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How to Do an E-mail Interview in 9 Easy Steps

Need a fresh idea for your e-zine content? Do an interview!

One of the many benefits of being an e-zine publisher is that you'll have no trouble finding experts who will take a few minutes to talk with you. People love free publicity and are generally delighted to get in front of your readers.

But don't assume doing an interview requires an in-person meeting or even a phone date. While those are great, you can also just do an e-mail interview. Once you learn how to do these and realize how easy they are, you'll do them all the time.

Here's what to do:

  • Choose a topic your readers would like to learn more about and that relates to your area of interest.

  • Identify an appropriate expert to interview on the topic.

  • Make your first connection via e-mail or phone. (If your expert is a very busy one, you'll do best to make your initial contact by phone. Be sure to introduce yourself as "publisher of __________ e-zine" to get her attention.

  • If your first connection is via e-mail, here's an example of what you can use:

    Dear Fran:

    My name's Steven Tyler, and I publish the biweekly e-zine "Senior Biz Success." We feature articles and information on small business success for older folks.

    In November we're going to be publishing an issue on success tactics that are particular to seniors, and I'd love to do a short interview with you. The article would feature your contact information to be seen by our 5,500+ subscribers.

    I have five targeted questions that I can send you via e-mail. I'd need your answers back within one week. Then I'd send the edit back to you for a final approval, which I would need within three days.

    Are you game? I'd be honored to interview you, and I'm sure my readers would love to know about your Web site and services. I hope to hear back from you soon. : )

    (NOTE: You can also use the above example as a template for a script if you use the phone instead.)

  • Once the prospect says "yes," construct three to five questions for her to answer. Remember to ask these questions from your readers' point of view. List them in an e-mail and send them to your expert.

  • When you get the answers back, you'll probably need to make some edits to suit your particular readership.

  • Follow up via e-mail or phone if you need to clear up any points. If for any reason your expert's answers weren't on target, rephrase your questions to get the info you need. Also, don't feel obliged to include every bit of information your interviewee provides. You're the editor, so YOU decide what stays and what goes. Keep it focused -- that's your job.

  • Now, assemble your questions and her answers in a neatly organized Q&A format. Insert a brief introduction that tells your readers why this person is qualified to answer your questions as an expert. Then add her contact info at the end.

    Example: Fran Farndale is author of Super Business Tactics for Folks Over 50. Learn more about her book and consulting services at www.superbiztacticsover50.com or write her at fran@superbiztacticsover50.com.

  • Get approval from your expert on the final version before you publish it.

    Not only do interviews give you valuable content to pass on to your readers, but they can also lead to valuable relationships for YOU. Now your interviewee knows who YOU are, and that can possibly lead to referrals or joint ventures in the future.

    So stop right now and write down three experts in your industry whose brains you'd love to pick, and get rolling!
  • (c) 2003 Alexandria K. Brown


    Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine." To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at http://EzineQueenTutorial.com/

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