How to Shape an Interview Story

Need to break out of a content rut? Try using an interview to bring a fresh perspective and a unique format to your blog.

An interview story is more than just a transcript of a conversation. The most interesting interviews are carefully edited and formatted to capture your readers’ attention from start to finish. Interviews can also help you reach a wider audience in your niche and drive traffic to your site, according to SmartBlogger.

When you decide to tackle an interview for your blog or website, follow these tips to ensure smooth sailing.

Before the interview: Preparing to discuss

Write out thoughtful questions

Spend time before the interview crafting questions that will yield interesting answers from your subject. It helps to open with simple, easy questions that get the conversation going and make the interviewee feel comfortable. For example, you could begin by asking basic questions about your subject’s professional background; you can always cut this section when it’s time to edit the interview for publication.

Then, move into open-ended questions that encourage thoughtful responses from your subject. Open-ended questions typically start with “how” or “why” and lead to longer discussions. Try to avoid yes-or-no questions or anything that can be answered in just a word or two, as it can interrupt the flow of natural conversation.

After the interview: Preparing to publish

Introduce your subject

With the interview done, it’s time to sit down and put together your post. To start, introduce your subject. Open with a paragraph or two that includes a quick bio of your interviewee, and then preview a few of the most interesting parts to come in the interview.

Decide on a post format

If you hit it off with your subject and the conversation flows effortlessly, your interview may lend itself to a Q&A format. This straightforward approach moves back and forth between subject and interviewer. Even though this format is intuitive, you’ll still need to spend time editing your transcript for clarity, length, and flow. You’ll likely need to cut sections that stray from the main topic and make small changes for readability.

If a Q&A isn’t the right fit, you can use a traditional narrative blog format. Similar to a journalistic article, a narrative blog can include direct quotes from your interview subject mixed in with paraphrasing and description.

Choose the right quotes

If you’re writing a narrative that paraphrases the content of your interview, try to weave in quotes that add color and personality. Don’t use quotes to convey basic information, especially if you can paraphrase that information more concisely in your own words. Instead, choose quotes that convey emotion or your subject’s voice. Interviewing gives you a chance to glimpse your interviewee’s unique character, and you can use quotes to let that personality shine through.

To make quotes pop and to break up long blocks of text, use quote blocks in WordPress.com.

Benefits for both bloggers and readers

Take advantage of this engaging content type to keep your readers scrolling and to expand your own network. And with any luck, by reaching out to someone new and featuring an interview story on your blog, you may gain a valuable new contact and friend in your industry. It’s a win-win for both you as a blogger and for your readers.

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