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Tips to get the magazine interview you want

When you need to interview someone for a print or online magazine, getting the information you need out of your subject can be tricky- if not downright impossible. Here’s my no-fail tip to get the magazine interview you want, every time:

“John, I understand that your role in the junk bond scandal was pivotal to many of the high profile arrests in the late 80’s. I’d like to ask you some questions about that time period.

But first, why don’t you just tell me what happened in your own words. I think that will answer a lot of my questions. And then if I need more information, I’ll follow up with questions after you’re done talking.”

Then, I take notes like mad the whole time they're talking. If I’m interviewing them in person, I assure the subject that they shouldn’t worry about my frenetic writing; I’ll only use pertinent information in the print or online magazine. If we’re on the phone, I’ll turn on the speaker and just keep writing.

Usually, when you give people the opportunity to speak, they’ll talk. And talk and talk and talk. And when I’m interviewing a subject for a magazine article, I already know what I want to write about. A simple outline is all you need to stay on track and to prevent cumbersome follow-up calls. So if they’re light on details, you can go back and ask them topic-specific questions, to lead them in the right direction.

It’s a simple way to approach getting the magazine interview you want- and it works.


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