Writing an interview isn’t a difficult task as some may think. As long as you plan, research and structure your work effectively, you will be able to produce a smashing copy of work. Knowing how to write an interview is a crucial skill to have, especially if you want to be a journalist or a freelance writer. This article details the most important elements you need to write the perfect interview.
7 Helpful Tips on How to Write an Interview
Preparation is very important and is the key step for how to write an interview. Ways you can prepare is by writing down a list of questions specifically tailored to your interviewee and make sure that they are well researched and planned, as there is a chance that you may not get to interview that person again. Preparation ensures that you have all the materials you need to conduct a successful interview.
In interviews, three different types of questions are commonly used. The first type being typically bland and is usually asked to reveal the basic information of the interviewee. So they are questions like ‘what school did you go to?’, ‘what do you do?’ and ‘where do you live?’
The second type of question is referred to as an open-ended question and the purpose of them is to get meaty information and a detailed answer from the interviewee. Open-ended questions are usually more exciting than the ones that restrict the interviewee to only answering yes or no.
The third type of questions are the questions you ‘never ask’ as they can be extremely personal, rude or sensitive. These questions give very meaty answers but can also cause offence so you may even be required to check with your interviewee beforehand whether asking those types if questions are okay.
So you should decide the best question for your articles choosing from the three types of questions listed above.
Choose a perspective
Most interviews are written from a perspective. There are three commonly used perspectives that you can write your interview form. You can write it as a narrative, hybrid or literal perspective. What do you want your interview to be about? What message do you want to convey? What image of the interviewee are you trying to project? Choosing a perspective will make it a lot easier to write an interview. Literal is when the interview is being written down exactly how it was answered with slight use of rephrasing. Hybrid is when you leave out questions and link narrative statements with direct quotes. A narrative is when the interviewer describes what the interviewee says in third person.
Plan an outline of the essay
Planning the outline of your essay is highly essential. Determine what kind of essay you want to write before you dive in, as this will make your work more structured. If your essay is to be an opinion piece, you’ll want to interview someone who has a strong opinion on your essay topic. If your opinion is going to be factual, then you’re better off interviewing an expert and if your piece has a narrow perspective then you may only need to interview one or two people.
Writing the article
Here we come to the core of how to write an interview. Knowing how to compose an article based on all the preparation and research you’ve been doing can be easy.
Your article should essentially contain basic information in the first paragraph about who the person is, where they live and why they are being interviewed. Also leave an opportunity for a paragraph at the end for the quotes from the interviewee which are normal and essential but not as exciting, as you can place those ones at the very top. You have the freedom to change the questions and answers around but a form of ill-practice to change the response or implications. It is never okay to edit or remove the response from its context. To avoid misquoting your interviewee, you can record the interview so you can refer back to it if need be.
Proofread and revise your work
All written work should be proofread and double-checked for accuracy. Reading over your essay several times is a great way to proof read but it is even better to get a second pair of eyes because they will be more likely to catch the errors and unnecessary repetitions that you have overlooked.
Go back to your notes to make sure that your article reflects your chosen angle and you haven’t gone off tangent. You may also want to let the interviewee read the article too, just to make sure that it reflects them as much as possible.
An interview without a picture is not emotive enough. Photographs at a touch of personality to interviews and helps the audience put a face to the words and messages of the interviewee. Adding a face to an interview characterizes things and gives it life. Depending on what type of interview it is, you will need to use a picture of the person that reflects the message and angle of the article.
Stay away from the norm when using pictures and keep things exciting by using unusual or provocative pictures.