You can’t be an authority without being connected to other experts.
After selling his advertising agency my father stepped up his love for collecting and selling fine art. He frequently says that if young artists hang on the walls next to prominent artists, they will immediately become more famous themselves.
Part of becoming an authority or celebrity is perception and interviewing other experts places you in the limelight with them.
Benefits of interviewing experts and influencer marketing
- Get visitors and subscribers from a related but larger experts audience
- Get links from trusted sites
- Show Google your connection to other trusted sources via back links and mentions
- Form essential relationships with people that otherwise might not connect with you
- Build quality co-created content
- Leverage podcasting and/or video
- Turn your audience interview series into a reason that media sites will feature you
6 steps to landing interviews with important people that will skyrocket your authority and website success
- Identify experts and influencers
- Read their blogs and books and get on their radar via social media
- Find their contact information and email them
- Develop interview questions and a keyword rich headline
- Conduct the interview
- Promote the interview
- Identify experts and influencers
As an expert and/or entrepreneur your time is precious, so it’s essential that you pick the most relevant and high-value targets for your interviews.
It’s easier than you think to convince people to show up for a 20 to 30 minute interview, so shoot for either influencers with a strong social following, search ranking, some celebrity or at least ones that can teach your audience something unique.
Influencer marketing tools
BuzzSumo helps you find content being shared around topics and identify who shared it. It also helps you find influencers based on keywords and hashtags.
FollowerWonk from Moz lets you find new influencers, search Twitter bios, track and sort followers and compare users.
Klout is one tool to use for finding influencers based on social media status. It’s not perfect but it can be a good discovery tool.
Amazon New Releases – Authors are also great to interview, especially around a niche topic. One of the best ways to promote a book is by doing lots of interviews, so if you can catch writers in new book or product promotion mode, chances are high of them saying yes to an interview.
- Research and connect on social media
The next step is to read their blog posts, about us pages, previous interviews and ideally even their books.
As you get to know their work, start to share it on twitter, other social media channels, comment on their blogs and subscribe to their email newsletters.
Influencers are much more likely to respond to an interview request if they know you are one of their regular readers.
A more advanced step is to use BuzzSumo to review the types of content they tend to share.
Remember that you don’t need hundreds of influencers and starting with as little as 5 or 10 that you really get to know is a good idea. Later you can build it up top 25 or so when you are more advanced.
- Get their contact information and email them
There are various ways to get an influencers contact information or email address, even if it’s not listed on their website.
When you send an email consider the following.
- Be very brief and praise their work
- Show you are on a noble mission
- List other interviews you have done for social proof
- Point out any issues they might be having with their website or share a helpful article that is highly relevant to them
Here is an email template from Boost Blog Traffic as a guide:
You can almost always find influencer’s Twitter handle and direct message them as well.
- Develop interview questions and a powerful title
One of the best reactions I got from an interview was from John W. Hayes of iContact.
I read some of his book on Becoming THE Expert and used the table of contents to help generate the questions for the interview.
He said he loved the questions since they were right in his sweet spot. This helped us to connect really well and the iContact team shared the interview repeatedly.
Make sure to use the Google Adwords keyword planner to see what popular key phrases might be used in the title and in the questions as well. This way you do better in organic search, especially if you have the interview transcribed. With that said, don’t jam keywords into the headline if it is much better without them.
Send the questions at least a few days in advance, so they will have some time to think about the topic. People really appreciate this and it makes for a deeper interview.
Also make sure to write a decent intro and make sure they are comfortable with how you have described their title and brief bio.
Generally speaking, we get about 500 words of transcribed text from each 5 minute answer to a question. If you go reasonably fast, you can do around eight questions in a half an hour, although it depends on how long each individual takes to answer a question. Have some extra questions prepared in case someone is terribly brief.
- Conduct the interview
The day before the interview, send a reminder just to keep them on your radar.
Have a printout of the intro and questions ready, 10 to 20 minutes in advance.
Here are some options for basic interview techniques from a technology perspective.
- Interviews via Skype
- The free version of blog talk radio
- An MP3 recorder used in person
- An MP3 recorder hooked up through a mixing board where you use Skype or a landline to send in the audio.
- Email interviews are also an option but do far less to build relationships
Tell people in advance to avoid using a cell phone to be in a reasonably quiet place.
Start with easier softball questions such as “how did you get started doing XYZ?”. Then you can build up in intensity as you go and always try to have at least one semi-controversial or moderately tough question to spice things up.
Quick gear tips:
Skype headset from Amazon: Sennheiser PC 8 USB
MP3 Recorder: Roland R-05
- Promote your interviews
One of the biggest mistakes I have made is doing an interview with an important person and then merely posting it without much promotion.
Interviews take time, thought and are valuable pieces of content. Make sure you do some of these content promotion strategies to get the most out of each interview.
- Ask the interviewee to promote it via email and social media
- Share it on your social media networks numerous times not just once
- Email it to your list
- Repost on LinkedIn pulse and/or medium
- Pay for Facebook promoted posts, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon or Twitter promotion etc.
- Syndicate it to iTunes and Stitcher
- Email anyone mentioned in the interview
- Email people who shared similar pieces of content. BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding similar content and who shared it.
- Post the transcript with it for better SEO results
Interviewing other experts and influencers can open doors to great things but you have to be consistent.
When I do weekly interviews, I can feel the pulse pumping along and building. When I do them randomly, I am more likely to let it slide when people cancel and forget to follow up. Having a set time that you do the interviews, like a radio show, will help you build momentum and keep on track.
One of the best things you can do is to turn your interviews into a series and make an e-book, survey and/or product out of it.
The following are some examples of interview series:
Whatever you do, don’t give up because many experts and bloggers who “made it”, tell a similar story of it taking years to succeed and that success often comes long after you think you have failed. As Seth Godin says “The Person Who Fails the Most Wins’”.
Almost all top bloggers, authorities and journalists do interviews and they have propelled many to fame.
Are you ready to become a famous host and if not, what is holding you back?