What are the reasons for doing expert interviews and how should you go about it? First look at the benefits. By interviewing experts in your field and featuring them in your blog, you stand to achieve the following:
- More compelling content: By getting experts’ views on a particular topic, you get to uncover valuable nuggets of information to share with your audience. While this is generally a complete interview, it does not have to be more than a quote to fill out an article.
- Gain authority for your site: In addition to gaining useful and interesting content, people want to know what niche leaders think. By interviewing the experts, your site will be perceived as a valuable as well as a credible source of information and attract more people and attention from search engines.
- Open new doors to more exciting possibilities: Apart from being a great learning experience, doing expert interviews can help increase your chances of working with industry leaders in the future. There is always a possibility that these people will keep in touch. Such relationships may lead to joint ventures that offer unprecedented benefits.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of interviewing experts. These people may be more accommodating than you expect since it will offer them more exposure as well as the chance to help others.
Incentives can include offering the experts chances to upsell their products, including them on a mailing or any other attention you can offer them on social media as well as your website.
How to identify the right experts
Before you get to identify who you need to interview, you must clearly determine the type of content you need to provide to your audience. To do this, you need to audit your existing content to identify what else is needed to help you reinforce your goals.
With this taken care of, it is time to find an expert who can best provide you with the information you need. To do this, you may want to consider the following strategies:
- Check websites such as AbbeyWorldMedia.com, RTIR.com, ExpertClick.com, GuestFinder.com, HelpaReporter.com, ReporterConnection.com, prnewswire.com/profnet/ and WebMasterRadio.fm to find experts in your field.
- Contact blog owners of the sites you follow or use the techniques outlined in how to find blogs to locate authority websites.
- Check conference panel rosters and trade magazines.
- Approach authors, especially those who are about to launch a new book or have recently done so.
- Contact the best posters on any forums you may follow.
Tips in interviewing experts
Keep in mind that industry experts are extremely busy people so you need to prepare well beforehand to get the most from your interview. Here are some tips that can help you accomplish this goal:
- Set a goal: Every good interview starts with an end in mind. What do you hope to accomplish and how do you intend to get what you want? List the items you want to cover and communicate this to your target interviewees so that both of you can do the necessary preparations.
- Make sure you have the right equipment and software: Basically, you will need a good-quality microphone and headphones as well as an audio recorder and editor to record and edit an audio interview. On the other hand, if you will be doing a video interview, you will need a decent quality video camera, video editing software and a video sharing service such as YouTube, Vimeo or even Facebook.
- Do your research: Never be caught unprepared. Read related trade publications, blogs, news and press releases prior to the actual interview.
- Create an initial list of interviewees: Try to identify at least 30 industry experts whom you would like to talk with.
- Contact the experts: Send a short email explaining who you are, why you want to interview them, how it may benefit them and suggest a date and time of the interview. Include relevant links to your previous work to build your credibility. When someone responds favorably to your request, send the exact topic of the interview, a list of all the questions you wanted to ask, a reminder of the date and time of the interview and the expected length of it. Make sure that you choose a time that is most convenient to your interviewees as well as the interviewee’s preference on how he/she prefers to do the interview (via Skype, phone call or one-on-one meeting).
- Make your interviewee feel comfortable: Engage your interviewee in some small talk, review procedural details and summarize your agenda prior to the actual interview. Once your interviewee feels more comfortable, you can then proceed with your queries.
- Treat the interview as a conversation with a goal: For best results, use a conversational tone during the interview.
- Prepare – but don’t overdo it: While it is advisable to have a set of questions ready, you should only use it to steer things in the right direction. Remember, a scripted interview can be quite dull.
- Ask the right questions: Use open-ended questions and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions to clarify issues. Don’t forget to ask the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where and why. Pepper your interview with a lot of ‘how’ questions. Ask for concrete examples so that your audience will clearly understand what is being discussed.
- Stay on track: Aside from asking the right questions, you need to make sure that you steer the conversation back on track if it wanders.
- Document carefully: If the interview is not being recorded with video or audio, make sure all important information is written down.
- Don’t say anything: While it may seem a bit awkward, you should learn how to embrace silence when your interviewee stops talking for a moment or two. Give them some time to collect their thoughts before jumping in with the next question.
- Wrap up gracefully: Before officially ending your call, ask the interviewee if there are any topics left uncovered, or if he wants to add anything to the conversation.
How to prepare an audio or video interview
An audio or video interview is considerably more effective than a written manuscript. Taking the tips and suggestions discussed earlier, here’s how you should proceed in preparing an audio or video interview before presenting it to the general public:
- Edit & improve: Trim off the opening and the end of the call and insert an appropriate intro and outro but refrain from editing within the body of the interview to avoid accidentally omitting important details. If you are not the creative type, you may consider outsourcing the intro/outro production to the pros. This is also the best time to fix any minor glitches that occurred during the interview.
- Upload it to the web: If you are doing audio podcasts, you can either host it directly through your blog or use a third-party service. If you are doing video interviews, you can upload the video on your favorite video sharing service and embed the link on your website.
- Send a preview link: Before going live with the interview, send a preview link to your interviewee.
- Promote your interviews: Start spreading the word. Write a press release and a few guest blog posts and distribute it to some of the most popular blogs in your niche. Consider sharing it with your social networks. You can also ask your interviewee to help you promote the interview with their audience.
You stand to gain a lot of benefits by interviewing experts and offering their views and opinions to your audience. They make it possible to provide unique insights straight from the mouths of experts while building your authority and number of visitors and opening the doors to more exciting business opportunities in the future. Wouldn’t these be worth the effort?