A Guide on Interviewing Your Client, Influencer or Audience Member

Today, one of the most sought-after channels of brand exposure on the Web is exclusive new content.

In a world where so much of what we read, write, and interact with is drawn from third-party materials, exclusive content is a rarity, and it’s exciting to come across. Unfortunately, it’s also tough to produce, and few marketers have the patience, attention, or know-how to create it.

Fortunately, there’s a way around this: interviews. Interviews are growing as a useful tactic for gaining traction on the web. In addition to helping you stand out as an authority, interviews are a fantastic way to produce exclusive content and create material that will remain relevant long past its publishing date.

My company has begun to staff professional interviewers and communication experts who know how to record a stellar interview because we believe great interviews are that important.

Here’s everything you need to know about interviews, and why they’re so valuable to modern content marketing.

How Interviews Help You Become “The Source” For Great Information

In the world of content marketing, everyone wants to be the go-to source of quality information. When you become a trusted reference, people flock to your brand and stay there.

Unfortunately, however, it’s tough to become “the source” when you’re just recycling other people’s perspectives. While it’s certainly important to draw inspiration from the influencers and experts around you, it’s also important to create content that is 100 percent original to your brand. This is where interviews come in.

When you interview an industry influencer with questions designed for your follower base, you stand to take the web by storm.

If the fact that interviews are incredibly relevant weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that great conversations improve SEO, encourage other people to share your content, and help you reach new audiences.

Good interviews can also back up your calls-to-action and value propositions, help you build a two-way dialogue with clients, provide original content and quotes you can use in blogs at a later date, and nurture closer and more intimate links between you and your participants.

How to Conduct a Successful Interview With a Client, Influencer, or Audience Member

If you’re nervous about the prospect of interviewing someone (most people have never done it before), don’t’ worry – you’re not alone. While the process of interviewing can seem intimidating, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Once you master a few simple skills, you’ll be interviewing your influencers of choice like a professional.

1. Find The Right Format For You And Your Guest

The format of an interview is critical to its success. Will you interview your guest face-to-face, over the phone, or on Skype? While face-to-face interviews can be fantastic, they’re not always necessary thanks to the rise of platforms like Skype and video calling.

Plus, if you have an out-of-town guest you want to connect with, an in-person interview might not be possible. Work with your guest to determine which platform will work best and create a more streamlined experience.

2. Dip Carefully Into Email Interviews

While e-mail interviews can be an excellent way to get a quick snippet of information or a quote you can use in your content, they also tend to be stilted and minimal. With this in mind, use e-mail interviews sparingly. Since e-mail doesn’t allow for the natural development of conversation or the back-and-forth that arises when two people feed off one another, e-mail interviews can render unsatisfactory results.

3. Back up Your Technology

As you record your interview, make sure you’re backing it up, at the same time. Some people use two recorders while others choose to record the interview and write notes at the same time. No matter what you decide, be sure that you’re finding a way to back up your interview’s information in case you lose one platform.

4. Give Yourself Enough Time to dig Deep

Nobody (guest nor host) wants to rush through an interview. Instead of making it a race against the clock, leave yourself ample time to proceed through the interview at a natural pace. In addition to demonstrating to your guests that you respect their time and opinion this also provides more space for you to get useful information and find the vein of gold in the interview.

While the exact length of the interview will depend on your personal style and your guests, it’s always wise to allow yourself a bit more time than you think you’ll need.

5. Do Your Research in Advance

Before you ask a guest to be interviewed, find out what makes that person interesting, and what parts of his or her background, history, and experience you should tease out. It will be much easier to produce a relevant interview if you know where to start. This saves you from grasping in the dark, trying to get to know the person while the interview unfolds.

6.  Don’t Do Group Interviews

Group interviews make it hard to attribute quotes, dive deeper into any one subject, and produce an exciting conversation. With these things in mind, avoid a group interview and focus on one-to-one interactions, instead.

7. Avoid Sending Questions In Advance

While some high-profile interviewers give their guest the opportunity to approve or deny questions in advance, many experts in the content marketing sphere discourage this. In addition to encouraging people to over-prepare, this also adds an extra step of work for you. Avoid it for more free-flowing interviews.

The Case for More Interview Content

If you’ve never developed interview content before, now is the time to start. A helpful way to produce exclusive material and enjoy one-on-one interactions with notable guests, interviews can add to your content strategy and help you stand out in your industry.


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Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.

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