Interviewing is an art…an art that pays dividends in many ways whether you’re a copywriter or content writer.
If you master interview skills, and people are comfortable talking with you, you’re golden. They may end up revealing stories they had not planned to tell.
I know because I’ve been told that many times.
Over the years of writing content – mainly magazine and online features – I learned a thing or two from interviewing people from all walks of life.
From CEOs to MDs and reality show hosts, here are a few tactics that enabled me to get the most out of each interview…
1.Keep the chit chat short. A comment about the snowstorm or quick note on a commonality (“oh, I see we both majored in X in school…”) is fine but then move right in.
2. Use bullet points, not scripted questions. (An exception may be PR people of celebrities or high-ranking officials, but it’s not normally required.) This allows the conversation to flow naturally. Reading from a script doesn’t allow you to really listen to their responses\
3. Don’t be afraid to venture off topic. Often the best information and most fun stories come from unplanned tangents. Just be sure to rein the conversation back on track if it goes too far off the rails.
4. Tell people when the end is near. Saying, “I have one more question…” or any other indicator that tells the person the interview’s almost over, often elicits a visible relaxed posture (if on video) in the other person. (And ironically, they may open up more at this point.)
5. Always end with this question: “Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to include on this topic?” I can’t count the number of times this produced the most interesting stuff.
For more on this topic, be sure to check out this week’s podcast interview with Ryan Paul Gibson, founder of ContentLift.io.
A former on-the-street journalist, Ryan provides great tips and advice for nailing the marketing interview.
Check it out HERE (and please subscribe and share if you enjoy it!).
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