If you're stuck for blog post ideas, interviewing someone of interest is a great way to add a new perspective and some great content to your blog/website. As someone who writes quite regularly for music websites, I've been lucky enough to conduct a fair few interviews in my time, and along the way I've picked up some basic tips for conducting a great interview. I've been lucky enough to interview some brilliant bands, but these tips could apply to anyone. Fashion blogger? Have a chat with one of your favourite up-and-coming designers. Beauty blogger? Get the inside scoop about the ins and outs of new product launches with a beauty PR.
Get it on the record
If you're doing a face-to-face interview, a pad and pen won't cut it. Unless you can write in shorthand/at the speed of light, you're likely to miss things out, plus constantly having your head down and scribbling away is a barrier to building a rapport with the subject. I've always found a chatty, friendly interview throws up the best answers, and it's much easier to create this atmosphere if you're recording it. For me, a good dictaphone is an absolute essential - I use this Sony Digital Voice Recorder from Viking Direct*. It picks up voices really well, and has 2GB of memory as well as a PC link, so you can transfer your interview straight to your computer to translate. One little tip I've picked up - if you're interviewing a group of people, make a note of the initial when each new person starts speaking, helpful in case you have trouble recognising voices when you're transcribing later.
Sony PC linked Digital Voice Recorder, £35.99, Viking Direct*
Do your research
Make sure you know plenty about your subject beforehand, so you can tailor your questions to be relevant. So if you're interviewing a band, find out a little about their history, if they have any recent or upcoming releases or tours coming up.
Planning your questions - think outside the box...
Although a lot of music interviews that I do often focus on promoting upcoming releases, I try to ask questions that the bands won't be sick of by the end of a long press run. Last year, I interviewed Mallory Knox in the run-up to Christmas, and it was one of the most fun interviews I've done. Rather than just rattling out all the "So, tell me how well the tour's going.." type questions, I threw in a segment of Christmassy questions to provide content that fans wouldn't normally be getting elsewhere.
In the interview
If it's your first interview, or you're chatting to someone you really admire, you might well be a little nervous. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you - and one to offer the person you're interviewing if they don't have any handy. When you're chatting away, don't be afraid to ad lib - if they mention something you'd like to know more about, feel free to veer away from your list of questions. Sometimes, the best bits of an interview can come from free-flowing conversation!
Once you've done your interview, it's just a case of transcribing your recording - which can take a little while, but if you've sent your recording over to your PC it should be easy to stop, start and rewind. I try and keep the wording of the interview as close to their speech patterns as possible, but if there's something you need to change slightly to make sense, you can use square brackets [ ] here and there or occasionally add in short words that makes sentences flow. Finally, once it's been uploaded, make sure you share it with the subject - they may well retweet you or post it on their social media outlets, bringing traffic to your site!
Hopefully this helps a little bit if you're thinking of adding some interview content to your blog/site - if you have any more questions, do pop them in the comments section and I'll try and answer them for you!
Who would be your dream person to interview - and why?**
**Mine would be Beyonce. Because it's goddamn Beyonce.