Here’s my most successful method of landing interviews and quotable expert responses, boiled down to 5 simple steps…

5 proven steps for consistent interview results1.  Keep your request short and to the point.   (The subject really isn’t interested in your life history… or how much you loved their latest book.)

2.  Ask more than one expert.  Don’t pin your hopes on just one authority figure you’d like to quote – ask at least three.  That way, if you only get one “yes”, you’ve still got great, quotable material.

3.  Always include these 5 details in your request:

  • Who you are: (“I am a freelance writer specializing in equestrian articles…”)
  • What type of vehicle your request is for: (E.G.: “I’m writing an article entitled “Natural Horsemanship: Hoax or Holy Grail” that I hope to sell to Horse Sport magazine”) – Be honest and up front about this if you’re writing on spec.
  • Why you think they’re the ideal choice to answer your question. (“I know you’ve long been a proponent of the Tellington-Jones method and your insights on the equine parasympathetic nervous system are well known…”)
  • What sort of interview you have in mind: (“I’d like to arrange a 15-minute telephone interview focusing on your method of natural horsemanship…” or “I would love to quote your answer to one specific question about natural horsemanship…”)
  • Your actual question or main focus for the interview: (“I would appreciate it if you could comment on why you stated you don’t endorse the Parelli method at your clinic in Newmarket, last Friday…”)

End it simply “Thanking you for considering my request”…

And one more obvious but crucial point…

4.  Remember to include your contact details! The fuller, the better:  Someone who doesn’t have time to respond in print might just pick up the phone and call you on the spot.  (TIP:  Highly proactive, wealthy or A-Type personalities are particularly prone to doing just that, so never leave out your telephone number, assuming they won’t!)

If a potential interview subject doesn’t respond, don’t assume they hate your guts.  They may simply not have received your request, or an assistant may have not gotten around to the pile of email in your expert’s inbox, or they may be out of town or 110% engrossed in preparing for an important event.  (Good research on your subject before asking can help prevent this latter scenario).

Finally – and this is what will get you repeat interviews, every time…

5.  Make sure you follow up!

If a potential interview subject responds, send a prompt “thank you” letter.  If their response is to make arrangements for an interview, send another thank you letter when the interview has concluded.

One extra that’s especially important if your expert is an online personality, such as an internet marketer:  Do get to know your potential subjects well ahead of time.  Friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, comment on their posts if you have something valuable to say, let them see your profile photo attached to your name.

On Saturday I’ll be back with 7 juicy tips on how to make sure your interviews produce golden nuggets.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about interviewing that you’d like tackled in this series, be sure to leave me a comment.

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Filed under: Sales Copywriting