Mastering Interviewing Techniques: Crafting Compelling Digital Marketing Video Content

The process of turning raw interview footage into a polished, cohesive video can be an intricate dance of question framing, listening, and creative editing. As we embark on the post-production phase and begin to review footage, we often wish we'd have posed questions differently during the interview to get the kinds of answers that make for the most engaging content and make the material easier to edit. By that point, it's way too late for a re-take and we ultimately have to work with what we've got. In this blog, we discuss the art of effective interviewing techniques during the production phase for digital marketing videos, uncovering nine strategies to capture usable and impactful answers. By mastering these techniques, you'll not only make your life easier in the editing room, but you'll ensure that you have more than enough amazing content for your project.

1. Framing Questions with Precision: The Art of Self-Contained Answers

The challenge while interviewing subjects on-camera often lies in extracting information that is self-contained and framed in a way that fits seamlessly into your video's narrative. While asking subjects to frame the question in the answer seems logical, it can sometimes backfire when the editing process reveals the need for a different approach. For instance, asking, "If you had to give advice on storytelling, what would it be?" might lead to an answer like, “If I had to give advice on storytelling, it would be…” Often, a response like this doesn’t sound natural and needs to be rephrased.

2. The Power of Interview Stems: Guiding Responses

An effective technique to consider is providing interview stems to the interviewee. Offering an introductory phrase that guides the subject's response often leads them to deliver a concise answer. Starting the subject off with a specific format also allows you to control the framing of the answer while ensuring their thoughts remain authentic. For example, you might instruct them to start their response, "To tell a story, you have to..."

3. Listening and Adjusting: Crafting Context and Clarity

Listening attentively during the interview is key to identifying moments when answers need context or further framing. If a subject jumps into an answer too quickly, consider prompting them to pause before responding. This allows them to collect their thoughts and ensures that their answer aligns with your intended framing rather than giving answers which won't be usable in the cutting room.

4. Encouraging Concise and Reflective Responses

To ensure usable answers, work with your subjects to speak in shorter sentences with complete, self-contained thoughts. Encourage them to elaborate when needed, providing context and depth to their responses. This approach allows for a more streamlined editing process and ensures that the final product resonates with viewers. It's a tough call to cut someone off mid-sentence, but if time is limited and the interviewee is rambling off-topic, it's ok to pause the response to regroup and get the interview back on track.

5. Depth Over Breadth: Going Beyond Surface Questions

Asking deep, thought-provoking questions rather than a barrage of surface-level inquiries often yields more compelling responses. A subject's stride and moments of profound insight emerge when they have the time to reflect on a topic and share nuanced thoughts. Investing time in a few in-depth topics often yields richer content than skimming the surface of many.

6. Allowing Space for Reflection: Managing Nervousness

Let's face it, you're probably not interviewing a famous celebrity who is used to being in front of a camera. If your interviewee is new to being on a set and around a bunch of lights, cameras, and people, it may very well take them a few minutes to begin to be comfortable with the process. Nervous subjects might be prone to jump into answering questions hastily. To counter this, consider a technique where you ask a question but instruct them not to answer immediately. Give them a few moments to gather their thoughts before responding. This approach often leads to more composed and well-framed answers.

7. Crafting Answers for Edit-Friendliness: Regiving Responses

During the interview, consider asking subjects to regive an answer in two sentences. This practice not only ensures concise and edit-friendly responses by giving you multiple takes to choose from, but it also helps you envision how those answers will fit into the final video.

8. Anticipating the Edit: Thinking Ahead

As you conduct interviews, keep the final edit in mind. Consider how the responses will fit together and shape the narrative. Ponder the sequencing of answers and the transitions between subjects to ensure a smooth flow and coherent storyline.

8. Developing a Rapport: Keeping the Talent Comfortable

This might seem natural, but interviews tend to be less successful if the interviewer isn't particularly friendly, attentive, and engaging. Consider budgeting for a few minutes prior to the interview to sit down with the interviewee to chat, get to know each other, and prepare them for what to expect when the cameras start rolling.

Remember, effective interviewing techniques are a critical component of crafting compelling digital marketing videos. By mastering these techniques, you create a foundation of usable and impactful answers that seamlessly come together to form a narrative that resonates deeply with your audience. So, next time you step into the interview room, remember that the magic of storytelling often begins with the way you ask the questions.