Interviewing guests on your blog is a good practice for a number of reasons.
- It’s a different style of post, keeping things fresh and interesting
- It offers your readers a unique outside perspective
- It helps you build your network
Of course, all of this hinges on whether or not your interview is interesting, and one of the most important factors in determining the fate of an interview is the questions you ask the subject. For this reason, I’ve come up with a list of helpful tips to follow when interviewing guests for your blog (or podcast or radio show for that matter).
- Research the interviewee—Make sure you do your homework before conducting the interview. There’s nothing worse than listening to/reading an interview in which it’s clear the host knows little to nothing about the guest. Do your homework on the interview subject. Go beyond the obvious information about them, and dig deeper into the truly interesting aspects of their life and their expertise.
- Give yourself plenty of time to prepare questions—Don’t try to crank out an interview on the fly. You want the interview to truly be engaging. That’s why you need to spend plenty of time thinking of interesting questions that will provide useful information to your readers.
- Avoid yes or no questions—Always ask open ended questions that force your interview subject to go beyond a simple “yes” or “no” response. Remember, the whole point of interviewing someone is to get their unique perspective on things. “Yes” and “no” answers just don’t cut it.
- Focus on subjects your audience cares about—I mentioned earlier that one of the benefits of interviewing a guest on your blog is it gives your readers a different perspective and new information you can’t normally provide yourself. However, just make sure this is information your target audience actually cares about. If your blog covers a highly niche subject, make sure your questions fall within this purview.
- Invite your readers to submit questions—Of course, there’s no better way to make sure your interview questions are interesting to your audience than to have your audience ask the questions themselves. Announce your interviews well in advance, and ask your readers to submit any questions they might have for the interview subject. Not only does this keep your interview appealing to your readers, but it also gives them a sense of ownership in your blog, strengthening your community.
- Tap into your interview subject’s expertise—Again, the whole point of bringing in a guest for an interview is to get their perspective on things. To do this, you need to focus on writing questions that truly tap into their area of expertise. This is how you’ll pull out the truly useful information that you can’t find anywhere else.