The Interview Blueprint: Great Blog Content, from A to Z

Interview Blog Content ImageClever Marketers, you are about to read some amazing marketing magic from Danny Iny, on using interviews to build your business, create blog content, and establish your credibility!  Enjoy Danny’s post, leave a comment, share it in social media, and then IMPLEMENT! 🙂  Hugs, Heather

Why do interviews at all?

This post is about how to conduct great interviews on your blog, but before we jump into the HOW, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the WHY.

There are at least five good reasons to include interviews as part of your blogging strategy:

  1. Content for your blog. You’ve got to churn out good content on a regular basis, and an interview is a lot easier than coming up with a whole new post!
  2. Interviews make for good content. The reason why you’re interviewing the person is that they have something interesting to say – this guarantees that the content will be interesting, at the very least.
  3. Search engines will like it. If it’s an audio interview, and you have it transcribed, that makes for not only great content, but a lot of text. Search engines like that!
  4. Raise your own profile. By associating with the bigger names in your industry, you automatically raise your profile in the eyes of your readers.
  5. Connect with the big players. How else can you get a major player in your industry on the phone for 30 minutes or more? This is valuable because they can answer questions, and because they will remember you – especially if your questions are good.

These are good reasons, but they aren’t the only ones – I’m sure with a bit of time, you could come up with five or ten more to add to the list!

Okay, let’s get down to nuts and bolts. How do we do this?

Who to Interview?

The first step is to decide who you want to interview, and my advice here is to AIM HIGH – go after the biggest players in your market.

It is perfectly normal to feel timid – if you’re running a blog that hasn’t grown to ginormous proportions yet, then you might be thinking something like “Who am I to call up the really big players? Why would they take my call?”

Well, the truth is that you might be surprised. The first interview that we ran on Firepole Marketing was with Guy Kawasaki – and yes, it was a bit of being in the right place at the right time (I wrote about how I landed Guy Kawasaki on Problogger).

But then I went on to interview a whole bunch of other big names, including one of my heroes, Randy Komisar – the author of two amazing books: “The Monk and the Riddle” and “Getting to Plan B”. When I landed the interview, I was ecstatic, and told everybody I knew. They all asked me how I did it.

My answer: I emailed him and asked.

The worst that can happen is that they politely decline, or don’t respond. But you’d really be surprised at how friendly and accessible most people are these days. So aim high!

Making the Approach

Once you’ve got your list of interview subjects, you have to send them an email. Here’s what that email might look like:

Dear [NAME],

I’m a big fan of your work – [GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF THEIR WORK, AND WHY YOU LIKE IT].

I’m wondering if you’d have the time and interest for me to interview you about [YOUR NICHE] for [YOUR SITE/BLOG].

I’ve recently interviewed [BIG NAMES] – so you’ll be in good company.


The kind of people that we’re going to feature include [BIG NAMES] – so you’ll be in good company.

What do you think? Is that something you’d have time for?

Thanks in advance,

It really is that simple. You won’t always hear back right away (or at all), but sometimes you will, and probably more often than you expect!

When they respond, coordinate a time that is convenient for them, and send them the details for how to call-in (more on how to set that up in a moment).

You should also send a short blurb (only a couple of paragraphs, maximum) about who your audience is, and what you feel the fit will be with the interview subject. In other words, give them a sense of what you’re looking for.

Preparing for the Interview

There are two sides to the preparations that you need to make for the interview – technology, and content.

On the technology side, you need a way to conduct and record the interview. There are tons of ways that you can do this – lots of people advocate using Skype. I personally don’t like that, a little bit because I’m worried about random technology failures, but mostly because I like to walk around and talk with my hands. So I use (there are tons of services like them, so find the one you like best).

When I setup the call, I get a toll-free number (optional, but I think it looks more professional, and for the extra $5-10, I’d like to make as good an impression as possible), and make sure the call is being recorded (there’s a checkbox for it – look carefully to make sure you don’t miss it). When I started doing interviews, I would add a few more phone lines than I needed (just paranoid – I can’t think of a good reason, and I don’t do it anymore), and booked the call to start about 15 minutes before the start time, and end about 30 minutes after (this is important – make sure you have a margin, in case the call goes long).

On the content side, you need to prepare yourself to conduct a GREAT interview. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Over-prepare! Read the person’s stuff, and think about what questions you can ask that will give them a chance to really show off what they know. Your goal should be to give them such a great opportunity to show off that they will want to link to your interview when it goes live!
  2. Script out the interview. Do it in bullet format, so that you’ve got your questions in order; start with an introduction, list your questions, and have a concluding, closing question that can give your listeners an action point to follow. You can find inspiration in this post of virtual interview questions.
  3. Situate the interviewee. Especially if they’re a bigger name, they probably do lots of interviews. They should read up on you before the interview, but they probably won’t – so make sure to mention who your audience is in one of the first questions (“Guy, our readers at Firepole Marketing are entrepreneurs and small business owners, usually in the 1-10 employee range. How can they…”).

Okay, so you’ve prepared for the interview, and you’re ready to go. It’s time for the moment of truth…

Doing the Interview

Dial-in to the conference number a few minutes before the interview is scheduled to start. Make sure you have a printout of your script, and a pen and paper handy to take notes. Give yourself a window to get comfortable.

When the interview subject dials in, don’t dive right into the interview. It’s important to help them get comfortable, and to help yourself get comfortable, too. Thank them for taking the time to do the interview, and ask them about something recent that is going on – are they having a good day? What’s the weather like where they are? Try to follow their Twitter updates on the same day so that you know a bit about what’s going on in their lives.

Once you’re both comfortable, start the actual interview. Introduce your guest, mentioning who they are and what they do (“for the benefit of our listeners, Guy Kawasaki is the founder of, and the author of several books, including The Art of the Start, Reality Check, and most recently, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.”), and jump straight to an icebreaker question to get the ball rolling.

Throughout the interview, use your script, but be flexible about it. Adapt the order of the questions to the flow of the conversation, and veer off of the script when appropriate; you can ask other questions that come to mind, or remove questions that you had planned to ask, but that you’re seeing won’t fit with the flow of the conversation. I like to make notes on the script – checking off questions as I ask them, crossing out the ones that I don’t want to use, and making little notes about questions that I want to ask, but hadn’t scripted (so I don’t forget).

After the Fact

The first thing to do after the interview is over is to thank the person you were talking to. Send them a quick email thanking them for their time, and telling them when the interview will be posted.

Next, you need to get the audio cleaned up – remove long moments of silence, stumbling like “ummm” and “ahhh”, and any other boring sections. The purpose of this isn’t to twist anybody’s words, just to make you both sound smarter and more articulate than you really are. 😉

Once the audio is cleaned up, get it transcribed. There are services that can do this inexpensively (do a Google search for “transcription service”), or you can just post an ad on Craigslist. I’ve had large amounts of transcription work done for as little as $1 per minute of audio.

Finally, assemble it all into a post; write a good hook, add a picture of the person or their logo, insert the audio, and include the transcript at the end. That’s it – the post is ready to go up. When it does, make sure to tell everyone you know about it, for example on Clever Marketer’s Blog Forum, and email the subject again to thank them for doing such a great job for you.

A question for you…

So I’m wondering… now that you have this blueprint, what are you going to do with it? Because as great as this advice is, it doesn’t work if you don’t take action!

Do you have an idea of who you’d just love to interview for your site or blog? Leave a comment and tell me who it is…

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  1. Danny,
    Your interview blueprint was great – very organized and clearly layed out.

    I love listening to interviews with successful people and how they got there. I think it would be a refreshing change to written blogs.

    Thanks Heather for having Danny do a guest post.


  2. Thank you, Connie! I’ve done a handful of them so far, and I’m looking forward to doing more. 🙂

  3. Hi Danny, you know, it sure is nice to know we’re all human and have thoughts such as “why would someone like that let ‘lil’ ol me do an interview.

    I have listened to my share of interviews – where the interviewer started off unknown and went on to interview people such as Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Bob Procter, and so on… and I’ve often… wondered (even recently) how a person builds up to that.

    I have also thought (to myself)… hmm what kinds of “questions would you ask?… you’d have to be pretty organized”…

    I found it uncanny that you wrote this post at a time I’ve thought more about it.

    Thanks so much for your detailed instructions. It was such an inspiring post. One day I’ll let you know I was able to ‘use’ your blueprint!

    Thanks Danny (and Heather)


    • Hey Jayne, the truth is that they build up to it by just asking and trying, and sometimes it goes great, and sometimes there’s room for improvement – but by doing it, we do improve.

      Who would you want to interview? Do you have a top 5 list? Once you send out the invitations and they say yes, the rest is easy, because you put yourself in a position where you have to get all the preparations done! 😉

  4. Never take any interview before and always find difficult as same question(which you mentioned in the article) knocks my head again and again “Why would they like to give me an interview?”

    You’ve really mentioned great advice to work out and prepare for the interviews with big names.

  5. Hi Danny,

    That’s without a doubt the best post I have ever read about how to intereview somebody. Well done and thank you.

    I have to say it’s not something I have done so far but I would find following your blueprint a pleasure.

    You are right, it is a great idea since it leverages someone else’s value to create your own to be shared with your followers.

    I think what stops many from doing this is that they think their request for an interview may be turned down. As you say, how do you know until you ask. In any case most people would jump at the opportunity to speak about themselves.


    • Thank you, Marcus! And yes, you’re right, “most people would jump at the opportunity to speak about themselves” – so why not ask, and create value for everyone! 🙂

  6. Hey Danny,

    What a clear and detailed interview blueprint you’re sharing here.

    It’s all about getting in contact with the industry leaders online or at the live events and interviewing them!

    As you mentioned, Creating and posting such interviews on your blog builds your credibility. Your readers will not only benefit from the content shared but will associate you with those other successful people.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips, Danny.

    All the best,

  7. Hi Danny,

    Thanks for this amazing blueprint. I read your interview with Guy and I was thinking just that – how did you get an interview with him and your answer is so simple – just ask!

    I have been blogging for only 2 months and think this is a great way to learn and have content for the blog. I am going to add this as another thing to try for May. That’s going to be my challenge. To be honest, I am not sure if I have the courage to email a big name yet but like you have said, the worst that can happen is they say no, which isn’t that bad!

    When I have it done, I will for sure be posted it in the Forum! Thanks for such a valuable resource!

    • That’s great, Diana! You should definitely go for it. If you have any questions, or want an example script of questions that you can use, just shoot me an email. 🙂

  8. Danny, aloha. Thx for the clear and actionable steps in this post.

    When people are looking to connect with a “name” person to interview, if the person has just released or is about to release a book, they are even more likely to agree to the interview. That being the case, the topic is fresh and the interviewee will be at their most engaging. This creates a true win-win situation for all involved–interviewee, interviewer and the audience.

    Though I do not have this type of interview planned, I do have some single/double question interviews coming up. The blog posts will be a compilation of 4-6 people answering the same questions. To me, it is always interesting to see the different perspectives and the way they answer the questions.

    Danny, this post will be living on my computer because it is a terrific resource piece. Thx so much for the time and effort that went into creating it.

    Best wishes for a terrific week. Aloha. Janet

    • You’re right, Janet, if they’re in the process of releasing a book or product, then they’re looking for every opportunity to get the word out. 🙂

      You single/double question interview sounds really interesting, too – I’m looking forward to reading it when it goes live!

  9. Hi Danny,

    Holey Moley! You have stirred something in me that I’ve been considering for a while, though never seriously until now. The whole time I was reading your excellent post, I was hearing myself talking with Mike Dillard or Ann Sieg.

    I think I even heard Tony Robbins’ voice in there somewhere.

    This is something I’ll definitely do in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration!


    • Go for it, Greg! Reach out to Mike Dillard, Ann Sieg, and even Tony Robbins. The absolute worst that can happen is they say no (which really just means “not yet”), right? And there’s so much of a potential up-side!

  10. Hi Danny,

    I have no plans on doing any interviews at this time, but when I do, you have laid out a good process to follow. I do recognize the value of doing interviews, but I’m kind of overwhelmed with really basic stuff right now.

    Lou Barba

    • Hey Lou, you’re right to focus on the most important things. Interviews are great, but fundamentally they’re part of a content strategy, that’s all. What basic stuff is keeping you busy?

  11. Great article and I’ll definitely be putting this to use. What do you recommend in terms of the frequency of these types of posts on a personal blog?

  12. That’s a great question, Jason. We’ve been running them every 1-2 weeks, and I think that’s too frequent. We’re trying to slow down the pace, to running one every 2-4 weeks. That’s just based on instinct, and on-the-fly course corrections. If you’ve got data on what is a better schedule, please share it! 🙂

  13. Hi Danny,

    Great post, very easy to follow and you really outlined what we need to do when thinking about doing an interview.

    I have to admit, doing an interview with anyone is very intimidating to me, as I am sure it is to others, especially if you are trying to land a “big name”.

    Your post will really help me when the time comes to do my first interview.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Danny and have a great day!

  14. Danny,

    You’ve done a number of these so you’re writing from a position of experience and authority. I really like how you wrote out some sample scripts here and referenced services for us to check out.

    I’ve emailed you directly for input on interviewing so thanks again for your expertise 🙂


  15. Hi,Danny,
    you made here excellent outlines of the way of how an interview should be done and what are the important points and overview of it. You explained everything from preparing for an interview, researches to be done on one`s history, all the way to the audio cleanup.
    And, as you say, if we do not use it now, it won`t work!
    I appreciate the share and enthusiasm!

  16. Hey Kristina, thank you so much for your kind words. So… who are you going to interview? 🙂

  17. Hmmm, haven’t thought about the taking an interview. I’m also not very involved for now into social media. I’m thinking of combining these – get a nice interview and than try to create buzz all over the place 🙂 Alison

  18. I have never conducted an interview before and I don’t know how to do it formally. Now I can use the tips and information shared on this post on making an interview with someone. Great post and very informational.

  19. Kathrin Highfield says:

    Doing interviews for your blog content is such great idea to get more blog traffic. Thank you so much Danny for the following advices here and I truly learn a lot.


  1. […] an interview. There are lots of reasons why interviews are great for blog content, but right now let’s focus on the simple fact that it’s a lot easier to write a handful of […]