On any given week it seems like I’m either launching an interview with someone interesting I bump into or receiving a query from a Web site asking if they can interview me. It’s fun and it’s a great way to build content for your site and get on the radar screen of some cool folk. And after all, who doesn’t like to be interviewed in a format where you can take your time and come across as a sharp, thoughtful person?
For example, I was recently approached by a site called bizymoms.com. I’d never heard of them, but since my general policy is to say yes to interviews and since it was related to parenting topics, I assented.
A day or so later they’d sent me a standard set of about a dozen questions via email, asking me to answer them at whatever length I’d like. The result: Interview with Dave Taylor on Bizymoms.com.
When I interview people, I generally like to start with a request for some biographical background on them. As an example, my friend and colleague Vincent Wright is under my interview microscope right now (it generally takes 2-3 weeks to go back and forth and create a really engaging and interesting interview, in my experience).
I thought perhaps it’d be interesting for you to read a bit of our discussion here.
We started out with me sending him this postscript in a message on a completely unrelated topic:
“Speaking of which, can I interview you for my biz blog? You’re a great “connector” and I’d love to learn more about your story and share it with my readers. Game?”
“Thanks, Dave…and, I’m absolutely game for the interview! 🙂 Let me know the time and the steps to take and I’m there, ok?”
From there, I simply sent him:
“Excellent. Let’s start with you sharing some of your bio with me for background? Childhood story, college focus, work experience, what got you so plugged in to connecting people, etc. Then I’ll craft some intelligent questions, email them, and we’ll publish the interview as a Q&A on my biz site intuitive.com along with a photo of ya. Works?”
I won’t spoil the interview, but as you can see, it’s pretty darn easy to get started with this sort of content and not only do you have a chance to learn more about a friend or colleague (a great benefit by itself) but you also get some cool material to post on your site, link to from Facebook, etc.
Worried about asking smart questions? Turn that on its head: tell the interview subject that you invite them to add a few questions that they’d like to answer. 🙂 Or dig around for some online tips on asking smart personal interview questions. I like to focus on “how did you get here?” and rather philosophical questions about “what motivates you?”
Good luck and I’ll look forward to reading some of your interviews soon!