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How to Interview a Thought Leader for Impactful Videos: Full Guide

Master your thought leadership interviews! Here's your ultimate step-by-step guide on how to interview a thought leader effectively.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
February 11, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Interviewing a thought leader is a great opportunity to showcase expertise, delve deep into a subject, and create compelling content. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

Effectively interviewing a thought leader requires time, effort, and quite a bit of know-how when it comes to recording and editing. Luckily, it’s not rocket-science. With platforms like Riverside, creating professional and engaging content is easy and achievable. 

In this blog, we delve into the best ways to interview thought leaders, the key stages to think about, and how to incorporate Riverside into your workflow. 

What makes a good thought leader interview?

Just because you’ve secured a slot with an impressive figure doesn’t mean the interview will be a sure success. Here are the key ingredients for a good thought leader interview:

Incisive questions 

Asking the right questions is essential. With limited time and an audience to keep engaged, you want to get straight to the point and avoid filler questions. Crafting compelling questions that draw out interesting answers takes time and research. You may also find yourself coming up with questions on the fly too, depending on how the interview goes on the day. 

Interesting angle 

You should come up with an original angle for the interview. This means honing in on a certain aspect of your interviewee’s expertise that they haven’t necessarily been asked about before. Your thought leader has likely been interviewed several times before, so it’s important to develop a unique take that’ll pique your viewers’ interest. 

Engaging style  

An engaging editing style is a must. Once you’ve got the video content, you need to compile it together in a professional and compelling way that keeps your viewers interested. 

8 Steps on How to Interview a Thought Leader for Video Content

Here’s a step-by-step guide to interviewing a thought leader: 

Do your research 

The first step is to do your research. This means in-depth research about the person you’re interviewing, their life, their professional experience, and their expertise. You should read over any recent or seminal output and make sure to watch any previous interviews they’ve given. 

You should also inform yourself about what’s happening in the field and any contemporary issues that you should touch on during your interview. 

Determine your goals 

You should know what you want to get out of this interview. This means getting to grips with what your key focus is, whether that’s a theme, understanding a certain topic, or learning more about their work. 

Spend time writing your questions

Spend a good amount of time putting together interesting, insightful, and illuminating questions that will spark an interesting answer. Avoid surface-level questions that your guests will most definitely have answered in previous interviews.  You can keep your questions fairly open-ended to give your guests room to take the conversation in multiple directions. 

Use the right equipment 

It’s absolutely essential that you’re able to capture your thought leader interview in the highest quality possible. Making sure that you’ve got the right equipment should be a top priority. If you’re not shooting on location, then you should think about sending your guest the necessary equipment. 

Do a pre-interview call 

Slotting in a pre-interview conversation is always worthwhile. This helps you to build rapport and establish a sense of familiarity ahead of the actual interview. This is also a great opportunity to answer any concerns or questions that your guest might have, as well as set expectations. You may also discover a new angle or topic of conversation that you might not have landed upon by yourself.

Use high-quality software

In line with reliable equipment, you also want to make the right choice of software.

Above all make sure you choose interview software that can capture your interview in top quality. You should aim for a minimum of 1080p HD, but it’s best to shoot in 4K. 

Luckily, you can get all this and more on Riverside.

Riverside’s features all aim to deliver a smooth, intuitive and professional experience for both the creator and their interview guest. With our local recordings, you can capture interviews in up to 4K video and 48kHz without worrying about your internet connection. You also get to harness the power of AI throughout your recording process (more on this later). 

Edit properly 

Editing your thought leader interview is arguably one of the most important stages of the interview process. It’s on you to get rid of digressions and pauses and really carve out an engaging narrative arc for your interview. This is also your opportunity to include b-roll to add value as well as additions such as captions, music, and branding. 

Repurpose your content into other formats

Finally, making sure to repurpose your interview recording into other content is the best way to draw maximum value out of a single interview. You should most definitely create short-form clips of the full-length interview for bite-size, social-media-ready content. It’s also worth exploring using these interviews for blog content. 

How to turn your interview recording into an engaging thought-leadership video

Turning your interview recording into an engaging thought-leadership video isn’t always that straightforward. To do an effective job, you need editing know-how and a feel for how to create an engaging and compelling interview. 

Tips for creating engaging thought leadership videos:

  • Dynamic editing. Editing style is key to creating engaging thought leadership videos. This is how you craft an interesting narrative, keep your audience hooked, and draw the most value out of your interview. 
  • Captions. Adding captions is absolutely essential, especially since most people view videos on social media without audio these days. 
  • B-Roll and secondary angles. It’s worth including b-roll and secondary angles to keep your video from being too static. This is an easy trap to fall into when your entire focus is on just one speaker. 
  • Text. You can use text to emphasize certain pieces of information and quotes from your thought-leader. 

In the next section, you'll find a guide to putting this all into action with Riverside.

Creating professional thought leadership videos with Riverside

Riverside is a browser-based remote recording studio perfect for creating high-quality, professional video content. You can record in up to 4K video and 48kHz audio, and the workflow is setup to support you in creating short and long-form content in parallel. Most importantly, the guest workflow is intuitive, easy, and stress-free, meaning your thought leaders will have no trouble joining your recording session. 

How to interview a thought leader on Riverside

Here’s a quick look at some of Riverside’s most powerful features: 

High quality recording: As we mentioned, Riverside lets you record in up to 4K video and 48kHz audio. 

Local recording: Riverside records each participant on their own device meaning bad wifi will never result in a disappointing recording. 

Progressive upload: Your files upload and process as you’re recording. This means you don’t have to wait around when your recording is over. 

Browser-based and mobile app: You can record from your desktop or on the go, with any device. And the same goes for your guests. 

Async recording: If you can’t get your schedule to line up with your thought-leader, you can invite them to record solo with async recording. All you need to do is share the studio link with them and leave them some on-screen instructions. Once they’ve recorded themselves, they’ll submit their footage for you to edit. 

Teleprompter:  You can prepare and upload a script or prompts to Riverside’s built-in teleprompter. This will help you to keep your interview on track and ensure you hit all the points you had wanted to cover during the recording. 

AI transcription: Download highly accurate automated transcripts in over 100 languages. Riverside automatically transcribes your videos as soon as you’re done recording. You can use this transcript in the text-based editor or for captions and subtitles. 

Text-based editor: Editing your video becomes as easy as deleting text in a recording transcript. Any text you delete removes the matching video and audio in your recordings.

Magic clips: An AI powered feature that automatically identifies the best moments from your recording to transform into short-form clips for social media.

Captions.: Easily add and customize captions to your interview. You can change the placement, font, color and size of your caption to your liking. 

AI generated show notes: You can download AI show notes with chapters, key takeaways and a summary, perfect for uploading alongside your thought-leader interview.  

As you can see, Riverside sets you up for success from the get-go. High-quality recording is virtually guaranteed, and you can easily and quickly edit together your long and short-form videos. Plus, with the automatic transcription, you can instantly transform your video content into blogs. 

Bonus: 10 powerful thought leadership questions to ask:

If you’re looking for some inspiration about what to ask your interview guests. Here are a few questions that we came up with. We kept the questions fairly generic so that you can adapt them to your specific guests:

  • How do you deal with challenges or adversity? 
  • When did you become interested in your area of expertise?
  • What would you tell your younger self? 
  • What do people most misunderstand about your work? 
  • What are you working on right now?
  • What are the most exciting developments in your field currently?
  • Where do see your field going in the future? 
  • Who are other people that you admire in your field/area of expertise?
  • How did you get to where you are today? 
  • How would you describe your work?

FAQs on How to interview a Thought Leader

How do you identify a good thought leader to interview?

Identifying an interesting and “good” thought leader to interview means you need to be really plugged into the field. You need to know the biggest voices and the figures that are making the most active contributions right now. Whether or not you agree with their work, if they have established a name for themselves in their particular area of expertise, they’re probably worth interviewing. 

What is the best way to interview a thought leader?

There’s no single way to interview a thought leader. In fact, sticking to conventional formats can sometimes result in boring or generic interviews that don’t gain much traction. The most important thing is that you identify an interesting angle or approach and really gear your questions and editing towards it. 

How do you interview a thought leader remotely?

Interviewing a thought leader remotely isn’t as impossible as it sounds. Using Riverside, high-quality remote recording becomes like second nature. Simply login, create a recording studio and share the link with your interview guest. It really is that easy.

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