after reading this post I realize there is so much more I could have done. In retrospect my interviewing style was more like that of an enthusiastic amateur, whereas your tips will help to transform people like me into pros!
As Sherman Smith has said here, if people are not comfortable with a live voice/video interview they can always opt for a a written blog interview. That said I do think a lot more value can come from a live video or audio interview.
Thanks again Leanne
I’m glad you think so. I had hoped that this would be this to be an actual tutorial that would help folks be more “pro”.
You could do a couple of things if you want to publish an interview on your blog. You could create a post and link to the MP3, or you could transcribe and clean up the audio recording. Talking to an influencer will always be the best way to start a relationship.
Emailing questions and receiving written answers back is less effective at relationship-building, so I’d encourage the one-on-one chat whenever you can manage it.
Wonderfully helpful post thank you Leanne. We are just about to embark on this strategy and this blueprint will certainly help!
Glad to hear it, Ryan. Good luck!
Great article! Very helpful and insightful. I’ve always been a good interviewee, but haven’t gotten too many chances to be the interviewer.
My main question concerns high-level influencers – obviously they’re usually going to be busy and active individuals. If I do reach out for interviews, and said influencers do not, perhaps, have the time or interest, will my request(s) come off as an annoyance? I would hate to burn bridges before even getting started.
Thanks for the article! Decidedly worthwhile.
No, I don’t think you have to worry about that, especially if you’re pleasant and professional and use something similar to the template. They should be flattered, even if they’re too busy.
If someone is annoyed by a nice request, it’s more a reflection on them than on you.
Great point, Greg. This is super important.
I’m a big fan of making it easy for folks to share by using a tool like ShareLinkGenerator.com. One click is all they have to do to share it.
Thanks for this!
This article definitely contains all the things that you have to do to carry out a successful interview!
What can I say, you’ve been a tremendous help for me. I guess not just me but the rest of the scaredy-dardy troops out there. I feel bloated with a lot of info right now. Think about it, you’ve got the Header as your appetizer, content which is the main dish, and lastly, the huge roundups here is more like a fiesta dessert. Anyone who would stumble upon this blog post will definitely be puffed up. Anyway, just really glad that you’ve shared this one! Been wanting to get more knowledge about these kinds of topics.
What’s next? Of course I’m gonna go ahead and share this one to my followers! 🙂
Great article and very helpful. I’m starting a new blog concentrating on Social Change, Community Cohesion, Combatting Loneliness, etc. My main blog touches on these subjects but I also post a lot of radical anarchist political stuff which turns some folks off. Hence the new blog.
I’m going to interview people who I consider “movers and shakers” in the Social Change field. Luckily I’m a volunteer with several groups which will be useful when I ask to interview them.
Thanks for your great site!
How to interview?
This is the question that comes in the mind of every blogger or webmaster who want to publish interview of industry experts on her website. This guide will surely help those trying to connect with the influencers in their respective industry.