This is a Guest Post by Brankica Underwood. Brankica teaches you how to Blog like a star the simple way. You can find her on Google+.
Interviews are one of the things you will read a lot about, as one of the traffic generation strategies. How effective are they really?
They are very effective if you choose the questions and the person you are interviewing very carefully.
I have posted one interview on my blog and it was a big success. I did take a different approach from what we are used to, but that just made it even more effective.
I did the both things right, I chose great questions and great people to interview. My interview included 25 bloggers and the questions were not about blogging.
That created a lot of interest with readers since it was the first opportunity for them to read something else, not just blogging tips from their favorite bloggers. (http://live-your-love.com/blog-interview-25-bloggers/)
Another reason this interview worked, along with all similar ones I keep reading, was that it wasn’t an interview with one person that gets asked 10 questions. Asking one or two good questions to a group of people, usually experts in your niche, might work much better.
How to chose the perfect questions?
As with everything related to successful blogs and websites, you need to know your customers (readers). You need to know what they want to read about.
- Ask your email list what they want to know more about.
- Create a poll on your blog using a plugin like Polldaddy.
- Dig through your Google Analytics account and see what questions is your blog found for.
- Set up Search tracking on your blog (through Analytics) to see what people are typing in your blog’s search box.
How to chose the right people?
Some of the people you might want to consider:
- Experts in your niche (no brainer).
- “Hidden gems” in your niche - I actually know a few bloggers whose blogs are not that popular but their content is better than of those big named ones.
- Up and coming bloggers - if you see some potential in these bloggers, not only will you get the fresh info they are putting out, but they will never forget what you did for them when they were starting out.
- Related but not competing bloggers - if you are blogging about travel in Europe, any blogger from USA travel related sites will work.
How to ensure success?
Make the interview post timeless. Don’t ask people about latest news, because that will be using someone’s time and good will for a post that will be outdated in matter of weeks (or less). You want to use your “interview points” for important, evergreen things.
Also, don’t send the questions out and expect to get your post up in several days. I gave 3 weeks to people to answer. That ensured that the majority of them will take part in it and that is exactly what happened.
Connect with blogger before you send the questions. Don’t just send the interview questions out of the blue. Personally, I never take part in those. Why?
If you think I am worthy of an interview, why wasn’t I worthy a short introduction on Twitter or Google+ so I would learn about you and your blog beforehand.
If you are creating a series, don’t ask the same questions every time. For example, if your topic is social media, ask Twitter related questions to Twitter power users and keep the Google+ questions for early adopters of this social network.
Extra tip: I am mostly referring to written interviews, but you can make even bigger impact by doing audio or video interviews.
What not to do?
I have had a funny thing happen related to interviews. I got an email from a guy that just started his blog and he wanted me to interview him.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love helping, but his blog was not at all that great, he was giving nothing new and fresh to his readers and he was calling himself something along the lines of “world’s best converting marketer”.
In that same email not only he suggested I should interview him but he said “If you don’t have the time, I can send you both the questions and answers and you just need to publish it”.
Of course I refused. It sounded very needy to me and I didn’t like the way he has done it. I suggest never to offer something like that.
If someone wants to interview you, they will contact you. You can ask your online friends if they might find an interview with you useful, but don’t push them.
The main reason interviews work for blogs
Unless you are interviewing a person that already has hundreds of interviews published, you are basically getting a free PR employee for free. Well, that sounds harsh, but it is true.
The person you interview will share the interview with his/her followers and possibly promote it on their blog. That is free exposure and links.
This is the reason why it is important to choose the person carefully.
As mentioned before, if you ask Twitter related questions to a Twitter power user, it is more than likely that he/she will share it on Twitter which again means it will get a lot of attention over there.
People will land on an interview page with Twitter tips and since being so highly engaged and interested in it, they will share it again - on Twitter.
Interviews can bring you a lot of exposure, traffic, links and fresh content. All you have to do is plan them carefully and make sure you are interviewing the right person.
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