Part of your brief as Marketing Manager will be to arrange for video interviews of your best clients, and the key players in your company.
Here’s how to make sure your interviewees are up to the standard you set
– and don’t come out looking weak and sounding thin
– as so many do, in spite of being “professionally produced” by a bona fide video company.
How to start
The best way to start preparing for interview videoes is to assume your interviews are going to do badly on camera, and will stutter, look anxious, and be prone to rambling.
The worst thing to assume is “our directors are very good speakers. I’m sure they’ll do fine.”
Assume the worst – then play to win is my advice.
Here are my insider tips to get the best out of your interviewees.
Preparing the Questionnaire
The interview will only be as good as the questions asked.
So plan your questions in advance.
All questions should be short
– so answering them will be simple.
By contrast, long prescriptive questions tend to produce uncertain, narrow answers that make the interviewee feel they’ve got to say “the right thing”.
If a question can’t be made easy, then possibly think twice about asking it.
The I think – I feel Syndrome
People are very different.
Some operate at the level of feeling, while some are absolutely intellectual thinkers. And some are a bit of both.
This affects how they might respond to your interview questions.
Never script the interview
This is the worst mistake. Scripted interviews always look false.
Don’t even let the interviewee “practice their lines” to you.
Save it for the natural outpouring that will come from a good interview – while the camera is
The tip is to ask each question as either:
“How do you feel about such and such?”
“What do you think about such and such?”
Some people like to keep their feelings a secret, but don’t mind giving an opinion and saying what they think.
Other people like being asked how they feel about something – but don’t care to be asked what they think.
ie, some people are “feelers” and some are “thinkers”.
So when the interviewee stumbles over a question “What do you think of …?”
– ask it again as “How do you feel about ….?”
They’ll probably respond much better.
Looking after the Interviewee
Good video interviews can be gold dust for a company
– so it pays to look after your interviewees, and not take them for granted.
Interviewees need looking after before, during and after the interview filming.
Before the shoot
Send them the Questionnaire and your Guidance Notes for Interviewees doc. This will make them feel comfortable and look forward to the shoot. Many interviewees are secretly frightened of being on camera, so the Questionnaire and Guidance Notes will help them prepare and build confidence.
During the shoot
Treat all interviewees like royalty. Greet them, have refreshments ready, make a fuss of them so they can see how much you value them, and have someone on hand to keep them company if they have to wait while the film crew sets up, or finish their previous interview. This includes workforce interviews – not just interviews with top clients.
After the shoot
You may have to send the interviewee a copy of the video to approve before you release it. Clients will certainly expect this.
During the shoot
During the interview filming, you’ll find that some of the earlier questions may have been answered weakly.
Often it’s not until 1 or 2 questions have been asked that the interviewee starts responding more naturally, getting into the flow.
So when you get to the end of all the questions, ask the first couple of questions again.
You’ll get better, more confident replies.
Getting the B Roll right
Once the interview is over, don’t let them go.
You’ll still need B Roll footage.
B Roll footage is short clips of the interviewee in action – not speaking to camera.
For example they could be seen:
> discussing with a colleague
> checking their phone for email
> talking on the phone
> walking through an office or site with a colleague
> even getting out of their car.
These extra B Roll shots will add character and flair to your interviewee
– and can be later dubbed over while they’re talking.
As a rule, the rule is:
> 6 B Roll clips per short interview
> 12 clips per longer interview.
Get the B Roll right, and it’ll transform a dullish interview into a much more engaging one.
Ensure your video company are expert in cosmeticising interviews
ie, making people look younger and brighter, whiter teeth, cheerier complexion, more sparkly.
Ask for visual proof of this. Don’t assume.
Interviewees love the idea that you’ll “take 10 years off them”, so make sure your video company can deliver on this.
This counts double with senior execs.
Here are a selection of professional interviews where each subject has been cosmeticised
Don’t assume your video company or film crew will necessarily get it right.
The above checklist is to put you – the Marketing Manager – in the driving seat
– and feel empowered to intervene, on a knowledgable basis, so your interviews will shine in camera.
Follow the above simple rules, and your interviewees will look & sound great.