Thursday, March 1, 2012

Content Marketing Tip #3: How to Turn Guest Interviews into Valuable Content

In my college journalism classes, I was taught the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where and why. An interview does not have to be a nerve-wracking experience,and allows you to share a new, fresh perspective on tired topics. Over the course of my career, I have conducted hundreds of interviews ranging from well-known yoga teachers to world-renowned health/medical experts to authors. I love the interview process, and enjoy learning what makes people tick. As a blogger, I have conducted fascinating interviews with fellow marketers, copywriters and editors, and it's allowed me to mix up my content and add diversity to my blog.

The interview is the easy part. Prepare a set of ten questions before you conduct the interview and think "news-worthy" angle. What topic/angle will capture your targeted audience's attention? Keep the interview short (no more than an hour) and always follow up with a thank you email to the person you interviewed.

A few interview tips to remember: 
  • Do your research first BEFORE you interview and write your interview questions. Check out your expert's website, bio, social media sites, company information, etc. Be prepared or you will come off sounding like a novice during the interview. 
  • What's the real story behind your guest expert? Remember to ask probing questions and don't be afraid to dig deeper. Be kind, courteous and respectful of boundaries when asking questions, but you don't have to stick with the "safe questions". What is that one thing that your readers would NEVER guess about this person? What makes him/her quirky, fun, different, stand out in the crowd, etc.? Don't rattle off "resume/bio" questions - zzzzz...boring! 
  • Check your facts before you publish your content. If you aren't sure about a fact or need clarification, don't be afraid to connect with your guest expert and "fact check" before your content goes live.  It's helpful to record interviews so you can review before you create your content -- ALWAYS ask permission from the person before you record their interview). 
Great, so you completed the interview...what comes next?

Follow these simple steps and spin your interview into valuable and marketable content.

1. Create a Q&A blog post that features your guest expert. If your guest interviewee shared a copious amount of information, break the interview into a series throughout the week. Include "teasers" on your social media and send out an email announcement about the interview to your email list. As a courtesy, make sure to include a brief bio and links to the guest's social media/website, contact information, etc.

2. Interview your guest "live" on video or via podcast. If writing isn't your forte and you shine on video or audio, record a "live" interview and then post on your website, blog, social media sites. If you plan to record the interview, ask permission from your guest expert BEFORE you start recording. Keep your audio/video short (3-5 minutes) and keep interview questions to a minimum. You can also use the video/audio as a promotional teaser to draw people back to your blog or website article.

3. Repurpose the interview into a press release and/or article. If the interview has a news-worthy angle, spin the content into a press release or article. Make sure the press release or article does NOT sound like an "informercial" for the expert's products or services. The purpose behind a press release and article is not to sell - it's to inform and educate. Post on free press release services and article marketing sites. Not only does it help promote your company/brand, but it also cross-markets your guest expert as well.

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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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