Experienced content marketers have been hailing the expert interview as one of the best sources of content since the Internet was born, and with good reason. Interviews with experts help you get better information than you might have been able to get otherwise, vary the content you produce for more engagement, and lift the burden of creating tons of content on your own.
If you’re using content to attract and engage your prospects and customers, expert interviews can take your content marketing to the next level.
Arm yourself with the following tips and interview ideas for content marketers to find the right experts and discover compelling stories your target audience will love to hear.
Find an Expert to Interview
At first, finding an expert to interview seems like a tough task, but it doesn’t have to be hard. For the purposes of content marketing, almost everyone you meet is an expert.
In fact, nearly everyone in your company is an expert at something--the features of your product, the benefits of your service, the little things that make the most of your offering, how your company is the best choice. Who you interview depends on what type of content you want to create.
For example, if you need to write a white paper extolling your product as the ideal solution to a particular problem, you might interview product engineers for technical details and company executives for the unique selling proposition that makes your product better than the competition.
Another way to hunt down the best experts for your interview ideas is to look at what content you could create for specific stages of the buying cycle. Consider these examples:
1. To increase awareness of your business, you might write an article featuring an interview with an industry analyst.
2. To help prospects research their options, you could interview product managers and customers to create an infographic or chart showing the advantages of your product.
3. To validate a customer’s decision to purchase your product, you can write case studies by interviewing satisfied customers and customer support personnel.
Need more interview ideas and help finding experts for your interviews? This article from Pragmatic Marketing offers some great tips on finding and interviewing experts.
Ask the Right Questions
The real power of an expert interview is in the answers the interviewee gives and the stories they tell. To make the most of an interview, you need to ask the right questions.
This means being willing to go off-script, to ask for examples, to let the expert explain and tell stories and draw comparisons. While having a list of questions can help you stay on track and get the information you need, the right questions aren’t always the ones you have written down.
The most important thing to remember is to never ask yes/no questions! Simple answers like “yes” or “no” don’t tell you or your audience anything. Always ask open-ended questions that require an articulate response.
Consider these example questions to get you started:
- leading questions that encourage the expected or desired answer
- detail questions such as What, When, and Where
- storytelling questions including Who and How
- thoughtful questions like Why and What If
If you need more interview ideas and questions, check out our case study interview questions post.
Interview Ideas for Your Content Marketing Strategy
Still struggling to fit expert interviews into your content marketing? Use these interview ideas for content marketers as springboards to help you get started and come up with great ideas of your own.
- make yourself and experts in your company available for interviews, then publicize them to show thought leadership
- talk to your sales, customer service, and public relations teams for ideas of what information and stories customers want
- interview your company’s chief technology officer, engineers, and technicians for product-specific expertise you can use in white papers, reports, and blog posts
- interview customers and clients for case studies and success stories
- interview executives, product managers, and marketing team members for press releases and product launches
- record video or audio interviews with big names in your industry for your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel to gain thought leadership by association
- interview businesses or professionals in a related industry to help customers with the next step (get more referrals, publicize on their site, etc.)
Do you vary your content marketing with expert interviews? Please share your experiences and interview ideas in the comments below!