Shooting video interviews with feature guests can either be very powerful content and provide tremendous value to your viewers, or it can be perceived as a lazy way generating content. Let’s avoid the latter! These interview tips will show you how to get the most from the person you’re interviewing so they’re served well, your audience is served well, and your YouTube channel grows as a result.

Perhaps you’re like me, and you have watched a few interviews on YouTube only to quickly abandon them because they ramble on, you’re not quite sure what direction it’s going. You’re not even sure if you’re going to get the value from watching that interview that you really want. Today, I want to give you guys nine ways to make the interviews you do for your channel awesome so that it hooks people, delivers good value, and turns them into a fan both of you and the person you’re interviewing. That’s coming up.

So how do you do good interviews that really serve everybody– you, the person you’re interviewing, your audience– serves everybody well? Well, I have a few things to suggest for you guys.

1 – Do Your Research

Number one, is I recommend you go into it doing your research first. Do your research on that person you’re going to interview.

What’s their story? What’s their background? Where’s their area of expertise? What are they passionate about?

Part of your job as the person doing the interview is to make that person look really good. And so knowing a lot about that person before you go into the interview will help you be able to make that person really shine.

2 – Know Your Story and Tell it

Number two, I recommend you go into the interview already knowing what story you want to tell through that interview. What value do you want to extract? What information do you want to communicate? As opposed to just going into it like here’s a cool person to interview and asking them a whole bunch of random questions. You’re not really sure where it’s going and neither is the interviewee, and, of course, your audience isn’t.

And in your mind, your thinking, OK, well, I’ll just edit this later to make something good out of it. Maybe that will happen. But it’s even better and more predictably will be valuable if you go into it already knowing the story ahead of time and the value that you want to get from that person.

3 – Pitch the Value First

Number three, and this is typical for YouTube videos in general, but always start the video pitching the value to the viewer that they’re going to get by watching it. So open up the video talking to the viewer, saying here’s what we’re going to talk about. This is what we’re going to cover. This is going to help you in this such a way, or whatever the case may be, so that the person knows from the very beginning, the viewer knows, oh, yes, this is what I’m looking for. This is valuable for me.

And when you do that, you are more likely to get more watch time on that video, because that viewer is more likely to stick through longer of that video and watch more and more of it, as opposed to you just getting right into the interview and getting the content, and the person– the viewer– trying to figure out what’s coming? Is this really valuable for me, or whatever.

4 – Introduce with Context

After you’ve introduced that hook in the first 15 seconds, then number four is then you introduce the person that you are interviewing and just give the viewers some context about who they are, what their story is, why they’re credible to talk about this, what your relationship is with this person, what some of their background is. Just set them up to look good.

And what that also does for the person that you’re interviewing, especially if it’s someone who is not used to talking to a camera, that’s awkward for them, that will help them feel more relaxed, help them feel more at ease, because they’re talking about something that’s really easy, and it’s a very personable thing to talk about.

5 – Ask Good Questions

Number five, and this is perhaps the most important, is to ask good questions, right? So if you go into this interview already knowing here’s the main point, here’s the main value I want to extract from this interview as a result of talking with this person, then your job is to craft questions that you feel are designed to make it as easy as possible for that person that you’re interviewing to be able to deliver the value that you’re hoping to get.

Now sometimes, even though you’ve asked good questions, the person still doesn’t quite give the answer you’re looking for, or go the direction you want to go with it, and so in that case, one, feel free to just stop and go back and ask the question again. Maybe prep them a little bit and reshoot it.

Or two, ask more probing questions, like yeah, that’s really good, but what about in this scenario? Or something like– just always try to bring that interview back to the value, the main point of what you’re trying to communicate.

6 – Include Your Audience

Number six, I highly recommend that you include the audience when you do these interviews. I’ve seen too many of someone just standing and talking to someone doing the interview, and then the interview keeps going and then going. And then the person on the camera just feels like they’re a third wheel, or that they’re just eavesdropping on the conversation.

And then it starts to like– instead, when you’re doing your interview, talk to the person you’re interviewing, but also make eye contact with the viewer, and be like, yeah, that’s a good point, and talk to them. And encourage the person you’re interviewing before you even get started to also look at the camera lens and include the viewer so that they feel like the three of you are standing around talking, as opposed to, OK, you stay over there, and we’re going to talk right here.

7 – Pause

Number seven, pause briefly before you ask each question. Why is this important? Well, if you have an editor, just ask him or her why that’s important, and they will tell you. They’ll love you for it.

Or if you edit your own videos, you’ll quickly find out why. It’s very natural in a conversation for people to overlap what one person is saying with the other person a little bit. So while one person is just finishing up maybe their last word or part of the last sentence, the other person starts, yeah, yeah, yeah, and then they get in, and they start talking. That’s really hard to cut.

So if you– like let’s say in your previous question you asked, the person that you’re interviewing talked for a while about that. And then you’re like, OK, that was three times longer than it needed to be. I can just cut that down way back in the beginning and call it good. But if your voices start overlapping when you ask the next question, it’s really hard to get a clean cut and make it sound good. So whenever you’re doing this, remember, pause if you need to, especially between ideas and things, so it’s easier to edit and cut later.

8 – Don’t Talk Over People

Number eight, avoid speaking while the person you’re interviewing is speaking. And by that, I mean like saying a lot of things like uh-uh, yeah, oh. yeah, I see that, oh, yeah, mhm, mmm, just those types of things. You’re not overtalking them, but it’s very easy for you to do that during a natural pause when the person that you’re interviewing takes a break, where you could make a good cut later in the interview. But because your voice is trailing on, it’s harder to do that.

I mean, you can get around this by recording your audio on a separate track as the person that you’re interviewing and having two separate audios and them putting them together in post. That’s one way to get around it. But if you’re just doing a quick, you know, from your phone, or a normal camera, that you’re not having this professional setup, then avoid saying those types of things. And also, it can get distracting, especially if you do it too much. It gets distracting for the viewer.

9 – SMILE :)

Number nine is you should smile frequently. Look like you’re having a good time. Make the person you’re interviewing feel like they’re enjoying talking with me. This is fun. That will help the person you’re interviewing feel way more relaxed. That will help your viewers feel like they’re enjoying watching you more.

It’s just a subconscious thing. No one’s looking at you like, oh, he’s smiling a lot. But maybe, hopefully, if you notice even in this video, I just try to smile when I talk. It makes you feel more at ease. Hopefully, I think I’m smiling right now just to make you feel more comfortable. It just makes everyone enjoy the interview a lot more. And it just has a more positive vibe. So do your best to smile a lot while you’re talking, naturally, of course, not artificially through the whole thing. That’s weird.

I know a lot of you guys have also done interviews on your channel, so I want to hear from you in the comments below. What tips do you have for conducting good video interviews? And if this is something that you’re learning more about, go down there and read what other people are saying.

This community at Video Creators is awesome. You will learn a ton from them. I always do. Every time I go down there, you guys are leaving so many good ideas, I went, oh, I wish I’d put that in my video.

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