Are you trying to write sticky content for your website? People love to read features articles, particularly about other people who have succeeded or overcame challenges. Profiles are a great addition to your website. Your readers will be able to relate to the people you interview and empathize with them. They may even be inspired to succeed or learn from others’ mistakes. You don't have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning author to write effective profiles. The following tips will help you choose good interviewees, formulate questions, and write a solid, thought-provoking profile.
1. Your first job is to select a good topic. Article topics are all around you, but you certainly want to choose a topic that is related to your website and newsletter. Visit bulletin boards; talk to people. Hear their stories. You are looking for people who have overcome challenges or have done something interesting or unique. For example, if you have a website related to internet marketing you may find someone who has increased her site's unique visitors from 25 to 100,000 visitors within a day using a new marketing tool. If you are running a work at home site, you may find a person who has become a millionaire by selling knitted blankets on eBay. The stories become even more interesting if the subjects have faced particularly difficult challenges to succeed.
2. Once you have found your subject, you need to politely ask if she is willing to be interviewed. Most people will be flattered and happy to receive the publicity, especially if you offer to include a link to their website or include a short blurb about their business in the article. Other people receive so many interview requests that you may not even get a response.
3. Now you need to come up with your questions. You need basic background information, their name, location (city or state is fine) and occupation. Now, what else would you like to know about this person? How did this person achieve her goal? When she begin? How hard did she work? Was it luck? What were some of the challenges she overcame to succeed? What advice would she give to others in the the same boat? Did she expect to succeed? If the person failed at something, what did the person learn? As you interview the person, you can always add other questions based on what your subject has said.
4. Interviews can be conducted in person, by telephone, instant messenger, e-mail, or faxed questions. Ask the person if you can contact her for additional questions if you think of something else while writing the profile.
5. Writing the lead, the first paragraph of the story, can be your most difficult challenge. Your lead should capture your reader's attention. The best leads have a twist or a surprise. Here is an example:
With more than a million hits a day, Joe Snoe has already made his first $1 million in advertising from his home-grown blog. So far, he has planned to buy his first mansion in St. Croix with his profits, as long as his parents agree. Joe is 10 years old.
See how the last sentence gave the readers a surprising twist in my made-up example?
6. Your second paragraph should tell the reader more about the subject. You can include a quote from the person you interviewed and weave in a little background information. Let's see how that works in my Joe Snoe example.
"I learned how to create blogs from my dad, " said Joe, who created his video game blog when he was 9. “I told all of my friends at school about it, and they told their friends. Before I knew it, people were chatting about my blog on bulletin boards and advertisers were offering big money to place ads on my blog. "
Each quote should appear in its own paragraph, followed by a paragraph that paraphrases information from the person you interviewed. Use transitions, like next, although, first, now, later, etc. , to move your story along.
7. Your conclusion should wrap up your story with a final thought. Consider ending with a strong quote.
"Just last year, I was an ordinary kid who loved video games, " Joe said. “Now, I am an ordinary kid who fulfilled an extraordinary, grown-up dream. If I can do it, you can too. "
Claudine Williams is the published writer of hundreds of business and features articles. Get work at home job leads and business advice at http://www.KissDebtGoodbye.com .