New Trend: Twitter Interviews (How to Hold Them)

January 19, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Twitter interviews are kind of the latest big thing. Stemming from the ever popular Twitter chats, a Twitterview is an opportunity to have a discussion with an expert on a public platform where others can take part in the conversation.

This makes it a much richer, more active environment than traditional interviews, and can draw a great deal of attention to a site, project, cause or topic.

But how do you hold a Twitterview? Just follow these simple steps, and your interview will be a sure success.

Step 1 – Track Down Your Expert

Your first obvious step is finding the person you want to interview, right? Chances are, you already have a couple of names in mind. If not, start from your own personal list of respected experts in your industry.

Go to the blogs you read, or the people you most frequently follow. That will give you an understanding of their body of work to draw from when you ask for the interview.

When you write your first pitch, make it very short. People who have gained visibility online tend to be so busy that they only skim pitch emails for a couple of seconds. Yours should have around three to four sentences. Those sentences should include:

  • Who you are, with a link to your site.
  • What you want to do (interview them), and what about.
  • When you want to do the interview, including both date and time.

Once you have an email back from them, you can become more verbose in your replies. Work out the details, in case they want to change the day, time or topic.

Step 2 – Create a Hashtag

Your chosen hashtag for the event will be important. Some people will choose to go with a hashtag they already use, which is fine. But it has to be 1) unique, and 2) branded. Don’t use something general that anyone else is very likely to be posting outside of your interview. Otherwise the discussion will be hard to follow.

If you don’t have a unique and branded hashtag, your best bet is to make something new. It should be:

  • Simple – It should be easy to remember.
  • Short – It should be easy to type in.
  • Related – It should be related to the topic of your blog.
  • Reusable – It should be reusable for Twitterviews and tweetchats in the future.

Step 3 – Begin Promoting Interview/Hashtag

Most people suggest deciding the final schedule for your Twitterview before this point, but I disagree. The sooner you start promoting, the more people you are going to reach, and the more hype you are going to build.

So begin at least mentioning the coming interview, so people are aware of it. Start pushing the hashtag on Twitter, using it when you build this hype. Get people used to the tag, so they recognize it. Maybe get them talking about it, a bit.

Step 4 – Create an Itinerary

Now it is time to decide on how you will hold the interview. Remember that you will be holding it on Twitter, which means you need to provide ample time for others to ask their questions. However, holding a free for all is disorganized.

Instead, put a submission form of some kind on your site, and allow people to give their questions to you. You can include some in your interview, or all of them if you prefer. Just try not to stuff your plan too full. You want to give your interviewee time to think and answer, without feeling rushed.

In the end, your schedule should look something like this:

  • Introduction (May start 5 minutes before the chat)
  • Q1
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
  • Expert/Followers Panel Discussion
  • Conclusion and Thank You

Keep a strict schedule based on your itinerary, allowing a certain block of time for each part. You may want to do a little mental test run, playing both the parts of yourself and your expert (off of Twitter, obviously), so you get a feel for the actual time it will take. If you feel it will run too long, cut down on the panel time, or maybe combine one of the questions.

Step 5 – Have Your Interview

Once everything is set, it’s interview time! It can be helpful to have an actual platform that monitors the hashtag for you, so you don’t have to keep typing it in or watching your search results. It will definitely be helpful for your followers.

Recommended tool: TwChat

Using TwChat allows you to assign Keynote Speakers / Mentors for your Twitter chat, thus giving your featured guests more exposure:

TwChat how-to

Afterthoughts

Not everyone is going to be able to make your Twitterview. But they should still be able to benefit from it! Make a full transcript, or provide a Twitter chatbox embedded in the post. Writing out the transcript is less high tech and trendy, but will be easier to read.

Promote the Twitterview regularly on Twitter for a week or so, linking it with excepts from the discussion. Make sure to personally thank the expert for taking part, and @tag them, as well.

Now that you have one Twitterview under your belt, why not make it a regular thing? You can piggyback pretty far on a single interview, using it to show a connection to an expert. When you pitch to others in the industry, you can now point them to that interview to demonstrate what the experience might be like.

Having a well known name attached to your b log improves your chances of finding others who will let you interview them. It is an invaluable resource, so take advantage of it. Before long, you will have a whole collection of Twitterviews with well known industry experts, and will have built a reputation of your own.