This guest post is by Srinivas Rao of The Skool of Life.
The idea of interviewing people might give you the jitters. It might make you feel like you’re standing naked in front of your elementary classroom with nothing intelligent to ask or say. But the only way you’re ever going to find out is if you put yourself out there.
I took a gamble and started interviewing people as part of a weekly series on my blog. That eventually became my calling card in the blogosphere. David Siteman Garland built his show The Rise to the Top through interviews and went on to publish a book. And Andrew Warner at Mixergy has interviewed some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and built his own brand in the process.
Interviewing experts in your field is a gold mine waiting to be cashed in on, and it offers many benefits to the blogger.
1. Create killer content
Interviewing other people, especially those who are experts in their field, is a great way to create killer content for your blog.
When you interview an expert you end up creating highly educational, valuable content that your audience can learn from. It brings a different perspective to your audience, and gives them ideas they may not have considered before. The key to turning your interview into killer content is to put the spotlight on your interviewee.
2. Build lasting relationships
The greatest benefit I’ve received from interviewing people is the relationships that I’ve formed with them. The people I’ve interviewed have become some of my biggest supporters and greatest friends.
When you interview somebody you have an opportunity to have a conversation that goes beyond what you might have via email, Twitter, or blog comments. As a result you have an opportunity to form a stronger connection with that person.
The benefits of interviewing people have extended far beyond blog traffic for me. When one of the bloggers I interviewed learned that I was moving to Costa Rica, she introduced me to some real estate developers who provided me with six months of rent-free living in exchange for some social media and online marketing advice.
When I found out I would be speaking at Blogworld NYC, I jokingly wrote about the fact that I was going to land from Costa Rica without having a suit to wear for my speech. Another blogger I’d interviewed asked me for my size and he bought be a brand new suit and shipped it to my friend’s place.
The beauty of relationships is that they provide a solid foundation that will extend beyond the life of your blog. After all the blogosphere is fueled entirely by people, so getting to know a few will be essential to your success.
3. Spot business opportunities
When you interview people, you may even come across potential business opportunities.
A well-known blogger on the Adage 150 list who I interviewed extended me an invitation to be a paid contributor to his blog. I ended up launching a product with another blogger I interviewed that enabled me to generate my first couple hundred dollars online. I’ve always believed that conversations evolve into relationships, and relationships evolve into opportunities.
4. Gain valuable advice
Interviewing people has resulted me in getting tens of thousands of dollars in valuable advice.
When I first started interviewing people my mindset was, “This person is famous. They’ll tweet each interview and it will go viral.” That never happened, and the problem with that mindset was that it was all about me.
I soon came to the realization that I had the attention of a person who charges hundreds of dollars an hour for their time. If I made it all about what I could learn and what I could teach my audience, the quality of the interview would go up dramatically.
From that point forward I treated everyone I interviewed as if I was paying for their time. Given that you’ll often spend some time talking to your interviewee “off the record,” you’ll likely also get some invaluable insights on how to grow your blog or business.
5. Expand your platform
They say around 95% of communication is non-verbal. And one thing I think most bloggers don’t do nearly enough of is experiment with different types of content. A blog is a multi-format platform. You can use written content, audio content, and video content. While most bloggers have a presence on Twitter and Facebook there aren’t nearly as many who have a presence on iTunes. In fact it’s a great differentiator when you consider the following:
- The competition for written content is vast.
- With audio content the competition decreases.
- With video content there is even less competition.
When you interview people (especially using audio or video), you have an opportunity to experiment with different types of content and differentiate yourself from other bloggers.
6. Connect more deeply with your audience
While writing is a nice way to let your audience get to know you, when your audience gets to hear your voice, you’ll be able to form a deeper connection with them.
Human beings are dynamic and the written word is one of many ways in which we communicate. Exploring multimedia content like audio and video humanizes your brand and gives your audience a more in-depth view into who you are beyond your writing.
7. Build traffic
Interviews can also send a significant amount of traffic to your blog. When you interview influential people, it’s likely they’ll share your interview with their audience and if it’s a high-quality interview you’ll end up getting traffic to your blog.
While traffic is a nice benefit, experience has showed me that you shouldn’t interview people in the hopes of generating more traffic. In fact, the reason I ranked it last on this list is because I think all the other benefits of interviewing people significantly outweigh the traffic increase that you’ll get.
So what are you waiting for? In the famous words of AT&T “Reach out and touch someone.”