Last time we discussed ideas for approaching your fellow writers for interviews. In this article, we’ll discuss the interview itself- it’s a presented in a step-by-step format, but is really a guide. There really is no “best way” of doing things, as we’ll find out…
Generally speaking, everyone has their own way of doing these kinds of things- this is my way. Take it as your own, or change any aspect of it to make it work, it’s all good.
Step 1: Prepare a set of questions- five questions is a good number. There’s no fluffy filler questions, but enough to generate a reasonably well sized article.
Step 2: Email the writer in question and ask them if they want to be interviewed. If you don’t have their email address, contact their CO. Your own CO can provide you with their contact information. Include the questions you prepared earlier- this will allow them to see exactly what the interview is about.
Step 3: Confirm promptly. If you want to change the questions, now’s a good time.
Step 4: Wait for answers! If there’s no response after five days, send a brief and polite reminder. I usually mention that if they’re too busy it’s not a problem- interviews are optional and they usually aren’t timely. It can wait.
Step 5: Paydirt! You have your answers. From here, you should write the article. It should be written in the first person (“Today, I interviewed Alleran Tan of the USS Independence…”), and the purpose of your prose is to provide a bridge between the responses the interviewee provided.
Important: Formatting changes aside, never change the words of those you interview. This includes typos and mistakes- as a text-based transcription, it’s important that their words are transcribed faithfully. If you’re concerned about typos, ask your subject if you can perform a minor grammar cleanup, and show it to them before you publish it. In fact…
Step 6: Before publishing the article, show a content-complete version to your subject. It doesn’t have to be formatted correctly, just that the text of the interview is complete. If the subject requests changes, make them promptly and completely- this is also another chance for the subject to change their mind about the interview. If the subject, at any time including now, requests the interview not be published you should honour that request and no reason is required.
Step 7: Go to WordPress and put the article into a new post. Format it nicely, using the ‘block quote’ button for any quotes in the article. Don’t forget to tick the ‘Send to Twitter’ button and add the ‘More’ button, along with a right-aligned image with relevance to the interview. If you’re stuck for an image, use the image from their profile if they have one.
Step 8: When you’re satisfied with the article, hit ‘Submit for Review’. Wait for it to be published on the website! This may take some time, so be patient.
Step 9: When the article is published, email your subject and let them know, including a link to the finished product. Remember to thank them for their time- they made it possible!
Hope this was helpful. Good luck with anyone who wants to do an interview!