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How to conduct better interviews for environment and sustainability articles

One of the things I love most about my job as an environment, climate and sustainability content writer and feature writer is interviewing people for articles and stories. I love being able to talk to interesting people and help showcase the amazing and interesting things they are doing.

Interviews and quotes can add so much colour and life to any story. And, I’ve conducted interviews with so many interesting people, including:

  • a wildlife expert
  • an astronomer (yep, we spoke about mapping the universe!)
  • an energy efficiency expert
  • a popular Australian musician
  • a recycling expert
  • a soybean grower
  • a conservation expert
  • an organic herb grower
  • an author, TV presenter and sustainable food advocate
  • an edible flower grower
  • an ocean pollution campaigner
  • a cherry grower
  • a sustainable food chef
  • and the list goes on.

As you can see from the list above, there’s an incredible diversity of topics you can explore as an environmental and sustainability writer.

But to make the most of an interview there are some things to keep in mind. Here are my top tips on how to conduct a successful interview for an article or blog post.

  • Book in a time with your interviewee. Never try to catch them on the run.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare and email your questions to your interviewee beforehand if possible. It makes for much better answers.
  • Always record on two different devices. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you learn the hard way.
  • Try not to fill the silence. This is often the golden moment when your interviewee will be thinking and possibly about to say something quite enlightening or give you a fabulous quote. If you interrupt, quick as a flash it could be gone.
  • Remember to always ask if there’s anything else they’d like to add when you’ve reached the end of the interview. This is another spot where you might just find gold!

Who’s on your bucket list of people to interview?

About the author

Justine McClymont is an Australian environment, climate and sustainability copywriter and content writer. She helps NGOs, purpose-led brands and creative agencies make a positive impact on the planet by creating copy and content with purpose.