5 Things You Need to Do Before Conducting an Interview

Two people conducting an interview

“Interviewing someone is very similar to preparing a character, isn’t it? You’re just asking questions: ‘Who is this person? Why did they make that choice? Why are they doing that?’ You’re being Sherlock Holmes.”Felicity Jones

When you’re preparing to write a marketing promotion, one source of information you should consider seeking out is an expert’s knowledge of the product or service.

Being able to quote an expert (and ask them your questions to deepen your understanding) can add significant believability to your copy. Besides being a great source of information, experts can also provide you with firsthand stories that will make your copy more engaging and, hopefully, more profitable.

To get the best results, there are five things you need to do before conducting an interview to make sure you’re prepared and that everything goes smoothly.

The person you’re interviewing likely has specialized knowledge you may not be able to get anywhere else. The challenge may be — especially in highly technical fields like healthcare or investing — understanding any jargon the expert uses well enough to translate it into layman’s terms for your copy.

Additionally, you need to properly word your questions to help you uncover differences between the product you’re selling and that of your competitors. With the right preparation, you can uncover all the information quickly.

Here are five steps you can take to ensure your expert interview is as productive as can be:

1) Know the goal of your project — Whether you’re writing a direct-response letter, copy for a new website or landing page, an email autoresponder series, or a feature article for a newsletter, you need to clearly define your objectives. Is your goal to sell the product or service? Is it to prospect for new clients? Do you want your readers to request a phone call from a salesperson? Is your intent to educate your readers?

Knowing the core reason for writing the promotion will not only give you a roadmap for how you’ll logically structure the flow of copy from beginning to end, but also provide you with a list of questions you’ll want to touch upon in your interview.

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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