How to Get Interviews with Industry Experts for Your Website or Blog


How to Get Interviews with Industry Experts for Your Website or Blog


Interviews with personalities from your niche are great content. They act as an endorsement for your site, give you credibility and drive free search engine traffic.


Who Should You Interview


My interviewees are broken up into two groups:

  • Personalities/celebrities - recognised experts within your niche. They could be journalists, authors, business owners, etc
  • Case studies – often unknown people within your niche who have achieved what your audience is trying to achieve

Types of Interview


There are essentially three types of interview:

  • Face to Face – this is preferable as the body language will give you a much greater insight into what is being said. You also have the opportunity to create a video which makes for outstanding content

  • Telephone Interview – Next best thing to being their in person is to do the interview over the phone. Listeners can learn a lot just by the way answers are spoken. You can record it and turn it into a podcast.

  • Written Interview – Finally you can send questions to the interviewee and they can write down their responses. Sometimes this works well because the answers are thorough and well thought through. Other times you will get short superficial responses.

Here is the process that I have found works to get interviews:

Personal Introduction


If you can use your network of friends to get a introduction to the person you want to interview it will greatly increase the chance of success. LinkedIn and Facebook  can show you who knows who.


Send an Email Request


If you cannot get an introduction try sending an email in the first instance. Make the subject line ‘Request for Interview’. You should be able to find a way of contacting them on their website

Keep The Email Short and to the Point


Your email should me no more than 10 lines long. The recipient should be able to scan read it in less than a minute. Introduce yourself, your website and what your proposal is. Then answer the question …

What’s In It For Them?


In the email clearly spell out what’s in for them. This could be access to a new audience, the opportunity to promote their website or services, an inbound link from a highly ranked page, free promotion via your email newsletter, etc.

Alternatively you could offer to do something for them like write a post for their website, promote their product or service, etc.

Time and Timing


Give an indication in the email of how long you think the interview will last and offer to send the questions in advance. Offer them a couple of dates, but give them the option of suggesting an alternative time. Make the date at least two weeks away so there is more of a chance there is a gap in their diary.

Opportunities to Meet


Do your research to see if there are any events that they are attending which you could go to. It is preferable to meet

Be Polite and Professional


It should go without saying that your email should be very polite and professional. Check grammar and spelling before you click send. Don’t grovel and beg, or resort to gushing compliments, they will leave the impression that you are either desperate or an amateur.

Do Your Research


Make sure you do your research or you could end up looking like a fool. If your interviewee has a website, blog or book, read it!

Prepare the Questions


It is unforgiveable to go into an interview without preparing the questions. I always find that you get a better quality answer if you send the questions in advance. There should be no more than 10 questions.

Think carefully how they are phrased. You don’t want yes and no answers (closed questions). You want your interviewee to have lots of opportunity to share their experience so ask open questions:

  • Example closed question: "Do you think we are heading into recession?"

  • Example open question: "What impact do you think a recession will have on our industry?"

Finally on questions, leave the door open for them to suggest other areas that might be of interest to your audience.

Always Follow Up


At every stage of the process you should follow up in a professional manner.

If you get a response that says they’re not interested, still send an email thanking them for considering your email and responding. Also add something useful in your email such as “By the way I saw this excellent article and thought it might be of interest to you…”. If you help them it may just be enough to change their mind.

If you get a positive response, send an email to thank them, confirm the details and enclose the questions. This will keep the momentum going.

Most importantly follow up after the interview. Thank them and give them a link to the interview. Make sure you deliver on any promises you made about links, promotions, testimonials, etc.

Make the Most of The Results


Once you have an interview, maximise its potential by promoting it across the web. Go to relevant blogs and forums and mention it there. Put clips on YouTube and iTunes if appropriate (with the interviewee’s permission of course).

Conclusion


When you start trying to get interviews expect your success rate to be between 5% and 10%. As you become more experienced (and better known) your success rate will improve.

Persevere. Interviews are not only great content, but they will help you network at the highest level of your sector. This will boost your credibility and authority and before you know it, people will be contacting you for interviews!