The Art of the Interview as a Content Marketing Piece

There are dozens of mediums and formats for content these days, from infographics and written articles to in-depth tutorial videos. Every content marketing campaign deserves a bit of diversity, sampling from a number of different content areas, but ultimately you want to favor pieces of content with a high degree of potential for visibility and reputation that don’t take an exhausting amount of time, effort, or money to create.

Enter the interview, one of the most cost-effective and utilitarian pieces you can create for a content marketing campaign. Why are interviews so special?

Key Advantages of Interviews

There are a handful of key qualities that make interviews so effective:

  • Interviews don’t have a standard format, other than one person communicating with another. You can sit across from each other in a room, teleconference multiple people in, ask short-form or long-form questions, or do almost anything else you want. This makes the medium approachable for newcomers and adaptable for seasoned experts who want to try new things. There aren’t many ways to go wrong here, and that makes interviews powerful.
  • Mutual benefits. Interviews are good for everyone involved! There’s a mutual benefit to being the interviewer as well as the interviewee, which helps you in a number of areas. First, it becomes easier to find willing interview candidates. Second, each of you will have an incentive to promote the interview—so you’re essentially doubling your syndication power.
  • Automatic link building potential. You’re almost guaranteed a backlink with an interview, whether you’re hosting one or participating in one. The interviewer and interviewee typically point to each other as a recognition of the relationship, which in turn sends domain authority to both parties. The more people you interview, the more diverse your backlink pool is going to be.
  • Opportunities for thought leadership. Aside from the shell construct of the interview, the actual content is an opportunity to show off your authority in the industry. Not only will you get to work with major influencers in your industry, you’ll have a chance to lead the conversation with hard-hitting questions or new insights. This is your chance to show that you’re on top of your game, and prove your worth to your audience.
  • Minimal upfront investment. Realistically, interviews don’t take much work—at least not compared to an infographic or interactive graphical video. All you need to do is write up and practice some questions beforehand, and let your interviewee do most of the talking once your cameras start rolling (or however you’re recording the conversation).
  • Multiple mediums. Interviews also give you the ability to take one piece of content and adapt it to multiple mediums, which allows you to hit the biggest possible cross-section of your demographics. For example, you can film your interview on video, then create a downloadable audio file, and then record a transcript, so you get the best of all worlds of video, audio, and written content.
  • Once you’ve done one interview, you’ll essentially have a blueprint you can use for multiple future interviews. You don’t have to use the same questions over and over again, nor should you, but you’ll have a general directional flow, and you can ask some of your most popular interview questions of competing industry influencers to compare and contrast their answers.

How to Execute an Interview for Maximum Effect

Now that you recognize the importance of interviews, let’s take a look at some of the most important tenets of creating “good” interviews:

  • Choose the right interviewee. You need to find interviewees who are in your space, and the more authoritative they are, the better. You’re going to be sharing their audience once the interview goes live, so the bigger and more active that audience is, the more you stand to gain.
  • Prepare your questions in advance. Don’t try to improvise an interview; take the time to sketch out questions in advance, and practice them so you retain your poise during the actual interview. Try to ask questions that drive a conversation, and show off your industry knowledge.
  • Show off your personality. At their core, interviews are an engaging human experience; they’re a conversation, and people will be looking for conversational elements. This is your chance to show off your personality, and possibly humanize your brand in the process. Don’t come off as stale or robotic.
  • Make it available. Once you’ve recorded your interview, make it as available as possible by translating it to different mediums and hosting it different places; for example, you’ll want to upload it to YouTube in addition to hosting it on your site, and offer full transcripts and audio files for the recording.
  • Promote it. Finally, you’ll want to promote your interview as much as possible, and enlist your interviewee’s help with the process. People don’t generally discover interviews on their own unless they’re a part of a series, so use your social media channels to gain more traction.

With the right practices in place, interviews can be one of the most powerful forms of content you can produce. Every interview you create has the potential to earn you a massive boost in authority, not to mention cross-pollinating with the audience of the person you’re interviewing. It takes time to become adept at planning and conducting interviews, like every form of content demands practice for perfection, but the end results and raw potential are worth it.

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