How to Spice Up Your Blog with Interviews
Like we talked about Tuesday, sometimes you just don’t know what to write about.
Well, there’s one surefire way to still publish epic content on a regular basis without getting burnt out.
Start running interviews on your blog.
Just look at blogs like BlogcastFM, RiseToTheTop, and Mixergy that only do interviews and have even built an entire business around it.
Besides, if you are the only person who ever writes on your site it will be refreshing for your audience to hear another person’s perspective.
In this post we’ll discuss our experience with and advice for doing interviews in all sorts of mediums (audio, video, text) as well as some tips for how to reach out to A-Listers and land an interview with them.
It is Easiest to Start With Text Interviews
The least intimidating way to start doing interviews on your blog is to just do a text interview. This is also the smallest amount of work for a number of reasons:
- You don’t have to schedule a time to talk with someone.
- Editing a text post takes less time and effort than an audio or video interview.
- You don’t have to see yourself on camera/hear yourself on a microphone.
- Your guests may feel more comfortable doing a text interview anyway.
When you are just starting out with interviews, text-based interviews are easiest.
To see a great format we use check out the two most popular text-based interviews on Think Traffic:
- How Two Women Used a Blog to Beat Their Kickstarter Campaign Goal by 227%
- How Sarai Mitnick Attracts 380k Pageviews a Month and Built a Business Around a Sewing Blog
Our Experience So Far on YouTube
We’ve been doing interviews for years here on Think Traffic (in text, audio, and video forms), but we only just recently started using YouTube for hosting our video interviews. (We used Vimeo previously.)
In just the five months we’ve had video on YouTube for Think Traffic we’ve already had over 11,000 views with over 900 views per video. The results have been even stronger considering the first 5 of the 13 videos we have on the channel were just reposted interviews we had on Vimeo.
As for Expert Enough on YouTube, we have roughly 3,500 views in just 4 episodes, for an average of about 850 per show. Not bad for a website started only four months ago.
Each channel has roughly 100 subscribers as well. Which means, every time we publish a new video it automatically shows up on the home page of YouTube for them. Pretty powerful.
To see how we use Skype and Call Recorder for Mac to do our interviews, check out our two most popular video interviews:
- How The Minimalists Built an Audience of 100,000 in Just 9 Months
- The Expert Enough Podcast / Show (Episode 1): Foreign Language Hacking with Benny Lewis
Using iTunes to Host Audio Interviews
Our four episodes are at a total of 2,413 downloads (in addition to the number of times each interview has been watched on YouTube). While publishing simultaneously on YouTube may be hurting our chances of ranking well in iTunes, we think that people appreciate being able to consume the show in whatever format they prefer. We’ll be experimenting with this further in the near future.
If you want to really dive into podcasting the best resource we’ve come across to help you get started is from our friend Cliff Ravenscraft over at Podcast Answer Man. He has a free, two hour Learn How to Podcast video tutorial where we learned everything we needed to know to get the Expert Enough podcast going. I’ve spent time with Cliff in person and he is the go to man for everything podcasting.
Study our two most popular audio interviews to figure out a good formula for asking guests worthwhile questions:
- All Sex and Six Pack Abs? What it Means to Be a Man in 2012 (with Brett McKay from Art of Manliness)
- How to Get More Traffic — an In-depth Podcast with Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income
How to Get A-Listers to Agree to an Interview
One of the best reasons to do interviews is to connect with people you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk to. You get to pick the brain of someone that would normally cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to get one-on-one coaching from for free.
When you reach out to someone you haven’t been in contact with before you want to make sure they say yes though. The best ways to get people to agree to do an interview are to:
- Keep the request short and sweet.
- Mention the exact reason why they would be a good fit for your audience.
- Make it as painless for them as possible (e.g. don’t make them record it or do formatting of their text).
Heck, sometimes people will start to notice what you are doing and reach out to you first. This is how I was able to connect with and set up an interview with Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA. We featured him in a piece of content, he tweeted us to say thank you, and I reached out on Skype to see if he wanted to be on the EE Show.
Getting the Most Out of Your Interview
Here are three rules to help you get the most out of your interviews:
- Choose interesting, dynamic and relevant guests.
Whether your interview will be a big success depends a lot on how interesting and relevant your guest is to your audience. It also depends on how fun and dynamic your guest is.
- Ask great questions.
You should always spend time preparing prior to your interview. Take time to investigate your guest. Read about what they’ve been up to. Take notes on which of their projects and accomplishments are potentially the most interesting to your audience.
For a typical 20-45 minute interview, make a list of 15 to 20 questions you’d like to ask on the call.
Remain flexible and don’t worry if you don’t get all the questions in. Listen carefully to your guest and be ready to ask good follow-up questions as they come to mind.
Don’t get sucked into your script and stick only to your prepared questions. This will come off as stiff and you’ll miss opportunities to draw out some juicy details from your guest.
- Introduce the interview well.
Don’t just post your YouTube or iTunes link within your blog post. You need to tell people why the interview is relavant and how it will help them.
Include bullet points about what your readers or viewers will learn from the interview. Include show notes and links to relevant resources (hint: this is an opportunity to include affiliate links if appropriate).
Then, suggest actions your readers can take based on what they learned from the interview. Ask people to comment on something they learned from the interview if you want to get more comments on your post.
If you’re running the interview on YouTube, iTunes or elsewhere, you can ask people to subscribe and comment on those platforms as well.
For more great tips on interviewing, check out our guest post from Srinivas Rao on how to use interviews to increase traffic to your blog.
Now take action.
If you’re a content producer and haven’t tried running an interview before, try one in the next few weeks. Follow our tips above. If you have other questions, let us know below. We’re happy to help.
Then come back here and let us know how your interview turned out. Share a link below.
If you’ve already run some interviews, we’d love to know: what kind of success have you had running interviews on your website? Post a link to your best interview below.
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