Content Tip: Conduct and Write Interviews
Posted on 07 April 2014 in the category Tips and inspiration .
If you’re looking for some content inspiration for your magazine, look no further! An interview is a fun and creative way to fill a few pages and create a few memories.
In this article we’d like to explain the basics of an interview, how to prepare for one, conduct it and write it in 5 easy steps!
1. Subject, interviewee and mood
Conducting an interview starts by choosing a subject and an interviewee. Depending on what kind of magazine you’re making and who it is ultimately for, these can vary. If you’re making a wedding magazine for a couple, then it would be fun to interview both the bride and groom to be, or the in-laws or siblings of each of them. If you’re making a birthday magazine, an interview with siblings, children or old friends or coworkers would be a great addition.
Another important aspect for an interview to take into account is the mood. An interview can be funny, serious, focused on past events or future events and so on. Deciding what mood the interview will be conducted in decides how it will read on paper, so this has to be decided beforehand.
Every good interviewer knows it’s not professional to show up empty-handed. So, before the interview takes place, make sure you’ve made a note of things you definitely want to ask or talk about. Bringing a drink or a snack is also always a plus!
We recommend bringing a camera as well. Although these days most people have a smartphone and those take great photos too! Since this interview is for a magazine, taking a few snaps of the event would be a great addition to the interview.
Choosing a good location is important for the interview as well. It can’t be too noisy or distracting, but not too quiet and desolate either, unless you prefer it that way. A great option is to just have a Skype interview. Technology today is amazing, why not use it to it’s full potential?
(If you so choose you can also bring a voice recorder to record the entire interview for later listening.)
3. The conversation
This is where the magic happens. You meet the interviewee, sit down and pull out your list of things to ask and talk about. Be sure to remember that it’s a conversation, not an interrogation.
As you’re talking, don’t be afraid to ask them to elaborate more on something if it’s interesting for the magazine. Also, be encouraging, people can get a bit nervous when being interviewed, make sure they feel relaxed by being friendly and unjudgemental. Summarizing helps the process as well. Every so often give them a short summary of what has been talked about so far. This may uncover new information or give insight into other information previously overlooked.
Important: Don’t worry if it’s not all going exactly as you wrote it down. Veering off the beaten path is often the best way to get vital or very interesting information that would otherwise have gotten lost.
4. Writing the interview
After the interview is done you can decide how you’ll translate it onto paper. If you’ve recorded the interview you can transcribe it (though this is a lot of work). An easier option is to pick and choose the information from the interview that you found the most relevant for the magazine.
There are a few ways an interview can be processed. It can be done the straightforward way with your questions followed by the answers in quotes (example). Another way is to write a story wherein you write the general direction of the interview and then add the statements of the interviewee in quotes (example). Lastly you can leave out the statements completely and write the entire interview in your own words. This is often used if there are not enough statements or quotes available to use, but the general opinions of the interviewee are.
5. Fun Together
Last but not least, make sure everyone involved has fun! Remember to take pictures to add to your magazine! ;)