Over the course of my career in marketing communications, I’ve conducted many interviews with clients, their employees, key stakeholders and target audience members across Greater Cincinnati, including backgrounding sessions, media training and prep and as part of comprehensive communications audits—where we take a deep dive into our client’s industry to gain valuable insight so they can achieve their business goals.
Often, thanks to modern technology and sometimes due to budget and/or for the sake of time, many of these interviews were conducted over the phone. However, I recently had the opportunity to sit down in person to interview two client contacts and I was reminded of a few things that made this last experience even better:
- Video may have killed the radio star but it was still welcome at our session. In addition to taking detailed notes, we also decided to videotape the interviews in case we ever had to go back and reference anything and/or use short video clips in social media posts as necessary.
- Always be prepared. To get the most out of interviews, it is great to be able to draft and share questions ahead of time if possible. This gives the person(s) you are interviewing a chance to really think through the questions and content matter so they are better prepared to answer.
- But…you also don’t need to go overboard with formalities, either. By keeping the interviews conversational (as appropriate) you will sometimes glean insight that may not otherwise have come up. So, stay on course as much as possible in order to be good stewards of the client’s time and money, but don’t be afraid to follow some tangents that may add to the interview in unexpected ways. For instance, one of our client contacts shared that he wanted to become a forester before changing direction and going into his chosen field (that has nothing to do with the great outdoors) but this interesting tidbit definitely made the interview, and him, memorable!