An Interview with Dan Schawbel – Author of Me 2.0

I was fortunate enough to have international best selling author and personal branding expert, Dan Schawbel, write the forward for my book that’s coming out next month, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing.  The second edition of Dan’s incredibly popular book, Me 2.0, comes out this week.  You can read his bio at the end of this post which demonstrates just how well Dan knows what he’s talking about! I spent a few minutes with him discussing how freelance writers can build their own personal brands in order to build their businesses.  Dan’s insightful answers to my questions are included below.  Be [Read more…]

The Power of ” ”
Picture 3

“I didn’t say that.” “My words were taken out of context.” Two phrases no writer, nor their editor, want to hear. Quoting sources is not as easy as people make it out to be. There are rules to quotes and too often those rules are ignored. ” ” Means Exactly Said First big point. When you put a person’s words in ” ” you are telling the reader that the words within the quotation marks are written exactly the way the person said them. Word for word. No fudging. If you miss words or add words you are then changing [Read more…]

Score! Landed a High Profile Source…

Your query – perfection – and you got the gig. Your email to the leading big wig on the subject – golden – he/she said yes. Your reaction – PANIC! Deep down, you never really thought Professor Large Brain would glance at your email or return your call. You were perfectly happy with Professor Adequate Brain who you knew would jump at the chance to chime in our your piece. Now you have all that brain to yourself for at least an hour. Now what? High Five Yourself. Let’s get it out the way now, go ahead and look at [Read more…]

Don't Forget About the Old School: In-person interviews

The Internet is an awesome piece of technology. The phone was a world changing invention, but person-to-person contact is still king. We humans are community-oriented beings. We desire to connect with others on a regular basis. We writers have become comfortable interviewing sources through all the different electronic means and this has opened up a world of possibilities for freelancers to contact sources from around the world without ever having to leave their home or put a note on their expense account. With these advances in technology, we have begun to move away from the best interviewing style imaginable – [Read more…]

Don’t Forget the Old-School: Pen & Paper Interviews

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about some oldie, but goodie elements of article writing that are still important for writers. It’s easy to dismiss some tried and true techniques because of all the fancy, technological whiz-bangs available to writers, but when technology fails – and it will from time to time – it’s good to have something to pull out of your coonskin cap. Do I sound 100 years old yet? Good. Pen and paper interviews. Important. Reliable. Still in use even after the invention of the iPhone. Why? Because technology doesn’t have your best [Read more…]

Interviewing Sources – Looking the Part

Deb had an interesting post this week: “Appearances Count Even When You Freelance” that had me chuckling and also got me thinking about how writers can shut down their sources simply by walking through the door. Freelancers often brag they get work in their pajamas and while that’s technically true, no one should interview sources in them – at least not in person. When I conduct an in-person interview with a source I pay careful attention to my attire and match my clothing into the message I want to convey. Of course, a writer wants to be viewed as professional, [Read more…]

Email Interviews vs Phone Interviews Part 2

The other day we talked about the pros and cons of an email interview :”Email Interviews vs Phone Interviews.” Many of the issues that apply to email interviews also apply to phone interviews. The main thing is to consider which interview is going to give you the best outcome for your article. Phone Interview Pros Quick and convenient. Like its electronic counterpart, phone interviews are easy on both parties. All you need is a phone line and an agreed upon call time and you’re set. No need for anyone to dress up or travel. Personality shines through. It can be [Read more…]

Email Interviews vs Phone Interviews

Interviews are an integral part of article writing. An article won’t survive the sniff test if it doesn’t have a few quotes and information provided by an outside source. I’m still a firm believer that the best interview is the face-to-face interview. Sharing the same space with your source, seeing facial expressions, hand gestures, etc. is priceless, but most writers can’t travel around the world to interview sources so phone and emails help get the job done. There is a big difference between the two and writers should be aware of the pros and cons of both when setting up [Read more…]

How to Lose Control of an Interview

The concept of a media interview is simple. One person asks the questions, the other person answers them. In today’s media, with handlers, PR people and media savvy (and weary) interview subjects, interviews can get a bit more difficult to manage and if you’re not careful it can get away from you. Who’s asking the questions here? If you find yourself talking more than listening – you are in trouble. It’s okay for an interviewee to be interested in your background or publication, but honestly your life story is not that interesting. It’s a distraction to the reason why you’re [Read more…]

The Art of a Yes/No Question in Interviews

Most of the time when you’re interviewing a source you don’t want to ask yes or no questions. Nothing kills a interview faster than a transcript full of ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘I don’t know’s.’ There are times, however, when a yes/no question is both useful and necessary. The key is the follow up. Often a good interview subject will answer the question and then elaborate on why they feel that way. If they don’t it’s up to you to ask them to give more detail. How you do it is important. For example, say you’re interviewing a politician who has [Read more…]

Seducing a Reluctant Source

Scoring an interview with a source is often a practice in the art of seduction. When you see the perfect source – knowledgeable, great credentials and possibly a star in whatever world your article focuses on, your heart skips a beat. You rejoice in finding ‘the one’, but at the same time you worry that you won’t have what it takes to woo your prey. Your source may be reluctant or even hostile to your advances. They may have a reputation for being a tough interview, a tough ‘get,’ or media shy. A writer has to figure out how to [Read more…]

In Interviews, Reputation Matters

By Terreece M. Clarke Hot on the blog today is Deb’s post on “Eight Reasons Why You’re Not Getting The High Paying Freelance” Jobs of which #5 is about your reputation and James Chartrand’s “Are You Creating Your Own Bad Reputation?” So I thought I’d round it out with how your reputation matters in interviews. Imagine the worst interview you’ve given. You were late, you hadn’t really researched the person or subject, you fumbled around for a pen, you asked pretty lame questions and followed it up with injecting personal info into the conversation. Scary huh? Now imagine the interview [Read more…]

Content Freelance Writing Gigs
FWJ is read by many thousand readers every day. We offer a free weekly newsletter with all the top stories - come join the community!