Quality over quantity.
That’s usually the mantra when it comes to creating compelling content that pays off.
But in today’s marketing landscape, you need both.[powerpress http://traffic.libsyn.com/specialmouse/cep010_great_content.mp3]
It’s no surprise then, that this is a big challenge content marketers face today.
Case in point: The Content Marketing Institute recently released their reportB2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends – North America.
It turns out that over half of all businesses surveyed are having a hard time creating quality content.
Even more are having a hard time creating enough of it.
You may be in the same boat.
And while not all content creation is easy, there are some forms of content that are easier to create.
Among them are interviews.
It’s “Win, Win” All Around
While they can’t be the only content you create, interviews offer a “win win” situation for everyone involved.
1. Your audience gets engaging, valuable content. And, they get it from someone who’s an expert on a topic that matters to them.
2. The interviewer wins, because he or she gets exposure to a new audience.
3. Finally, you win because you deliver quality content. Plus, you naturally become a source of trusted content for your audience.
Best of all, finding someone to interview — and then interviewing them — is as simple and fun as it gets.
You can offer the interview as a recording. (Read about the growing impact of audio content here.) Or, you can have it transcribed and offer it as a blog post.
Either way, you’ll be offering quality, engaging content to your audience.
Here’s how to get it done:
Step 1 – Setting Up the Interview
For starters, you’ve got to pick the right expert.
It needs to be someone who can speak on a topic that’s relevant and important to your audience.
If you run a search engine optimization service, interviewing someone at Google about the latest algorithmic changes would be great.
If you’re into Social Media, interview someone who’s a respected authority on using Twitter to land more business.
As you find them, put them in an Excel file for easy reference.
Try to find at least 10 experts and reach out to them. Explain who you are, what you’re trying to do, and the audience you’ll be exposing them to. You’ll be surprised at how many of the well-known experts out there are genuinely nice people. And, many will be more than happy to offer you their time for an interview.
One more thing to note: Don’t feel bashful about interviewing someone who holds an opposing point of view from yours. Be open-minded and offer your audience a different perspective on things. By doing so, everyone benefits.
Step 2 – Research, Then Create Your Questions
Do some research on your expert.
What’s their background? How’d they get into their line of work?
What makes them different from others in the same field?
You get the idea.
Once you’ve done your preliminary research, it’s time to create a list of questions you’ll want to ask.
This is where you need to get a little creative. Think about your audience first.
What would they want to know? What problems/challenges are they facing — and what solutions could your expert provide?
Basically, you want to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Then, from that perspective, think of questions they would want to ask your expert. Also, make sure they’re mostly open-ended questions (they’ll usually start with “What, When, Why, and How”).
Avoid simple “yes or no” questions whenever possible. For example:
Once you’ve got a list of 10 or so questions, email them off to your expert before the interview. This way, they won’t be caught off-guard during the actual interview.
Step 3 – The Interview
This is where you have your expert on the phone and are recording the call.
Make sure you’ve got your questions ready to go. Introduce your expert and why your audience should care about what he or she has to say.
And then, get right into it. Ask away.
As you do, make sure you listen, instead of thinking about the next question you’re going to ask.
Oftentimes, you’ll catch interesting tidbits or little gems that would otherwise go unnoticed. And many times, these can lead into other (unplanned) questions that’ll make for a very interesting interview.
Finally, get the expert to offer specifics whenever possible. Sometimes he or she may give you a vague answer. Don’t be afraid to re-word your question in order to draw out more concrete details.
Ideally, get your expert to divulge actionable advice that will benefit the listener/reader.
Other Thoughts On Interviews
For the most part, you’ll want your interviews to be brief — 15 to 30 minutes.
This makes the content more easily digestible. Plus, it respects the expert’s (and your) time.
Also, make sure you get a picture of your expert. Ideally, of them doing something fun. Or something quirky or out doing something they enjoy.
This is a breath of fresh air from the standard head shot. However, if a headshot is all you’ve got, then that’s fine.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take some risks with your questions. Maybe ask something off the wall or ask the expert to share something interesting about themselves.
People, for the most part, love being voyeurs (think celebrity magazines). So any time you can get an interesting tidbit of information, that’s always a good thing.
For additional inspiration, check out these Crazy Egg interviews:
- Chris Goegan (“The Marketing Engineer”)
- Benji Rabhan on conversion optimization
- Renee Warren and Heather Anne Carson of Onboardly
So What Are You Waiting For? Schedule an Interview
Interviews are a great source of fun, simple content you can create on a somewhat regular basis.
It’s “win, win” on all fronts. And, it’s a nice way to have some built-in variety to your content mix.
Try it out. You might be surprised at how well your audience receives them.
Consider scheduling a few interviews for your content marketing plan this next quarter… and get some high-quality, engaging content without a lot of work.