By now, you likely understand the importance of writing articles/blog posts to help you and your brand stand apart. Good content drives traffic, attracts readers, and increases influence. But how can you differentiate your content?
It’s simple, by conducting influential expert interviews.
Adding interviews into the mix will help to create interesting and timeless content that gives your readers valuable insights they won’t find elsewhere. Plus, it’s a great way to connect and network with leading authorities, which increases your influence. Here are 5 tips to improve your expert interviews.
#1 Study your subject
Before meeting with your expert, do your research to understand why that person is the expert and relevant to your content and your readers. Read their bio. Find other articles written about them. Be curious. In finding out as much about them before your call, you’ll find holes in their story or missing details. If you’re curious, someone else will be, too.
#2 Prepare a list of interesting questions
It’s vital to have a list of questions (5 to 10 is good), so you can keep your call on track for the purpose of your article. But that doesn’t mean you need to use them all, and they shouldn’t be boring or mundane. Think about your readers. What do they want to know? What would they find interesting? Challenge basic assumptions that could uncover new insights. What would be controversial?
Here are a few examples to get you thinking outside the box:
- What is one thing you told yourself during your darkest hour?
- What has been your best-kept secret for ____________ (growth, inspiration, referrals, resources)?
- When you first learned about ____________ (event, trend, issue, news report), what was your gut reaction? Has that changed today?
- Looking into the future, what do you believe is the next big trend in your industry?
#3 Have a conversation, not a Q & A session
Yes, you’ve prepared a list of questions, but be just as prepared to ditch them. Unless your article is set up to be a Q & A format story, this is the time to listen and see where the conversation takes you. You may tap into an area you hadn’t considered – and that hadn’t been written about previously.
When I interviewed one expert several years ago for our local newspaper, I asked a question based on our conversation, and she was stumped. She looked at me and said no one had ever asked her that before and she had to think before answering. It was a pivotal moment for both of us. (You can imagine the hoopla going on inside my head.) At the end of our interview, she said this was not like an interview but more like a conversation. And then she said we should grab a coffee sometime. A new relationship was formed.
#4 Be in the flow
During the interview, it’s imperative that you stay in the flow of the conversation and not stop to clarify what’s been said. Use a platform that allows recording so you can go back to ensure accuracy. And keep all your questions on one page, so you’re not wasting time flipping through papers or screens. It’s also important to remember to respect their time. If you said the interview would take 30 minutes, be prepared to stop at 30 minutes. Keep your focus throughout.
#5 Follow Up
Your expert has taken time out of their busy day to help you, so be sure to thank them (a handwritten note goes a long way) and tell them when your story is published. A quick email with the link is a great way to stay in touch. And if your article is published in print, mail, or hand deliver a copy.