Writing a feature about someone in your business can be good for almost any blogger. Nonfiction bloggers can feature industry experts, and fiction writers can highlight other authors whose readership is similar to the one you want to reach. There are several different ways to do a personality story:
Profile—This type of article is what you usually see in magazines. It uses multiple sources to tell a story about a person or create an impression of their character. Here’s an example: “Profile: Author, Humanitarian, and Pulitzer Prize Winner Sheri Fink.” Note that the article opens with an anecdote about her work in Iraq and closes with a mention of the danger inherent in the work. That’s an effective use of circularity. This can be an effective technique for writing about an influential person in your field to whom you do not have direct access.
Interview—Usually uses a single source but may include a spouse or business partner. Narrative connects the quotations. An overview of the personality is given from the point of view of the interviewer, who brings his or her own experience and analysis to the piece. Example: “Popular Writers: A Stephen King interview” by Neil Gaiman. Note how Gaiman’s personality is as important to the article as King’s.
Q&A—Like an interview, this kind of article features a single source, but rather than telling a story this type of post usually offers quick hits on a variety of topics, eliminating narrative. Note that the order you present the questions and answers need not be the same order in which you asked them. Since they may not be connected, you can, for example, put a funny one first and save a thought-provoking one for later. You can also eliminate answers that turned out to be not as interesting as you hoped. You can cut some of the subject’s words, but don’t change them. This kind of post is easier to do by e-mail but can be done by phone. Example: “Sir Jonathan Ive: The iMan cometh,” Mark Prigg, London Evening Standard, March 12, 2012. Note that the article begins with an overview before getting to the Q&A. This gives the reader some context.
Guest Post—Perhaps the best-known way to introduce your readers to someone whose work you admire is to let them write a post for you. I haven’t done that here, mainly because I’ve been focused on the Elements of Fiction series. But over at New Authors Fellowship, a group blog I contribute to and edit, we frequently host guest bloggers. For guest blogs, you can let the guest choose a topic, or you can assign them one. For example, at NAF I often ask newly published authors to share their publishing journey.
For you, guest posting on other people’s blogs is also an effective way to reach a wider audience.