How to write an interview article for a magazine
If someone asked me what is my favorite type of article to read, it would be interview articles for sure. There is just something so personal and engaging to them that tickles my curiosity buds while still providing a fair amount of interesting information. It can be quite challenging to write this type of article, so here are some tips and tricks that will help you in your quest on how to write an interview article for a magazine. And not just any but the perfect one.
Before we get to the practical tips, make sure you have a reliable laptop for writers, since it will save you a lot of trouble down the road. If you are more of a visual learner, there’s a video you can watch at the end of this article. Let’s dive in!
Things to keep in mind when writing an interview article
1. Choose your questions wisely
This is probably one of the most important steps in the process of writing an interview article as it all starts with asking the right questions to the interviewee.
First, you will need to do a lot of research work and collect as much information as you can on the person you are going to interview. You can either read their biography, previous interviews or read about their current projects, interests and the list can go on. This will not only give you a solid background of the interviewee but will also make you aware of what has already been written, so that you can put a spotlight on some interesting and fresh information. No one wants to read the same facts about someone over and over again, this is why it’s best to find new topics to tackle. And speaking about topics, try to choose a focus topic for the interview. That being said, it’s not a rule you need to take literally, but it’s recommended you stick with a main topic so that you’re not all over the place with your questions. Choose an aspect of the interviewees life that is both remarkable and fits the interests of the reader. Or seek a certain topic worth discussing and develop some questions around it. You can always add a few extra questions still related to the main topic, but with a twist, maybe something unexpected that requires a more spontaneous answer to spice things up for the reader.
Tip: Select questions for interview that best fit your approach. Avoid typical interview questions and ask questions that are intriguing. For example, instead of asking, “How did you achieve your success in tennis?” ask, “They call you the ‘next Federer’ … what three qualities do you think you share with the Swiss tennis player?”
2. Structure of the article
Once you have narrowed down the questions you wish to address and have conducted the interview (here you can find a comprehensive guide on how to interview someone for an article), the next step is to actually write the article. Here is where you have endless options and can get your creative juices to flow in terms of how you wish to structure the article. If there isn’t a specific code you need to follow, I would say that these days there isn’t one winning rule. Most writers feel the need to post the picture, questions and answers in a logical sequence. Which is not bad, but then again chances are this makes for a rather boring interview article.
Before anything else, you need to choose the perspective from which you wish to write the article. There are roughly three perspectives you can use:
- Literal: write down the questions, followed by the literal/ only slightly rephrased answers (the classic Q and A);
- Narrative: describe what the interviewee says in third person;
- Hybrid: leave out the questions and combine narrative statements with direct quotes.
You can stick with one of the first two perspectives for the entire article, or you can use the hybrid one depending on the dynamic and tone you want to give to the article.
Also, make sure you have a strong start and ending as these are the pillars of your structure. Choose the most provocative questions and answers to be featured at the beginning and at the end so that this way you keep the interest of the reader from start to finish. Moreover, you can insert some of the main answers as quotes to break the article and make it less boring.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the actual interview might be full of half sentences, unspoken words, or sudden changes of topic. When doing your after-call work reviewing video and notes of your conversation, you’ll inevitably realize something: to make the interview readable, you’ll have to rephrase most sentences. And when it comes to rephrasing, there’s a simple rule of thumb:
Rephrase as much as you like, but don’t change the message.
Nonetheless, try and make it attractive. Starting from the title and ending with the last answer, always keep in mind this: “How can I put things so that it’s appealing for the reader?” Look for the most interesting stuff and reorder the questions of the interview if needed so that you give readers the feeling that they have just read the story of a conversation and not a cold sharp interview. Add suggestive photos, insert quotes and let your emotions guide you. Remember, you’re in complete control at this point!
Tip: Try to give the interview article some sort of narrative or structure, without making it too linear and logical. In the end, just ask yourself if it’s something you’d enjoy reading.
3. Magazine article interview examples to get inspired from
Finding it hard to be creative? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Luckily, if you’re stuck in a rut, there are plenty of magazine interview article examples on the Internet to draw inspiration from. I’ve selected a few of the ones that I have enjoyed reading, and remember, even if you’re probably never going to interview Adele or Brad Pitt, articles like this can plant an idea in your mind or awaken your creative buds. It can be anything from the title, the layout of the interview article, to the questions, the perspective from which it is written and so on.
Serena Williams’ interview for Vogue, as well as Adele’s one for Vanity Fair are some impressive articles that somehow manage to bring these big stars closer to the public by sharing some candid moments and information with the readers. Brad Pitt’s interview for GQ magazine is rather an interesting one since it’s a roller coaster of perspectives, questions, emotions and quite artistic pictures that altogether reveal a different side of the actor.
However, if these interview articles are a bit too much, on our blog you can find some interviews to start with, like this one with Debbie Millman or this one featuring Jacob Cass. You’re really just one click away from a plethora of interview articles.
Tip: Don’t copy other interview articles, but use them rather as an inspiration and add the missing pieces in order to make your own greater. This is especially important when outsourcing interviews to contractors on popular freelance websites, as freelancers usually use standard content templates on many different projects due to ease of use and efficiency.
Writing an interview article can be quite challenging and overwhelming at times, but as long as you keep in mind the above-mentioned tips, you should be on a good path. And remember, there isn’t a one rule applies to all. You can make it as fun or as serious as you want. Just ask yourself at the end if it’s something you’d really enjoy reading.
cool reading! I agree. The most popular articles and most shared are the interview ones by far. Maybe Flipsnack could do a series of Interview articles with relevant people in the industry or most engaged or relevant Flipsnack users. Good job with this article! ;)
Hey, we’re glad you enjoyed the article! That’s a very good suggestion and definitely something we’re planing on doing this year! :)
Thanks for this post. It helped me write my first interview for my blog which received great feedback!
Thank you for your feedback, Angela! Glad to know that it was helpful!:)
It is very helpful. This interview article is very interesting. I enjoyed reading.
Thank you for the feedback! Glad to know you’ve enjoyed it!
This is a great article. Thank you.
Thank you for your kind words!
Very informative article. I’m a novice writer, and I might be landing an article for a local publication on a demo lady at our local grocery store. I got the idea after years of stopping for a sample of cheese, or whatever, and making light conversation. One day, a small boy came up to her and handed a piece of candy, telling her he loved her. She replied, “I love you too, Eli.” She confided in me that one regular customer suffered from severe depression and told Sally that no matter what kind of day she was having, she knew she could come to the store, find Sally with her smile, and feel much better about the day and herself. I want to write about this food sample lady!! Any fun questions I could ask her? Any idea as to how I could direct this interview, focusing on one or two main ideas? Thanks!
Thank you for your kind words, Tonya and for taking the time to share this story with us. First thing that came to my mind after reading this is what Ellen DeGeneres always emphasizes in her show and not only, which is the importance of being kind one to another. I think you can focus your article on the idea that no matter where you are and what job you have (to oneself it might seem an insignificant one) you still have this power to have an impact on other people’s lives. Big or small, one can make a change in this world by practicing kindness on an everyday basis. And Sally is a very good representation of that. Some interesting questions I think you could ask her are Who or what inspires her in her day-to-day life? Or if she has any memory of an unexpected kind gesture she has received from someone? And if so, what impact did that have on her life?
Depending on the tone you want to set for the article, you can ask questions in a more familiar way, such as “I’ve seen you light up the day for many customers that walk into the grocery store. Where do you draw your inspiration from to practice kindness on a regular basis?” These are just a few that came to my mind. Here’s a cool article about kindness, perhaps it helps you. Just trust your instinct and I’m sure you’ll do just fine :)
what up dawg this is a good article.
This is such a well-written article! Love the structure and the way you communicate with the reader. Good tips, will definitely use them.
Thank you, Rhea for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed it!
Someone help me my teacher is making me read this article… HELP!!!
This was a great read! I am struggling with how I can format an interview-magazine- like a story for my school. How should I start it? I have my questions listed, just wondering on how I can start it? Any tips?
Hi Regina! Thank you for your kind feedback. I’d say that once you have all the questions ready, just start writing it. Make a short introduction so that you don’t just dive in directly into the interview and from there on just do whatever feels natural. Don’t overthink! I’m sure it will turn out just great! :)
Do you have sample online interview responses? Meaning, you sent the one being interviewed a list of questions via email.
Hi Sara! We had a series of interviews on our blog and I’ve sent the questions via email to the interviewees and received their answers. You can check the final result and read some of the interviews on our blog. Here is one of them. Hope this helps! :)
This was such a useful article and thank you! I will definitely be referring to it over the next week while I complete my English assignment. Do you have any tips on how I could start my Interview? I have all the content, but I am unsure of what the best way to start it would be. Thank you again for the fantastic article.
Thank you, Holly, for your kind words! Glad you found it useful! Well, it depends on the type of interview. I’d say you could start by making a short introduction about the person you’re interviewing/ the topic (if there is a certain one). And from there on just go ahead and ask the questions. I’m sure you’ll do a great job! Best of luck! :)
Hi Diana, Thank you for this post. I will be starting a new section on my blog where I will interview Women in Business. I plan to write the articles interview style so this has been very helpful. I plan to write it Literal style.
Thank you again Raheela
Hi Raheela! I’m glad you found it useful. Thank you for your kind feedback and good luck with your new interviews section!
Hey! Thank you so much for the article. I am using it in class with my students :)
thank you, it gonna help me for my exam