Today’s marketing strategies are increasingly built on a foundation of great content. But anyone who contributes to a blog or has committed to a weekly podcast knows that producing a steady stream of high-quality content can be quite a challenge. At some point, you run out of ideas. What’s a content creator to do?
Find others who have good ideas that you can share and ask them great questions, says master interviewer Susan Bratton. Bratton is the host of popular podcast DishyMix and the creator of dozens of instructional products including “Masterful Interviews” and “Talk Show Tips.” Here are her five top question-asking tips:
- Stay focused. For best results, keep the conversation focused on the person you’re interviewing. Resist the impulse to do too much sharing about your experiences even if they are relevant—as interrupting the flow could cause them to withdraw, or worse, clam up.
- Go with the flow. Alternate between skimming across topics and diving deeper into a particular idea. Have a wide range of questions at the ready, so that you can easily switch channels based on the flow of the interview. This will keep the session feeling conversational.
- Get personal. Answering a few personal questions will help your guest warm to the interview experience and make them more interesting to your audience.
- Ask “dumb” questions. Your audience will thank you, especially if the topic is complex. Bonus: You will give your guest a chance to look really smart!
- Prepare properly. Email each guest a list questions to answer before the interview so that by the time you get them on the line to record the podcast you already have a very good idea of what they know—and what would be interesting to your audience. Do a Google search on the person’s name, and look at their LinkedIn profile and blog posts, etc. to get a feel for who they are. Susan emphasizes: The more prepared you are, the better responses you will get from your guest.
In addition to helping you create great content, Bratton says the biggest perk of asking good questions is that it provides the privilege of talking to new, interesting people all the time, and with that, the opportunity to expand your network of contacts and influencers, quickly and efficiently.