astering the art of writing a good profile or interview-based article can translate into a lucrative skill for freelance writers. Below are the things you need to learn in order to appear professional and produce polished work that magazines will want to publish.
1. Research the Subject
Spend some time researching the subject before the interview. Check out their business website and social media pages – what was the last thing they posted on Tumblr? It doesn’t need to be full on detective work but try to learn a bit about what they are passionate about and what they’ve accomplished. This will give you an idea of what topics to bring up and the interviewee will appreciate that you took the time to learn a bit about them.
2. Record the Interview
If you’re busy scribbling notes you’re not really listening. Instead, bring a recording device, turn it on and forget about it. It’s important to give your subject your full attention. Natural eye contact and unscripted responses will make your subject more comfortable. It will also free your mind so that questions pop up organically. If you absolutely need to, it’s OK to take a pen and paper to write down the correct spelling of proper names, but try to wait to until the end to do this. Whether the interview is fluid or halting will show through in your article so save the writing for later.
3. Quote the Subject
The reader is interested in your writing because they want to know more about the person you are writing about. Engage them by using direct quotes from your interviewee in your article. Your reader will feel more connected to the interviewee and, consequently, to your writing when they are invited into the conversation. In order to create smooth transitions, use phrasing such as “Jack agrees…” or “Ms. Burgundy makes this clear when she…” to move into your subject’s quotes.
4. Review the Transcription
Now that you have your recording, transcribe it. Use the search feature to identify words or phrases that are repeated. Are they part of a broader theme? What did they sound most passionate about? Reread the transcript with a specific eye to subjects that stick out to you. Which items are aligned with the assignment from your editor or, if you pitched this, with your pitch? This is what you will want to focus on in your writing.
5. Write a Story
Everyone gets excited about stories so why are we still writing articles that read like essays? When it makes sense, inject plot, characters and suspense into your writing. Connect your sentences together temporally and thematically. Give your reader space to imagine by using words that invoke their senses. To learn more about story format, read my post on the ABDCE formula for creating a narrative that works 100% of the time.
You’re not done quite yet. Once you’ve written the article, go back and revise, rewrite and repeat – but you didn’t need me to tell you that.