Consistently creating original and valuable content is tricky. When you’re regularly publishing new articles, it can be challenging to brainstorm fresh and relevant topics. A reliable and consistent supply of content, however, is important to keep readers engaged, loyal, and invested in your site. This is not to say you need to churn out several pieces of content a day to keep your audience interested, but you do need to remain a dependable source of quality information. So what do you do when it’s time for a new post, but you’ve exhausted all of your recent thoughts and ideas? Interviewing experts within your industry is a great way to generate fresh, new content! 🙌
Interviews provide new insights and present readers with different perspectives, which can help in diversifying your content. Speaking with industry experts can define you as a credible source within your space and establish your brand’s reputation. Interviews also promote your work by demonstrating first hand how people are benefiting from your site / product / services. Chatting with trusted individuals that have experience in your niche can serve to corroborate information provided on your site. Furthermore, interviews are mutually beneficial as industry leaders or experts typically have audiences of their own, and can direct those followers to discover your content, and vice versa. Now, let’s dive in and discuss how to successfully conduct and integrate interviews into your content strategy!
Interviews are exciting, but before you hit the ground running, take time to think and plan. What are you hoping to achieve? Consider your angle and assess what value this interview will bring to your site and audience. Having a clear idea of what you’re looking to accomplish is crucial and will help guide you when planning the interview.
Once you have a better idea of what you want the interview to look like, you can begin reaching out to potential interviewee candidates. Give yourself plenty of time for this -- you’ll only want to ask one person at a time so you don’t accidentally double book yourself. Calling or emailing will be your best bet, and if the interviewee isn’t familiar with you, make sure to introduce yourself. But most importantly, explain the purpose of your interview, what you’re hoping to gain, and why they should participate (this part is key🔑) .
Take a moment to decide how you’ll present the interview to your audience. Will you use a video recording, audio recording, or perhaps a transcription? This is an important aspect to organize in advance, as you’ll need to gather the proper recording equipment depending on what you decide.
It’s always best to have too many questions than too few (you don’t want to run out!), so if you’re aiming for an hour long interview, create a list of around 15 questions you’d like to ask. Open with the more basic ones first that will establish familiarity and rapport between the interviewee and yourself. Ask open ended questions to give the interviewee the opportunity to expand and share what they know. Yes or no questions, or questions you already know the answer to will make the conversation dull for both parties. Furthermore, be sure you can’t find the answers to your questions online, remember that you want to provide your audience with new and exciting (and if you’re lucky, exclusive) content. Do your research and come prepared to show the interviewee you respect and appreciate their time. Wrap up your questions by asking if there’s anything else the interviewee would like to add. This opens the door for them to elaborate or bring up new topics they didn’t have the chance to discuss before. It also signals the interview is coming to an end, and is a natural way to bring the conversation to a close.
Game time! You can conduct an interview in person, over the phone, on a video call, or via email. However, keep in mind, the more interaction you can have during the interview, the better the results. Talking in real time gives you the opportunity to ask follow up questions and have better control over the conversation so you can steer it in the direction you want. Meeting face to face or over a video call lets you see the interviewee’s facial expressions and body language. How a person communicates in terms of these nonverbal cues provides even more insight into their thoughts and enriches what they’re saying. Nonverbal communication conveys emotion and shows the speaker’s true feelings, allowing for more authentic dialogue and connection.
While you want to make sure the interview stays on track and doesn’t stray too far from the main theme of the discussion, allow some flexibility and leave room for the interviewee to guide the conversation a bit. Note what questions or topics they enjoy discussing, and which they have less to speak on. Make sure to give them enough time to finish their thoughts on the first question before moving to the next. Remember that it’s okay to deviate from your initial list of questions or switch around the order and focus on following the natural flow of the conversation. This will make the interview more comfortable and organic for both parties and may lead to new, useful topics or insights that you didn’t initially consider.
You’ll definitely want some record of the interview, whether that’s hand-written notes, a video, or voice recording. If you’re planning on using a video or audio recording, you need to let the interviewee know and ensure you have their permission. Recording the interview and transcribing it after is a useful approach so you can be present and focus your full attention on the conversation at hand. It can be challenging to quickly write down everything the interviewee is saying and you’ll likely miss opportunities to dig deeper into a question or other details like facial expressions, gestures, demeanor, etc. These are important aspects of an interview as they provide additional meaning and context to what the interviewee is verbally saying. That being said, if you are recording, I still recommend jotting down quick notes or key phrases that will jog your memory in case something goes wrong with the audio recording. As I’m sure we’ve all learned the hard way, technology sometimes fails us, and nothing would be worse than finding out your phone glitched or your mic doesn’t work, and you’re left with nothing.
Transforming the interview into useful content is just as important as the conversation itself. After the interview ends, take time to reflect. Note your immediate takeaways. What did you find particularly interesting? Was there something you weren’t expecting to hear? These reflections can help you determine how you want to format and angle your piece. You can post the word-for-word transcript, provide the actual audio or video recording, or consolidate the material to highlight the most important and useful parts of the discussion. Think of what will stand out to your audience and provide the most valuable. Also consider the style of content you typically produce -- will this interview follow the same format as most of the content on your site? If you typically write lengthy blog posts, it might be fun to test out different format like a short summary accompanied by the audio recording to further diversify your post.
Even after publishing the interview to your site, there’s still work to do! Let the interviewee know the piece is complete and is live on your site so they can check it out and share it with their network too. Promote the interview across all your channels (email, social media channels) and encourage the interviewee to do the same--this is key to increasing reach. Also make sure to tag the interviewee in your social posts so your audience can easily access their profile. Last but not least, thank your interviewee! An email or a hand-written note goes a long way to show your appreciation and gratitude. ☺️
Have you ever conducted an interview? Do you plan to? Let us know below!