How to Interview so that it pays off well

42 Comments

Link building if done correctly is one of the most creative and interesting part of the SEO campaign. As link building is not limited, creative people come up with different tactics that can help them get number of links pointing to the website and help them get better spots in SERPs.

Creative link engineers use multiple techniques to attract, as many links as possible, from those Infographics, Badges, Quizzes, Interviews, etc are few of the most well know tactics.

Recently, I have seen many people using Interview ploy to build authority and links to the website, few of them are going great however, some of them somehow fail in the process. I myself have taken few Interviews in the past; you can check the list of Interviews on my profile, so I decided to help people out by sharing my process of: choosing celebrities for Interviews and preparing questions for them.

The Basics:

You have to be very clear about the basics of interview. You cannot go to every other person and ask him/her for interview. If you want to interview, someone then you should know that person well, if he possesses a positive value in the community and if his answers can help community.

If the person is un-known or does not contain a positive value in the community then your interview might not go a long way (may gain low or no social value) and all your time and efforts might go in vain.

 

Choosing the Influencers:

SEO Influencers

It is best to choose such influencers for the interview because of the fact that they are already well known in the community, people are intended to read more about and from them so there is a great chance for you to gain most out of your interview as it may go viral.
Next, never choose the influencer randomly for the interview but set a target. Follow him/her acutely and see what are the things that make him/her different from others (there must be few). Read about them, read their previous interviews to attain enough knowledge about them. This will help you create intelligent question to ask her/him from different angles. This will also give your influencer a clue that you have studied about them dedicatedly and have not come up with the template questions.

If you are going to do some research and make your questions accordingly, you will most probably stand out from the rest in the eye of influencer and chances are that you will be able to build strong relationship with them that later can help you in multiple ways.

At the same time if your interview contains some different questions that hold value then you can expect your reader ship to grow with time. Template questions will bore the reader and he/she will probably switch instead of sharing it to their network.

I always deeply follow influencers before asking out for interview, I try to be a familiar face for them by actively participating where they already are, by commenting on their blogs, RTing them and getting involved in the discussion by sharing my point of view and more.

Interview Format:

Interview format is your personal choice but what is important is to keep and follow the same tone in all the interviews. This will help people to know what they can expect when they find an influencer’s interview, interviewed by you.

There are few things that are important while setting your Interview format:

 

  • No. of Questions

Limit your questions to a certain number and use the same number in all the interviews. Personally, I limit my questions to 10 and try to cover all the information within 10 questions. Asking too many questions can make the read go bore.

 

  • The punch Question

I do not think that it is a must but I use it often and I think it pays of well every time. I always end my interview on the same question. The question is amusing and every time I get a different answer that makes my readers and me, a little more excited while closing the post on a happy note.

 

  • Areas Covered

Try to be all-rounder and discuss different areas through your interview so that you can entertain almost every type of reader from the piece. Although you are limited to the questions but try to research and put your time in making questions that allow you to cover multiple areas.

Personally, I try to ask the questions that are the part of trend and my questions try to cover all areas that includes on-page, off-page, social media, content development, paid search and more.

Do not Use Templates:

I know I have discussed this point above but I think it is worthy discussing again. If you are going to repeat questions with every influencer as it may turn your interviews to be boring with time.

For example one of your questions is, ‘Is On-Page Optimization Important?’ I believe every ethical influencer in the search industry will have the same answer on this so this makes the reader go bore. Ask different and trendy questions that you think your readers will be interested in getting the answers for.

Choose the medium:

Now that you have your questions ready, the 2nd thing you have to do is to select your medium of interview. Decide whether you are going to take a text interview, a video interview or an audio one and see if the influencer is ok with it.

Never compromises on the quality or else you are dead! This means if you don’t have good video camera available to shoot the video then it’s always better to turn down the video option and move to some other option, instead of compromising on quality.

I am not a US based SEO so meeting the influencer in person is not an ideal situation for me and due to the limited resources thus I never go for skype or audio interviews.

Conclusion:

Interviews usually pay off well but there are some tactics and techniques that should be used or else in a longer run, you will lose your readership trust. Try to do a good deal of homework on influencers before asking them out for interview so that you can cover as much areas as possible and entertain your readers.

If you have any other tactic that you have used and worked out for you, I would love to hear it in the comment section.

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42 Comments
  1. Reply

    Hi Moosa!
    Great post and a lot of really good do’s and don’ts in there. One of the things I loved doing when interviewing for radio was to ask a question that invited the person to share something they had not talked about before…this often leads them to share something that is a little more about their personal feeling for some element of their work. When your question reveals something previously unknown to the readers who think they know the interviewee very well, you give them a reason to want to read the next interview.

  2. Reply

    Hi Moosa!
    Great post and a lot of really good do’s and don’ts in there. One of the things I loved doing when interviewing for radio was to ask a question that invited the person to share something they had not talked about before…this often leads them to share something that is a little more about their personal feeling for some element of their work. When your question reveals something previously unknown to the readers who think they know the interviewee very well, you give them a reason to want to read the next interview.

  3. Reply

    Hi Moosa!
    Great post and a lot of really good do’s and don’ts in there. One of the things I loved doing when interviewing for radio was to ask a question that invited the person to share something they had not talked about before…this often leads them to share something that is a little more about their personal feeling for some element of their work. When your question reveals something previously unknown to the readers who think they know the interviewee very well, you give them a reason to want to read the next interview.

  4. Reply

    I agree that the series of post make people easy to digest the information and get to know more about new talents in the industry…

    Thanks for the Kind words sir! 🙂

  5. Reply

    I agree that the series of post make people easy to digest the information and get to know more about new talents in the industry…

    Thanks for the Kind words sir! 🙂

  6. Reply

    I agree that the series of post make people easy to digest the information and get to know more about new talents in the industry…

    Thanks for the Kind words sir! 🙂

  7. Excellent tips Moosa. I have come to expect exactly this caliber of actionable information from you. One thing I have done (and Alessio does VERY well) is group the interviews into a series. These are MUCH easier to read/digest than the monstrous group interviews.

  8. Excellent tips Moosa. I have come to expect exactly this caliber of actionable information from you. One thing I have done (and Alessio does VERY well) is group the interviews into a series. These are MUCH easier to read/digest than the monstrous group interviews.

  9. Excellent tips Moosa. I have come to expect exactly this caliber of actionable information from you. One thing I have done (and Alessio does VERY well) is group the interviews into a series. These are MUCH easier to read/digest than the monstrous group interviews.

    • AvatarKarim Javed
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Moosa first of all I want to congratulate you for getting succeed for what you have dreamed about 2 years back 🙂
    You always told me not to go for an expert tag with your name but now I can say that you are an expert dude you don’t need to put a tag before your name people will call you an expert after watching your work and researches.

    • Reply

      Thanks Karim! Yes its finally live and I might sometime write the post… Road to SETalks where I will discuss why it took me so long to come up with my own blog!

        • AvatarKarim Javed
        • July 17, 2012
        Reply

        Definitely am waiting for that post. Also write about your struggle and some SEO Gurus who tried to taught you SEO. 😀

    • AvatarKarim Javed
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Moosa first of all I want to congratulate you for getting succeed for what you have dreamed about 2 years back 🙂
    You always told me not to go for an expert tag with your name but now I can say that you are an expert dude you don’t need to put a tag before your name people will call you an expert after watching your work and researches.

    • Reply

      Thanks Karim! Yes its finally live and I might sometime write the post… Road to SETalks where I will discuss why it took me so long to come up with my own blog!

        • AvatarKarim Javed
        • July 17, 2012
        Reply

        Definitely am waiting for that post. Also write about your struggle and some SEO Gurus who tried to taught you SEO. 😀

    • AvatarKarim Javed
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Moosa first of all I want to congratulate you for getting succeed for what you have dreamed about 2 years back 🙂
    You always told me not to go for an expert tag with your name but now I can say that you are an expert dude you don’t need to put a tag before your name people will call you an expert after watching your work and researches.

    • Reply

      Thanks Karim! Yes its finally live and I might sometime write the post… Road to SETalks where I will discuss why it took me so long to come up with my own blog!

        • AvatarKarim Javed
        • July 17, 2012
        Reply

        Definitely am waiting for that post. Also write about your struggle and some SEO Gurus who tried to taught you SEO. 😀

  10. Reply

    Like the idea of this post. and thanks a lot for mentioning the “meet your SEO” interview series.

    Honestly I think it’s good to interview even people who are not well-known or influencers, just because of this: they can bring some fresh air in the room.

    thanks again and good luck with this new blog!

    • Reply

      Thanks Alessio for the input and you Meet your SEO series was worth mentioning…
      Have a good day!

  11. Reply

    Like the idea of this post. and thanks a lot for mentioning the “meet your SEO” interview series.

    Honestly I think it’s good to interview even people who are not well-known or influencers, just because of this: they can bring some fresh air in the room.

    thanks again and good luck with this new blog!

    • Reply

      Thanks Alessio for the input and you Meet your SEO series was worth mentioning…
      Have a good day!

  12. Reply

    Like the idea of this post. and thanks a lot for mentioning the “meet your SEO” interview series.

    Honestly I think it’s good to interview even people who are not well-known or influencers, just because of this: they can bring some fresh air in the room.

    thanks again and good luck with this new blog!

    • Reply

      Thanks Alessio for the input and you Meet your SEO series was worth mentioning…
      Have a good day!

  13. Reply

    Very nice tips Moosa.
    I’d had another, though:
    use images to reinforce the strenght of the interview and to “entertain” also visually the readers.
    In fact, interviews can look like huge block of written content, something which a pure repellant on the web.
    So… use images:
    * photos of the interviewee
    ask, if possible, for personal photos, so to show also their “not professional” facet to your readers;
    if you did the interview on person, remember to organize a photo session of it.
    * images/photos that can visually enhance what said by the interviewee; substantially, use images as you’d use them for a slide preso.
    This last point is how I used images in the recent “Road to MozCon” interview series on SEOmoz, for instance.

    • Reply

      Thank you sir for the insightful input!

      I do agree that Images in the interview can take it to the new height and make the interview more authentic and share worthy!

  14. Reply

    Very nice tips Moosa.
    I’d had another, though:
    use images to reinforce the strenght of the interview and to “entertain” also visually the readers.
    In fact, interviews can look like huge block of written content, something which a pure repellant on the web.
    So… use images:
    * photos of the interviewee
    ask, if possible, for personal photos, so to show also their “not professional” facet to your readers;
    if you did the interview on person, remember to organize a photo session of it.
    * images/photos that can visually enhance what said by the interviewee; substantially, use images as you’d use them for a slide preso.
    This last point is how I used images in the recent “Road to MozCon” interview series on SEOmoz, for instance.

    • Reply

      Thank you sir for the insightful input!

      I do agree that Images in the interview can take it to the new height and make the interview more authentic and share worthy!

  15. Reply

    Very nice tips Moosa.
    I’d had another, though:
    use images to reinforce the strenght of the interview and to “entertain” also visually the readers.
    In fact, interviews can look like huge block of written content, something which a pure repellant on the web.
    So… use images:
    * photos of the interviewee
    ask, if possible, for personal photos, so to show also their “not professional” facet to your readers;
    if you did the interview on person, remember to organize a photo session of it.
    * images/photos that can visually enhance what said by the interviewee; substantially, use images as you’d use them for a slide preso.
    This last point is how I used images in the recent “Road to MozCon” interview series on SEOmoz, for instance.

    • Reply

      Thank you sir for the insightful input!

      I do agree that Images in the interview can take it to the new height and make the interview more authentic and share worthy!

    • AvatarRishad
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Hi Moosa,
    Surely dude, interviews done right are a great means of earning links and even more important, building relationships.
    Golden rule: “Know thy interviewee”

    Its good to get advice from someone who has learned the tricks of the trade by getting his hands dirty with the practice. 🙂
    Regards,
    Rishad.

    • Reply

      Thanks mate! I am so glad that you like the post!

    • AvatarRishad
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Hi Moosa,
    Surely dude, interviews done right are a great means of earning links and even more important, building relationships.
    Golden rule: “Know thy interviewee”

    Its good to get advice from someone who has learned the tricks of the trade by getting his hands dirty with the practice. 🙂
    Regards,
    Rishad.

    • Reply

      Thanks mate! I am so glad that you like the post!

    • AvatarRishad
    • July 16, 2012
    Reply

    Hi Moosa,
    Surely dude, interviews done right are a great means of earning links and even more important, building relationships.
    Golden rule: “Know thy interviewee”

    Its good to get advice from someone who has learned the tricks of the trade by getting his hands dirty with the practice. 🙂
    Regards,
    Rishad.

    • Reply

      Thanks mate! I am so glad that you like the post!

  16. Reply

    This is good stuff Moosa…and I think that when an interviewer asks questions that show that he or she has done some research on the interviewee, it shows respect and makes the interview much more worthwhile.

    • Reply

      That’s true! This way the interviewee can come up with the phenomenal answers which is in benefit of the whole SEO community!

  17. Reply

    This is good stuff Moosa…and I think that when an interviewer asks questions that show that he or she has done some research on the interviewee, it shows respect and makes the interview much more worthwhile.

    • Reply

      That’s true! This way the interviewee can come up with the phenomenal answers which is in benefit of the whole SEO community!

  18. Reply

    This is good stuff Moosa…and I think that when an interviewer asks questions that show that he or she has done some research on the interviewee, it shows respect and makes the interview much more worthwhile.

    • Reply

      That’s true! This way the interviewee can come up with the phenomenal answers which is in benefit of the whole SEO community!

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