interviewing tips

Podcast: How Interviews Can Help to Create Human Interest Stories

Emma Baxter 5 years ago

How to conduct an effective interview

Are you struggling with how to approach an interview when creating content for your brand? If you don’t know where to start, we’ve put together this new Zazzle Media podcast helping with tips on how to conduct an effective interview to support your content creation efforts.

What’s important to consider when writing impactful content is just how effective journalistic principles can be to enhance what you craft.

With the help of Zazzle’s very own expert journalists Andrew Brookes, Julia Ogden and Hans Seeberg, we recorded this podcast, chock full of interview tips and tricks!

Listen here...

Prior to the recording, I interviewed ITV’s Sacha Shipway along with former Eastern Daily Press journalist and now marketing manager Gavin Caney to discover what they see as the most important aspects of an interview. From their responses we established the five main tips for conducting an interview.

Five tips to conduct an effective interview


Sacha Shipway explained: “It's important to be prepared when you're interviewing someone, do your research on them. Not only will it make you feel more confident going into it, but it's better to have too much information than too little.”

And Gavin Caney said: “Be prepared and do your research. It makes you look professional, shows you care and creates more trust.”

2. Listen

As Gavin Caney said: “Let your interviewee talk and just listen - you never know when they’re going to provide a piece of gold.”

In a separate point, he also explained: “Don’t be afraid to go off course of your plan/prepared questions as it could take you down an excellent route.”

In addition, Gavin made the point that: “While you may have a goal/angle in mind, make sure you always ask open questions or invite discussion to create honest and lengthy feedback which may take your story in a different, and perhaps better, angle.”

Sacha Shipway agreed and said: “It's also important to pay attention to what they're saying - you might have a plan for how an interview will go but if someone says something ground-breaking, you may want to focus on that in your next question rather than jumping to whatever was planned.”

3. Make the interviewee feel comfortable

On this, Gavin explained that you should: “Make the interviewee feel comfortable and that you’re interested in everything they have to say. It takes time for someone to open up and start giving their best answers.”

4. Clarify

Sacha Shipway shared that you shouldn’t finish the interview without gaining clarification on anything you feel unsure on. She said: “If you don't understand what someone is saying, make sure you clarify - otherwise how can you disseminate the information to others if you don't get it.”

5. Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper

This point comes from Sacha Shipway, but it’s something all good journalists should have as part of their makeup. The need to find that all-important, headline-grabbing piece of information.

Sacha said “Don't be afraid to ask the difficult questions or dig a little deeper.”

During the course of the podcast, Emma, Andrew, Julia and Hans discuss all five points to explain why each helps to create impactful content for your brand.

Follow our Soundcloud or Spotify for more marketing podcasts from Zazzle Media.

Key take-aways for your best interview yet

  1. Arrive promptly, dress appropriately, prepare properly
  2. Break the ice with simple but personal question to begin
  3. Refer to your notes, but not too much
  4. Short, open questions are often the best ones
  5. Conduct the interview as a conversation
  6. Listen out for any gaps and don’t be afraid to return to elaborate
  7. ‘Why’ is often the most important question
  8. Ask difficult questions, but do it in the correct way.
  9. Sign off with a ‘biggie’
  10. Thank the subject for their time
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