How To Create An Epic Expert Interview Post
Have you been looking for a new kind of post to publish on your blog? Do you want to improve your visibility, get more social shares and drive fresh traffic, but no matter how hard you try it just isn’t working out the way you had hoped?
When you put your heart, soul and time into a blog post, only to see it never reach the potential you know it should, it can be infuriating and disheartening. After all, you have been told over and over again that high-quality content works for itself. It shouldn’t need aggressive marketing to be a success.
That really comes down to how “shareable” your content is and how well it has been “seeded” with influential social media users.
Perhaps that more effective kind of content for this purpose is the expert interview article. This falls into two subcategories:
- The one-on-one variety, where you provide an extensive interview with a single expert and post it as a discussion on your blog.
- The multiple expert variety, where you ask a question and post the many different answers from well-known and successful names in the field.
While the first form is great for giving your readers a high-quality piece of valuable content, unless it is a truly exceptional exclusive, it won’t have the ‘oomph” that the second type will. Think of it this way: if one expert is good, then ten are better.
Here is a simple, five-step approach to creating an epic interview post that really draws attention.
Step One: Figure Out What Question To Ask
This is a lot more complicated than you might think.
A common problem with interview posts is that they ask a less compelling question. As a result, the interview request gets fewer responses, and those that do respond are less impressive experts. The post itself won’t be shared as much, or attract the attention you had hoped for.
You have to ask something that your readers, and by extension people within that industry, are really interested in having answered. That means narrowing down the problems they are facing, and choosing one you are sure that not only will the readers want to get advice on, but that the experts will be excited and eager to answer.
One of my favorite ways to discover these questions is to take a look at sites like Quora and LinkedIn. They are a wealth of information on what people are talking about, asking about, and confused or concerned about.
Further reading: How I find interesting questions to answer in my articles
Asking your readers can also be a great way to learn about the most common problems they face. Send an email out to your subscriber list, ask in a blog post, post it on social media, or create a feedback form for your site.
Step Two: Create A List Of Experts To Ask
Once you have a question, you need to know who to ask it to. What I tend to do is create a list of as many experts as I can, usually between ten and twenty. The higher the number, the more likely you are to get a good amount of responses. Remember, not everyone is going to give you an answer.
More names also provide the possibility of multiple posts, such as a Part I and Part II of the same question, to further spread out the traffic and shares.
When crafting your list, make sure you have a couple of top industry names at major blogs with a ton of traffic. If they are well known, it is more likely to get the attention of your readers. Plus, they might just share out the post when it is published.
If you want to reach a wider number of experts, you can always use MyBlogU to hunt them down.
Step Three: Ask Those Experts
It is time to reach out to your experts. You might be able to connect with some of them one-on-one if you already have a relationship. But for those that you are cold pitching, make sure you do it the right way.
Be succinct, and don’t waste a whole lot of time building to the question. Just give a short intro paragraph of who you are, what your site is, and ask them if they would be interested in providing some quick advice on an issue important to your readers. Ask the question, then thank them for their time.
With any luck, you will have a high number of responses. If your question is especially interesting, you might be able to get all of them to write back.
Step Four: Write The Post With The Best Responses
Once you have your answers and they are the best possible ones, it is time to craft a post. Write a good headline and introduction, present the question, and show off each answer with proper credit and a link back to their site, and perhaps also a link to their social media account.
Further reading: Here’s a quick tutorial on how to format a shareable expert interview article:
Step 5: Publish and Promote
It is time to publish and promote. This is pretty self-explanatory, and what you probably do with all of your content. Make sure you let the experts know that the post is up with a nice, customized note and thank you.
Pro tip: Don’t leave your experts hanging once the article is live. One of the essential benefits of doing group interviews is building those solid connections with participating influencers. Keep interacting with them now and then, helping spread their word and share your audience with them.
I use Cyfe to monitor influential people in my industry as well as manage my connections. I have a separate dashboard that monitors important people, tracks my time and even shows my calendar:
Finally, here are a few great examples of truly epic group interview articles that went very well:
- First Site Guide: Group interview integrated into the solid 101 blogging guide and then re-packaged into an eBook
- White Hat Link Building: The Zen Masters’ Guide: 10 experts providing exceptionally useful results. (This guide is a must-read!)
As with any other marketing content you create, the ultimate indicator of success is its discovery, acceptance and use by the intended audience. Make sure it solves a real problem and do your due diligence to get it placed or promoted on the appropriate channels. The promotional boost you’ll receive from the interviewees is icing on the cake – not the cake itself.