As should be well aware of by now, there are a cornucopia of templates that your articles can follow. These templates are the commonplace article forms that people are used to reading, and knowing what they are can actually help you write your articles more swiftly. So far, I’ve talked about “The Top List,” “The How To,” “The Round Up” and “The Review.” Today, I’ll discuss The Interview.
It is an interesting thing to note that you don’t necessarily need to be the one providing the content in order to be seen as an expert. Many well respected go-to folks gained their status by interviewing others and presenting that information in a way that was accessible.
That’s what talk show hosts do. That’s what reporters do. And you can use this technique, too, to establish yourself in your desired niche.
First, you need to find someone who is an expert in your chosen topic. Now, this expert can know the same stuff you do or more, it doesn’t matter. What matters is this expert is already established as an expert in the niche.
Then, you come up with questions to ask this expert and interview him or her. You can do this via email, over the phone (recorded or not) or in person.
Once you have the interview complete, it is time to write your article.
The easiest way to do this is to use the Q&A format. Now, I need to preface this with a caveat … many people believe that the Q&A format is easy because it looks that way on the surface. But there is an art to writing a Q&A that is readable. You need to edit the flow so that it not only follows a logical structure (something that may have been missing in the actual interview), and so that both you and your interviewed expert look good.
The Q&A format follows this simple structure:
- Short introductory paragraph.
- Question from interviewer.
- Answer from expert.
- Repeat for as many questions as you care to include.
- End with a short summary conclusion.
Another way to write up an interview article is to write it like you would any other article, but fill it with quotes from the interviewed expert. This template may seem more difficult on the surface, but when all is said and done, I’ve always found this to result in a more natural read. In fact, most of my interview articles have been in this format. If you’d like to see some examples, take a look at these interview articles I’ve written:
- Pioneering Researcher Reflects on the Past and Looks to the Future
- Of “Monster” Genes and Sane Scientists
- Training Fish Like Pavlov’s Dogs
One last note … another interview format is a combination of The Interview and The Round Up. This interview article usually follows the Q&A format, but where the answers are, more than one expert provides their response. In fact, I’m currently working on a book that uses this technique.