I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mason Cosby, the Marketing Director of Mojo Media Labs and Podcast Host of The Marketing Ladder to learn more about his take on the current digital and content marketing landscape, especially from a B2B perspective.
While the interview went absolutely great, I can’t help but think how things could’ve gone awry if I hadn’t been properly prepared. If I didn’t take the time to consider what technology to use, how to use it, or create an outline of questions, there’s a huge chance my interview would’ve crashed and burned.
Of course, you may think conducting an interview is easier than slicing a cake. You may be an extrovert with a talent for public speaking. But if you’re trying to make a good impression with an acquaintance in a high-level marketing position, you’re in no position to take a gamble.
Whether you’re interviewing a marketer for your latest podcast episode or want to provide your target audiences with expert knowledge from someone in the industry, here are a few helpful tips to help you have an amazing interview.
1. Find the right interviewee.
Before you start conducting an interview, you need to find the best person to interview. This will depend on the goals and purpose of your interview. In my case, I wanted to speak with someone who had years of extensive knowledge about the digital marketing industry, specifically content marketing.
I went through a list of my ideal candidates—this included esteemed marketing aficionados like Ann Handley and Kari DePhillips. While these contacts fell through (but mark my words, I will interview these individuals one day!), I continued to search through acquaintances and strangers on LinkedIn who met my criteria.
Due to his excellent credentials, years of experience, and active participation in marketing circles, I finally found my interviewee, Mason Cosby. As such, make sure to create a list of your potential interviewees based on their credentials and experience with the respective topic you’d like to discuss.
This will help boost the value of your interview to your target audience. You may even gain new knowledge about ongoing trends and insights into your industry.
2. Double (and triple) check your technology.
Whether you’re conducting your interview in person or recording it via Zoom, I highly recommend checking that everything works. And I mean everything.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than being ready to start interviewing and finding out that Zoom or your camera won’t work. For my interview, I checked that I was able to navigate through Zoom without any problems. I recorded a short clip to ensure the record feature worked and checked the invite link several times.
As a precautionary measure, I also reviewed the voice recorder on my phone and used it as a backup for the recording, just in case Zoom decided not to save my interview. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so I also recommend having a backup device on top of the technology you’re planning to record your interview.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
You’ve probably heard this tip plenty of times but it’s one of the easiest ones to forget! Remember: an interview is a conversation you’re having with someone else. It’s not your average Q&A session. As such, it’s important to keep it that way throughout the entire session. Otherwise, you’ll risk your interview coming across as awkward, clunky, or worst of all, amateurish.
To help me create the questions for my interview, I reviewed the purpose behind my interview. I also re-read my interviewee’s credentials to see what other topics we could discuss from his experience in the industry. Of course, it’s important that your questions align with your overall purpose so that your target audience derives value from them.
As for my interview with Cosby, it went well! The nerves that usually come with interviewing an acquaintance went away as soon as the introductions started going. Cosby was insightful, professional, and knowledgeable about the industry at large. This process didn’t come easy, but the end result was definitely worth it.
With enough research, time, and effort, you’ll be to craft an interview that makes a difference in your objectives. Take the time to approach the planning process of your interview carefully so that you can help your target audiences learn, grow, and contribute to their professional endeavors.
Check out my blog post, 3 Reasons Why Every Marketer Should Have a Blog to learn about the importance of maintaining a blog.