Sunday, February 19, 2006

Clubbing features vs. interviews - an editorial dillemma

I recently got some feedback on our change of editorial tack away from interviews and towards features:
Features are all good with the diverse stuff but I think you a need a mixture of feature style interviews and Q&A sessions. Q&A's are the best way to find out about a producer/DJ/promoter and I don't think you should ingore them totally. 'Top tips' are good but be careful not to overdo the idea.
I kind of agreed. Here is my reply.

I agree that an interview is a great way to get to know the interviewee and there will always be a place for a good interview, like we had with Zabiela. Good interviews regularly get good hit figures. Even years later.

Our MC Storm interview has been in the top 2 or 3 interviews since in came online in 2003!

There are 2 aspects I don't like about interviews and it's those 2 aspects I try to avoid where possible (not ban, just avoid).
  1. Straight Q&A - Every clubbing website does it that way and we are trying to be different. Plus, it increases the chances of lazy questions like "How are you?" It makes me want to scream when I read that.
  2. Using interviews as an advert. People don't want to read interviews with industry types they have hardly heard of and have no empathy with. It's bad for our credibility to wheel out relative unknowns with nothing but an agenda to get people to go to their latest gig.
So, we either need to interview big names or we need to find a hook to drag in people who are asking "what's in it for me to read this interview?"

That's where features come in.

Doing interviews as a feature provides the hook people need to read it. Take this one with Vince Robertson called the "The Hardest Working Man in Dance Music". A straight up interview with Vince would have died. By creating a hook and making a slightly controversial statement it is the most popular feature or interview we have done so far this year (and it's only been up since Feb 11th).

I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't care what the format is as long as it's good, Q&A sessions included. If it breaks a few rules and is original on the way that's even better.

What do you think? Do you read Q&A interviews?