Question of the Week: How to get people to interview?

Question of the Week: How to get people to interview?


Getting people to interview doesn’t mean that the tough work is in finding them. It’s in getting them to say ‘yes’.

One question I have been asked recently is how do you get people to interview?

Before I answer this, let me tell you some of the people I’ve interviewed in my time.

I’ve interviewed Rob Halford, the almighty vocalist of classic band Judas Priest; the founder of Wacken festival, which is the world’s largest heavy metal festival; major producers and engineers like Fredrik Nordstrom; and super famous (in Europe) women like Angela Gossow. I’ve interviewed people who are totally unknown, and people that you’ve probably read, like Mike Michalowicz (who wrote books like Profit First and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur).

Of these, some were arranged for me (Halford); some I pitched and won myself (Wacken and Nordstrom); some I am fans or friends of (Michalowicz); some because it was just my job.

I know how to unearth people to interview, how to get people to do the work to connect me (while thinking it’s their idea), and how to make interviews a raging success.

There are typically two reasons why you will want to interview people:

1. For content you’re producing (podcasts, webinars, features).

2. Case studies.

The good news is that there is no shortage of people to interview. Everybody has a story of some kind, and if you’re a skillful interviewer, you’ll be able to find it.

So, getting people is not the challenge.

The bad news is that the challenge is getting people to say yes to an interview.

When it comes to getting interviewees to say yes, the question that you need to answer is, WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). If you can’t answer that question, do some some brainstorming. Think of all of the possible reasons it would be good for them.

If you’re looking for a case study subject, there are loads of reasons why it’s good for them:

  • Publicity somewhere else
  • Links back to their own website (if it’s digital)
  • New copy for them to use to say how awesome they are (or brag about their coverage)
  • Opportunity to really tell their own story and think about aspects of their businesses they don’t often consider
  • Opportunity to share their opinions and advice in a safe space, without judgement.

If you’re looking for a subject for a podcast interview, the critical things — besides the WIIFM — is being specific. Tell them everything, such as:

  • What it’s for
  • Where it will appear
  • How long the interview will take
  • How it’ll be handled
  • What date it’ll go live
  • How many subscribers you’ve got
  • etc.

There are many, many more points of specificity, but you’re a smart cookie. You’ll work it out once you get started.

Telling people as much as you can is just courtesy. When you do this, it indicates respect: Respect for their time, effort, and knowledge.

Your Emotional Intelligence Radar is your Persuasion Weapon. If you’re able to predict emotional responses ahead of time, you can prevent anything that will throw a negative outcome.

It sounds absurdly simple.

Because it is.

To get content and publishing tips just like this one, but every day and direct to your inbox, sign up at:


Leticia Mooney

The Brutal Pixie is Leticia Mooney. Race: Eladrin, Class: Publisher. --- Leticia is Australia's foremost authority on publishing in a business context. She ghostwrites for, and advises, entrepreneurial individuals in the professional services.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.