One of the easiest and cheapest ways to create content is through dictation.
This is what I have been promoting even before I put up this blog.
If you can think of an idea, you can play around with it in your mind and then quickly say it out loud.
Get that idea out there.
Once it is transcribed, you can shape, mold , and get it down to its final form.
The key is to quickly turn ideas into something more concrete that you can work with.
That’s the power of content creation through dictation.
We are not just talking about dictating novels, books, blog posts, articles, and other forms of offline and online content, you can also create content through interviews.
In some ways, interviewing for content is an easier, cheaper, and faster way to create content than dictating it on your own.
As I’ve talked about in my post on how to dictate outlines, you have to think through key concepts so you can verbally outline them.
Once you have those outlines, you can then dictate blog posts, articles, books, short stories, and what have you.
But it all begins with an outline and that outline is going to take some work.
Not so with interviews.
With this form of dictated content-creation, you are picking somebody else’s brain.
You are tapping into their experiences, expertise, and subject matter knowledge.
Here is the best part: it is all out there for the taking.
It is a surprise that many bloggers, writers, novelists, and other content creators have not taken full advantage of this method.
Reporters have been using this method since forever.
Why not you?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m just a blogger and I don’t get in touch with people that I can interview.”
That is not true.
Many people would love to talk to you and give you free content.
That’s right, just by recording the audio interview, you can get that interview transcribed quickly.
Once you have the transcription, you can turn it into whatever you want.
You can produce articles, blog posts, video scripts, you name it.
Those interviews also contain enough ideas for you to develop a novel, short story, or nonfiction book that you dictate.
The list of possibilities is endless.
If you are still on the fence, here are 17 reasons why you should record interviews via dictation.
1. People Love Talking About Themselves
If you think that nobody has the time to talk to you on the record, think again.
If you are a blogger who specializes in a niche or topic category, there are surely influence leaders or authorities in that area.
How do you think they became so big? Well, for the most part, they didn’t become popular until they reached out to others.
They would love to reach out even further in their niche because this would make them even more well-known.
Getting interviewed increases their visibility and this can lead to their brand becoming even bigger.
In addition, people just love talking about themselves.
They like talking about the new projects they got going and the things they are working on.
Talking about one’s self triggers pleasure centers in the brain. No wonder, most people love doing it.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to big names, formerly big names, or up and coming people in your niche.
You’d be surprised as to how many interviewees you can line up.
2. Influencers Always Have Something to Promote
You may be thinking that there are certain people on your interview list who you can safely scratch off.
These people are too big, established, or well-known for them to have anything to do with your tiny blog or up and coming online publication.
You have to understand that people who are influential in any market will always have something to promote.
They might not have a recently published book but you can bet that they have stuff that they have published or products they have released before.
Even if they do not create their products, you best believe that they would be promoting somebody else’s product either in the form of an affiliate program or some form of a special partnership.
At the very least, influencers in any market are out to promote themselves.
They know that the bigger their personal brand becomes, the more they can command when it comes to endorsements, promotions, and other special deals.
Don’t be shy about reaching out to influencers. Don’t think they do not have any time for you.
It is in their interest to speak to you because you are focused on their market area.
You are either their target audience or you have access to their target audience.
Either way, they are attracted to what you have to offer.
3. Interviews Make People Feel Important
Let us get one thing out of the way. It does not matter how humble or modest somebody may seem, all of us have an ego.
When you are interviewing somebody, they are the center of the world for those few minutes.
You are hanging on to every word they say.
You focus on their ideas. It’s all about them.
That feeling is addictive.
It does not take much for somebody to get used to that kind of attention.
In fact, a lot of people begin to crave being the center of attention after they experience it a few times.
This is particularly true for people who did not get much attention growing up or when they were starting in the industry.
People who get big or famous can always point back to a time when nobody knew them.
Either they are working out some insecurity or stroking their ego, this is all good news for you.
When you reach out to try and get an interview, you can tap into this need to feel important or the need to be the center of someone else’s attention.
People would take the opportunity to speak to you to satisfy this need.
They might be feeling stressed or some competitors are outclassing them or about to surpass them, then you come along and ask them what they think about something that is hot in the industry.
At that point, they cannot help but want to talk to you because, in those moments, they are number one; they are the most important and relevant. It is hard to resist this sense of importance.
4. Question and Answer Formats Can Lead to Off The Cuff Answers
Many bombshell revelations in any industry often begin in some interviews.
That doesn’t happen often in a press conference.
Those media events are well-coordinated with questions that have already been filtered and pretty much everybody knows their place.
It is hard to get under somebody’s skin or trigger the interviewee to say something that they will otherwise not say.
All bets are off when you are in an interview.
If you are bouncing back questions and answers and there is a certain level of mutual comfort, do not be surprised if your interviewee starts dropping hints here and there.
They might be telling you about stuff that they know or like to be asked about.
Maybe they know some gossip that hasn’t been put out there yet.
There are so many things that could go on because their hair is down and they feel they can say stuff off the cuff.
The key is to make them feel comfortable by allowing yourself to feel comfortable.
If the interviewee can sense in your voice or facial expressions or the way you talk that there is tension, they are less likely to let their guard down.
Be on the lookout for off the cuff answers because that kind of content is what will make your little blog an industry giant.
You end up breaking news or getting a scoop that everyone else would die for.
And all you needed to do was to set up an interview.
5. You Can Chase After Off The Cuff Revelations to Mine Nuggets of Information
Imagine you were in a press conference and a company representative or a government official being interviewed says something that throws everybody off.
It may have been an off the cuff answer. Maybe they slipped, or whatever the case may be, you can bet that the other people in the conference will try to keep a lid on it.
They will try to deflect or pull off shenanigans and before you know it, the press conference is back on track.
You are more likely to chip away or fully develop revelations or hints that your interviewee throws out there casually.
It all depends on how comfortable you are with each other.
Once you have established a level of trust and they are aware that the interview is on the record, you can chase after seemingly off the cuff revelations that your interviewee may not even be aware of and turn them into something more substantial.
People slip up all the time. They let their guard down.
And when you backtrack and ask them about it, they can always redirect, clarify, or try to get things back on track.
However, there is a big chance that they may be so comfortable that they would let you in into their thought process and let you access stuff that your competitors could only dream of.
What makes this happen? The interview format.
6. Casual Interviews Allow Interviewees to Let Loose
Even if you are simply using a phone with an Easy Voice Recorder app, you may stumble upon amazing pieces of information from your interviewee.
This is more likely to happen in a casual interview than in a more formal setting.
Say, you meet somebody at Starbucks and after getting coffee, you shoot the breeze and get down to business.
You start talking about their company or what they’ve done, and before you know it, they are sharing important details that other bloggers in your industry are either unaware of or understand only at a shallow level.
All you needed to do was whip out your phone and use a Samsung voice recorder.
The interview is casual.
No big production of the fact that you are recording the conversation.
As long as they give you consent before you record, everything is on the table because they know what they are getting into.
What is awesome about a casual setting is it helps you tremendously in setting people at ease.
Your interviewee goes with the back and forth flow, and before you know it, you have material for amazing blog posts that can take your blog to a whole other level.
Similarly, if you are writing a book, you might get information that can set your book apart from others written by industry insiders.
It all boils down to letting the casual setting help you make some inroads.
Do not be afraid to use a phone with an Easy Voice Recorder app.
This app is innocuous. You can download the app quickly.
7. People Are More Likely to Come Up with Creative Answers in Freeform Interviews
The problem with rigid interviews involving interviewers going through a checklist of questions is that interviewees feel pressured.
You are putting them on notice that you’d like to get out of them certain information.
What do you think their response would be?
Well, most people would react to this by being guarded or playing coy.
But if you engage in a free-form interview where you are pulling questions out of thin air, you are more likely to catch them off guard.
While a casual setting is most optimal for provoking this kind of response from the interviewee, you can also do it in an office or in an open space that has a PC.
For instance, you can set it up where you and the interviewee are talking around a PC with an mp3 recorder.
If that seems too limiting, maybe you can find an open area with a lot of sunlight and air.
An open-air bistro can be a great place for a meaningful interview as long as you are using a dedicated voice recorder device.
8. Less Formal Settings Enable You to Ask More Aggressive Questions
The problem with formal settings is that people can pick up on the signals that interviewers are giving out.
The interviewers are there for business and their job is to extract information.
The interviewee sees all of that a mile away.
How do you think interviewees respond to this?
They will not communicate as freely as you want them to. It is not going to be easy to interview them because they will deflect questions.
Before you know it, people walk away from a press conference or an interview having the same information when they first came in.
An interview in a less formal setting such as a restaurant or a park or even at a clubhouse is often enough to get the interviewee to relax.
They are more likely to respond negatively to any question they may think as aggressive if the interview is conducted in a formal setting.
In a less formal setting, you can be more aggressive.
You have to be careful but you can ask the same questions in different ways and at different times during the interview.
This can lead to amazing insights and disclosures.
The key to pulling this off is to record the interview with a voice recorder app.
The app could be an embedded one, a Sony, or a Samsung voice recorder or one that is installed on your phone.
Presentation is the key.
Compare this with sticking a microphone in the face of your interviewee and asking them the same question again and again.
There is no comparison.
9. Freewheeling Interviews Can Lead to Impromptu Questions That You Would Have Never Thought to Ask
One of the main claims to fame of famous hard-hitting journalists is their relentless probing for truth and their hard questions.
The problem is when journalists ask hard questions, the interviewee will have a way to wiggle out or get themselves out of tight spots.
They can do this because the interview is scripted.
Maybe the interviewer has a schedule to stick to or there is simply not enough time for the interview so they have to “get to the good stuff quickly”.
How productive that kind of interview do you think will be?
Most of the time, the interview highlights you see on BBC or CNN are intense flashpoints that are few and far in between.
For the most part, these interviews are boring and yield little new information.
The great thing about dictating interviews is that you tend to trigger a more freewheeling question and answer interplay.
It is as if you are playing off the emotional energy of your interviewee and he or she is doing the same with you.
You are trying to figure each other out and once you achieve a certain level of mutual comfort and respect, do not be surprised if you come up with impromptu questions that may seem out of place.
Also, you might ask questions that you did not consider before.
Just as there are off the cuff answers, there are also off the cuff questions that can lead to answers that may take your career to the next level.
Freewheeling interviews usually take place in casual settings or a room the interviewee feels at ease in. They might feel secure in a room because it is more private. If they prefer an indoor interview in a casual room, use a voice recorder device for room interviews.
This device should be powerful enough to pick up the interviewee’s answers as well as his or her emotional range. When you are getting the interview transcribed, you also have to establish emotional context because a lot could be lost in translation.
10. Interviews Can Be Done on Multiple Platforms
Do not think that interviewing for content that you will later transcribe can only be done face-to-face. You can interview via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and many other platforms.
This poses the extra challenge of capturing information on those platforms that can be converted into editable text.
To address this, you can use video transcription software.
It is okay not to use a Samsung voice recorder or some other interview recording device.
Instead, you can take notes and dictate key points from the interview using Dragon transcription software to turn your speech from audio to text on your computer.
Google Docs does this as well but you have to speak at a slower rate.
In any case, there is always audio and video capture software that will enable you to convert interviews into something editable.
11. Most Interviewees Appreciate the Flexibility of Interviews
Always give your interviewee a choice as to platform and venue. Do not just say, “I’m going to meet you at a restaurant of your choice, or let’s meet online.”
Remember the interviewee is doing you the favor so give them the courtesy of choosing how they would like to be interviewed.
Some people prefer to be interviewed over Skype because they don’t want you to see their faces.
Fair enough, turn off the video.
Others do not want you to talk so you type while they talk.
Again, the interview should be all about them and their needs.
As long as you get to ask your questions and there is a good chance they will volunteer information, you should take whatever they suggest.
Do not insist on showing up somewhere with some voice-activated recording device to capture what they have to say. That might be a deal-breaker for them.
Many interviewees are perfectly comfortable with Zoom.
Set up a Zoom conference and let them know you are using a Zoom conference recorder so you can transcribe the interview later.
12. You Can Think About New Questions to Ask Based on the Direction of the Conversation
This is one of my favorite benefits of using interviews to produce online content.
No matter how smart you believe you are and how well you think you know your interviewee or the topic you are talking about, there is always room for improvement.
There might be ideas that pop up in the middle of your give and take with an interviewee.
This is difficult to trigger in a formal press briefing that is too rigid for you to brainstorm.
Often, the interviewee would have left long ago when you come up with a new question.
Things are different when you are interviewing somebody face-to- face and you have a voice recorder in your hand.
They may be responding to something you raised earlier and this can open the door to other questions that might be more interesting.
People often find gold in places where they least expect it.
By just allowing themselves to get lost in the process of doing what needs to be done, they adapt to the environment and they get to go where they need to go.
The same goes for interviews.
Let the conversation take a life of its own.
A lot of it is driven by the mutual comfort and trust built up to that point.
The forks in the road during a conversation make things interesting and lively.
13. Interview Transcriptions Can Give You Enough Materials for Several Pieces of Content
Now that you have finished an interview that lasted two to three hours, do not think that you’ve just wasted your time.
Sure, there is going to be a lot of stuff to decode because there might be plenty of text after you convert the audio file into text.
The same goes for your reaction after you send your audio file to an online transcription service.
No matter how you cut it, it may seem that text from your transcript is excessive after you transfer your file from a voice recording device or software.
You might be tempted to edit most of that stuff away.
But I will tell you that a well-done interview can yield transcriptions that can be edited into several pieces of content.
Your interviewee might have given you enough material to turn it into a blog post series, several articles on different topics, or even different chapters for different books.
Interview materials can fall into one or more of the following categories: editorial, research, or even customer intelligence research.
This is good news, not extra hard work to run away from.
If anything, your interview can open many opportunities you can develop.
This can lead to more books, content, and you may end up saving a lot of time and effort.
How much time would you have to put in if you are going to be working on ten blog posts?
Thinking about it will probably give you a headache.
But here you are with a three-hour transcript that you can slice and dice, sculpt, and reshape into several pieces of content.
Not shabby at all.
Work once to get the information and produce many pieces of content that can lead to better blog recognition, book sales, or better standing in your industry, career advancement, and on and on.
14. Your Successful Interviews Can Lead to Future Interviews
Assuming you do not burn your bridges and you quickly establish a deep level of mutual comfort, do not be surprised if you get asked for another interview.
This is particularly true if you are in an industry where many bloggers tend to be too aggressive. You are going to stand out if you treat your interviewee with respect.
They would rather talk to you than bloggers with bigger names in your niche.
This is a big deal because you will start establishing a solid reputation.
Not only would your interviewee want to talk to you more but check reason number 15 below.
15. Your Interviewee Can Set You Up With Other People
Just like in any industry, you get your foot in the door by making a good impression with an insider.
That person might not be the biggest name in your industry; that person might even be a has-been or somebody who is on their way out.
It doesn’t matter.
Once you get noticed, the amazing first impression you have made is going to stay with them.
You best believe that they if had a good time in your interview with them, they are likely to set you up with other people to talk to.
After all, they became big in the first place because they know people.
In many cases, you do not have to try that hard.
You can throw out a customary line and say, “If you have friends in the industry who might want to talk to me, feel free to give them my contact information.”
That can mean a lot if your interviewee had a good experience with you.
Always say that call to action.
Do not think that the interviewee would automatically refer you to their industry contacts.
Throw it out there and you would be surprised how easy it is to get other interviewees.
Isn’t that good news? Wait, it gets even better.
You may be in a situation where you interview somebody who has third-level fame or importance in the industry.
If they are impressed with you, they might refer you to somebody more famous or important.
Do a good job of interviewing and you might get introduced to some of the biggest names in your industry.
That is how it works.
People know people.
But here is the more important thing: people are more likely to refer you to those they know if they feel they can trust you.
The key is to get your foot in the door by reaching out for interviews.
16. You Can Read Your Interviewee to Direct the Conversation
The funny thing about interviews is that many people think that it is a one-way street.
Somebody asks a list of questions and the other party gives a response.
Pretty straightforward, right? Let me tell you those kinds of interviews are boring.
They are generic , almost mechanical.
Amazing interviews are different.
They are interactive.
They are two-way streets.
There is a lot more going on than you asking a question and the interviewee responding to it.
You have to understand that people communicate in more ways than talking.
You are communicating through your manners, gestures, tone, facial expressions, posture, and on and on.
If you pay close attention to these during an interview, you can read your interviewee.
They are open like a book in front of you.
You only have to pay attention to the right details. If you do, you will be able to direct the conversation.
That is how you lead to bombshells and interesting information that your competitor, who conducts interviews mechanically, would not get in a million years.
It all boils down to your ability to read human beings.
Remember that interviews are not mere commercial transactions where the interviewee has information and wants fame and you are giving them a platform in exchange for that information.
An interview, at its most basic, is a genuine opportunity for two human beings to relate to each other on a deeply personal level.
17. Most Bloggers Can Republish Facts But Interviews Can Lead to Rare or Controversial Insights
You have to understand that in any industry there are two commodities: facts and personality.
Many people confuse these two.
They think big names in their industry became big simply because they have facts or access to a certain type of information.
This is true to a certain extent but the ones who reach the top get there because of their personality. They have that extra special something they throw in the mix.
When you do interviews, understand the distinction between having facts and having a personality.
Sure, you are interviewing so you can transcribe this free interaction and turn it into content.
I get that and congratulate you on using this method but do not miss the opportunity to connect with your interviewee based on their persona.
Ask them questions about their persona and you could be rewarded with controversial insights or rare opinions that other people in your industry would love to read about.
The Final Word On Dictating and Recording Interviews
Setting up interviews can be a hassle.
It requires you to be flexible with your schedule.
You also have to have the right equipment ready to record on the platform your interviewee has chosen.
You cannot assume that you only need a voice recorder for interviews and you are done.
Understand that an interview is a collaborative effort with your interviewee.
You have to make them buy into the project and establish mutual comfort.
If you can do that, there will be enough trust to take the interview to where it needs to go.