In a recent blog post I mentioned how one of the perks of freelancing is the fact that I get to interview experts for articles all the time. Most recently, I was able to interview one of my favorite female entrepreneurs for my column over at Inc, and it got me thinking, “How can freelancers everywhere conduct expert interviews?”
Interviewing is an art. If you don’t believe me just watch Oprah rock an interview. She knows when to talk, when to stay quiet and she never loses control. Here are some tips I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) as I begin to conduct expert interviews for clients as well as my own content.
Do as much research as you can.
If you have time, make sure to do as much extra research as you can before interviewing someone. Sometimes it’s not possible because of tight deadlines and workload, but if you even have an extra hour you can dedicate to research I recommend doing it.
I actually spent a week looking through the content of the female entrepreur I just interviewed for my column. It helped the her content is really good, but it’s something I would have tried to do anyway.
By doing as much research as you can it will show the expert that you’ve done your homework and can actually engage in a conversation with them. This brings me to my next point.
Have fun with it.
I usually have a lot of fun when I conduct expert interviews. There’s really only a couple where I was like, “Oh gee this is really uncomfortable and awkward” despite having put in a bunch of time doing prep work.
For the most part, conducting expert interviews is really enjoyable. I simply try to see it as having a conversation with someone I can learn something from. If you approach these interviews with a beginner’s mind it will help calm the nerves on both ends.
Listen more than you speak.
This one I actually learned the hard way. I’m a natural talker and I’m a genuinely curious person. As a result, it sometimes it takes some conscious effort for me to actually listen to the person I’m interviewing.
This is where I try to get my inner Oprah on. If you’ve ever watched Oprah conduct an interview you’ll notice that she stays quiet when the other person is talking. She also listens intently. This allows her to a) have a good conversation and b) come up with some really good follow-up questions on the spot.
When you conduct expert interviews from this approach you may end up coming up with a better angle, a better story or simply get the information you really need to create killer content.
Record the interview.
As much as I try to feverishly take notes, I’ve found it’s better to just record the interview. I started doing more of this recently and it’s helped tremendously with making sure I get everything.
Additionally, it’s audio content I can repurpose and use later as either a podcast, a freebie or some other offering (all done with the expert’s permission of course).
Being able to conduct good expert interviews will help you network, build incredible relationships and create killer content either for your own brand or for your clients. Make sure to use these tips so you can conduct the best interview possible.