How Much To Pay An Interviewer?

I’ve been asked these things a few times lately, so I thought I’d lay it all out for people to make an intelligent choice.

And before you jump to conclusions about what this article is about based on the title… it’s NOT about guests paying interviewers to be featured in an interview, and it’s NOT about interviewers paying guests to share their content.  Interviews are a win-win scenario and I’ve never paid a guest, nor would I recommend it.

This article, however, is about something completely different…

I am known as an interviewer; I’ve created my own products with interviews, I’ve co-created products with interviews, I’ve taught people how to interview, I’ve written about how to interview, I’ve spoken about how to interview, and I’ve done interviews for other people as a hired freelancer.

I’ve done interviews for TV, for radio, for magazine articles, and for the internet.

It’s probably safe to say I’ve paid my dues, I’ve learned a heck of a lot along the way, and I deliver the goods.

I don’t say this to brag… I say it to show my passion for the craft, and to set the stage for what I’m going to talk about here…

I recommend interviews as tools to create solid, value-packed products or deliver content to subscribers.

They’re perfect for info-products, teleseminars, podcasts, articles, books, radio shows, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and more (in other words, they’re great in all media in perpetuity!) 😉

They leverage your time learning a specific topic that you want to bring people insight about; they leverage the names and information of experts who know what they’re talking about.

They create a win-win scenario between interviewer and interviewee, in a symbiotic you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours kinda way.

And there’s definitely an art to doing them well (sorry to burst the bubble here, but there just is. I learned that the hard way by conducting some really crappy interviews 15 years ago, before I poured my heart and soul into learning how to do them, not only right, but the best I possibly could).

Some people are teaching that anyone can just pick up the phone and interview an expert. So what you often end up with is a novice who is scared to death, doesn’t know what to ask, doesn’t know how to listen, and doesn’t end up getting any powerful content, even after having the source of all answers they could want waiting for the chance to talk.

See, most experts really shine when they are able to engage in an interactive conversation that challenges them and makes them think.  If they don’t get that, they revert to giving their standard old keynote speech or quoting their books, and therefore regurgitating content the audience has likely heard before (and who can blame them, it’s up to the interviewer to get the gold from the guest!)

So for people who don’t know how to do interviews, or don’t like to do interviews, or don’t want to do interviews, or don’t have time to do interviews (or simply want to leverage their time and spend it doing what they know they do best), the alternative to conducting interviews is hiring someone to do it for you.

Most of my clients are top-notch internet marketers who are well known, and appreciate the value in quality. After all, they got to the top of the heap for a reason.

They don’t mind paying me to deliver high-quality content, because they know they’ll make back a lot more than they pay me.

Basically, I’m a high-ROI investment! 😉

But sometimes people look at my rates and almost choke. They tell me that they can hire someone from a local radio station for about $200.

And I don’t doubt that that’s true, because radio station employees usually make about that much for one shift (at least, that’s about what it was when I was working in radio — in Canada, but in the biggest market in the country, Toronto). For them, one interview for the same price seems great!

But do they know how to ask the right questions in a niche like internet marketing? Ask that radio dude about squeeze pages, or testing conversions, or traffic sources, and he’ll be totally lost. So how can they ask intelligent questions around the topic, unless your audience is “totally ignorant newbies who need to hear an expert explain what they should already know”?

Same with any niche you can think of. I’ve created info-products and teleseminars and podcasts before, so I know what kind of questions need to be asked, even if I don’t know the niche (in which case I research the topic). Radio station employees would have no clue.

So let’s look at some of the other low-price options if you want to get someone to do interviews for you (and this is on a per-interview basis, so if you want to put together a package with several, you’ll have to multiply it out).

Budget: Less Than $100

If you have absolutely NO money to spend, you can probably get a friend or relative to help you out. Your little sister will likely do it for about $50, or unlimited rides to the mall for a month (depending how old she is!)

Or you could go to the local college and hire a student to do it for about $100.

If the college happens to have a journalism, broadcasting or media program, then you might even get them to do it for free, as an intern.

They might also be able to edit it for you using the school equipment, but since they likely won’t know the topic, you’ll have to help them with questions (however, they might just end up reading your list of questions one by one — something I call a “questionnaire” rather than an “interview”).

These options are all doable, but remember… you get what you pay for. If you release a product with poor-quality content because you got a novice to create it for you, then you’ll have a tough time convincing people to buy your next product (and you might get a lot of refund requests).

Budget: $200-$500

In this range you can get a professional-sounding voice with some media, voice-over or public speaking experience, but you probably won’t be able to get them to edit the final content for you, and they likely won’t know what to ask, so you’ll have to give them a guideline of questions to ask.

At least with this experience level, they should hopefully know to improvise around your question sheet, and maybe even throw in some personality. But chances are it will be more about the interviewer than the interviewee, and you’ll have to either edit it yourself or pay a tech guy at the radio station to do it for you.

Budget: $600-$800

Now we’re talking… in this price range you can hire a quality interviewer with a solid background and lots of experience who will do everything you need done so you don’t have to do anything except market the final product.

This includes finding and securing appropriate guests, researching, writing targetted questions based off your project topic, asking questions that were never preconceived, listening and following up to clarify so the audience completely understands, recording the interview with broadcast-quality equipment, editing the content with music bumpers, delivering it in an MP3 or CD-quality WAV format, and more.

If you know your product will sell enough to offset the original cost of hiring the interviewer, this is definitely the way to go.

And this is where I fit in.

If you’re interested in finding out about my rate structure and services, post your question in my thread in the Warrior Forum or send your request to my marketing assistant, Brian (also laid out in that forum post).

For some of you, this might seem like a lot. But remember that there’s a lot of time and energy put into creating quality content, and that you can leverage that initial cost many times over.

Remember too that you can cut a deal with someone to do your interviews in exchange for 50% of the profit.

Personally, I only do that with people who have a proven track record for launching and marketing quality products, but other people might be willing to make that deal with a beginner. So in any budget category above, that could be an option for you.

Keep Unwrapping Your Success!

Heather Vale Goss

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