An email interview is one of the simplest ways to get expert knowledge onto your blog.
You can stretch your content calendar and add more blog posts to your weekly schedule with this one technique. The more often you blog, the more traffic you'll get to your website. That is a fact backed by research dataand our own personal experience. We've seen SpinWeb's traffic and leads increase over the years as we've ramped up our blogging from once a week, to twice a week, to our current five days a week schedule. More content is a key factor in this growth (note, I didn't sayonlyfactor). It works.
Yet we recognize how hard it is to consistently produce quality content. So, do yourself a favor and make it a little easier with an email interview.
It may not be quitethat easy, but almost.
1. Find a content expert.
What do your clients or customers really want and need to know? Of those things, what expertise do you have in-house? Survey your employees who do not normally contribute to your blog. Send them a list of questions that you can imagine your target audience asking, request a timely response from your employee, and let them know that you will be posting the interview on the blog.
Your employees are just one treasure trove of content expertise. What about your partners, clients, professional contacts? Reach out to your network and ask if people would care to answer a few questions for your blog.
2. Crafting an email that gets a response.
Stress that this is casual. Many people will freeze up if you ask them to write a blog post, but answering questions that they know off the top of their head is something most people will say "yes" to.
Include only 5-6 questions. The more questions you ask, the less likely you are to get a quick response.
Here is an example:
Would you be available to do an email interview, to be used on our blog? The format is pretty casual. I know our readers would be very interested to hear your expertise on [this subject]. If you have time, reply with your answers at your earliest convenience. I've included a few questions below. If you would rather not or don't have the time right now, just let me know.
Also, please include a short bio and a headshot for us to include, with links back to your Twitter handle and website. We want our readers to learn more about you and your business.
The nice thing about this format is that you give your contact the chance to reply immediately with the content, rather than ping-ponging back and forth, scheduling a time to chat or discuss.
You also want to emphasize the benefit to them--a link to their website and extra exposure to your contacts. If you have a really impressive number of blog subscribers or Twitter followers, mention that!
3. Formatting the blog post.
Finally, once you have gotten a reply with the answers, you have some options of how to present the content. The fastest and easiest way is to copy/paste, add an image, intro and conclusion, and you're done.
You could also write a blog post in a more journalistic style, adding your commentary, extra background research, and sprinkling long quotations through the post and citing your source at the end, with links back to your expert.
Either way, you will have some editing to do to make the interview blog-ready, but the hard part is done for you with the email interview.
4. Other interview options to consider.
There are more ways to skin this content cat. Want to deepen the content and make it more engaging? Consider the following alternatives:
Phone or Skype interview. Again, record and transcribe. This helps your expert get in depth without taking the time and brainpower to write. A 20-minute phone call can capture a conversational tone and provide a deep learning opportunity.
Podcast interview.Do you have aradio show or podcast? Invite guests to call in or show up in person and interview them.
5. Offer to do an interview in return.
Chances are your expert might be looking for a way to get content for his or her blog, too. This is a great opportunity to build links back to your website and to reach new audiences. Get proactive. Offer to do an interview on a partner or client's blog where business interests and audiences might intersect. Always make sure to include links to your blog, website and social media accounts.
Did you enjoy this post? Don't just read, do something with your knowledge. If you're interested in interviewing anyone on the SpinWeb team about marketing, website design, strategy, business consulting or public speaking, please let me know! We'd love to get involved.