Last week on Twitter I had a discussion with a number of followers about landing interviews with other bloggers as a way to generate interesting content for your blog. One of the responses I had via a direct message from a follower was:
“I’m too shy to approach big bloggers for an interview – do you have any tips?”
Two ideas come to mind:
1. Don’t just approach ‘big’ bloggers
While many successful bloggers are willing to do interviews you might find you have more success if you target mediums sized blogs initially. While there is nothing wrong with aiming high – some bloggers are more likely to do an interview with you if you can show them a few other interviews you’ve done you might have more success.
2. One question interviews
One of the best ways to get even larger bloggers to respond is to keep your interviews very simple. The fewer the questions and the easier that they are to answer the more likely you are to get a response. Take this to the extreme with a ‘one question interview’ – a single question that is answerable in a few sentences.
You can then present the answers in a couple of ways:
1. As a single post – combine all the answers to the same question in one post. In this way you get a post that is quite long and explores the topic in a variety of ways (hopefully).
2. As a series of posts – I’ve done this a couple of times when going away for a vacation. I present each answer as a single post (or sometimes group shorter ones together) and then drip them out onto the blog over a series of days (here’s an example of the index page to one such series of one question interviews).
Not everyone will respond even to single question interviews but you’ll be surprised how many will.
Further Reading – here’s a post that I’ve previously written with 8 tips on How to Get and Conduct Interviews for Your Blog.
PS: one other point that I feel compelled to make after a day when I had a lot of requests for interviews (for some strange reason they all came at once). The feeling that I came away from most of the requests today with was ‘frustration’. The frustration came from most of the requests simply asking too much.
Over the day I had 6 requests – one of them had two questions and was quite manageable, the other 5 requests had 7, 9, 10, 11 and 15 questions attached. When I reluctantly responded to the one with 9 questions (it took 2 hours to do) the interviewer then wanted to send a series of follow up questions!
While I understand the desire to do comprehensive interviews that go beyond scratching the surface – sending someone a series of 10 or 15 questions is quite overwhelming. Unless the questions are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ type questions a question can take 10-15 minutes to answer if done comprehensively – this adds up when you ask a lot of questions.