WPblab EP144 – How Do I Interview a Subject for An Article?

Sometimes marketing your business means reaching out to the community around you or industry leaders. Writing biographical profiles helps your business as well as theirs. So, how can you do this well? In this episode, Jason and Bridget are joined by Allison Smith, who frequently interviews subjects.

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Build Community With Interviews

If you can make someone comfortable about being interviewed about a subject’s area of expertise, Allison says, then it bodes well for you, too. Who are the movers and shakers in your industry? Build community and build relationships through all of your efforts. It will come back to serve you well in the future.

Bring Traffic To Your Website

Find people in an adjacent field, not a competitor, and interview them. This helps both of your businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to vote on topics or subjects. Polls are very helpful.

You can also post these interviews on LinkedIn — full or partial. The connections that can be made because of this will benefit everyone involved.

Paid in Exposure

Most web developers don’t like getting “paid in exposure” but a 30 minute podcast or interview is good use of everyone’s time. You can market yourself by being guests on podcasts (see our future episode) as well as being open interviews.

Do Your Research

Preparation is key for any interview. Look at their website and visit their social media. Send them about five critical questions ahead of time, but be open to the conversation changing.

Use public-facing sites for background research so that you can dig deep and get below the surface in your interview. This goes back to the Why (see below). Take a journalistic approach.

Best Interview Methods

If you can interview the subject in person, do that. Video is a next best choice. In person you get cues and mannerisms that help with your questions. Be quick on your feet. You may have opportunities for follow up questions.

Kitchen Table Conversations

Do your best to make the interviewee comfortable. Maybe you interview them in a space where they feel most comfortable. Ask them some questions about themselves but keep eye contact. Record if you must, but take notes on a notepad, so you can keep eye contact, not type.

Why is the North Star

Why are you interviewing this person? What is their story? How will it help your audience. Focus on your industry as a whole — what’s happening in your industry?

“The Why is the North Star for interviewing someone.” Allison Smith

Again, she emphasizes that background research will help with this. Follow-up questions are key. What makes them tick is a key to the why of the story.

Tips That Didn’t Make The Show

In Interview

  • Get direct quotes! Quotes add color and depth to the story (and can be removed if you end up with too many words)
  • For new and complex concepts: “Would you explain this to me as if I’m six?”
  • Spend most of your time listening. Have questions ready but also listen for opportunities to ask the next logical question – sometimes conversations take on a life of their own and with practice, you can learn to think on your feet and ask, “How did you overcome that?”, “And then what happened?” “Why do you think that?” (Why and how are your friends!) Remember when we would take class trips to the science museum when we were kids? Be polite but curious. Question your assumptions. Be your audience’s voice…what needs more explanation or elaboration?

After Interview

  • Send a thank you note, follow up with a link to your article
  • Share on social and tag person (if not a ghost-written article). Have them share to their social networks. You can post more than once.
  • Repurpose quotes for your social media feeds
  • If the article was for your company/employer, how can you use it as a springboard for connection with potential stakeholders, partnerships, customers? Can you use it to earn other media and attention?
  • Don’t forget to add it to your portfolio, an In the News or Media section on your site, use it as an example to show other potential interviewees, etc. “Save your clips.”

Tool or Tip of the Week

This Tool or Tip of the week is brought to you by VendorFuel. VendorFuel is a next-generation shopping cart plugin that will ignite your eCommerce. Built using AngularJS VendorFuel lets you keep your customers on your website for the entire checkout experience. Start a 90-day free trial now and Ignite Your eCommerce at VendorFuel.com!

Allison recommends the Yeti bluetooth microphone. For it’s pricepoint it just works. Every time. No fail.

Jason recommends Just Press Record which works seamlessly with the Apple Watch.

Bridget recommends Ipsy.com — a makeup subscription service.

Do you have any tools or tips we should know about?

We’d love to hear from you. What are your experiences with this subject?

Tell us in the comments below.

Weekly Watercooler Discussions about WordPress and it’s community.

3 responses to “WPblab EP144 – How Do I Interview a Subject for An Article?”

  1. Can’t wait to chat about how to get a great interview for an article on #WPBlab today w/ @jasontucker & @YouTooCanBeGuru! Come watch in an hour. @WPwatercooler wpwatercooler.com/wpblab/wpblab-… #wordpress #podcasting #content

  2. Podcasting is awesome, and I love it. Talked w/ @YouTooCanBeGuru & @jasontucker @WPwatercooler #WPblab today about how to interview someone for an article. wpwatercooler.com/wpblab/wpblab-… #podcasting #content #marketing #wordpress #content101


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