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7 Ways Interviews Can Skyrocket Blog Growth

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.”

Srinivas Rao is the author of The Skool of Life and the host/co-founder of BlogcastFM. Download his FREE Webinar on the 7 Pillars of Blog Traffic.

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Comments

  1. I really need to get on the interview train, I’ve done some email ones, but that was a few years ago, but I’m thinking of doing some video ones in the near future, thanks for sharing Srinivas, it has made me seriously think about doing it.

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Jamie,

      I think you’ll see that when you have an actual conversation via skype for phone with some it creates a much deeper connection with them. Just reach out to anybody and they will almost all say yes. In Richard Branson’s bio he talks about the importance of always saying yes to interview people. I’m happy to be your first interview :)

  2. I would also add that interviews are great SEO value.

    I interview online course creators and as part of the process they also get to mention their own course and give it a plug. I have been amazed by the traffic I receive from people googling the course looking for more information.

    Cheers

    Ainslie

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      That’s a great point. I think interviews are a great way to also create really high value supplemental material for your products as you noted here. It’s amazing how interviews can evolve into so much more.

  3. Carey says:

    This is very true.

    Interviews are my most popular articles on one of my blogs.

    They are always interesting (to readers and myself) and establishes my blog as an authority.

  4. Chris Doyle says:

    Thank you for the post, i found it insightful yet practical. It was good to get a step by step approach

  5. I love doing interviews but these days, I don’t do nearly enough of them. For me, it started out as a way to engage and connect with authors on their work and share advice with out readers. We did most of them live using TalkShoe, then I’d edit and publish on the blog.

    I didn’t really have an agenda, I just wanted to have a really good discussion with the people we selected. What resulted was a lively audience and some generous traffic (one interview gave me 28k visitors in a day). Not sure how that happened, heh. And I’ve never hit that peak again, but it was pretty darn cool bonus.

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Ricardo,

      You hit the nail on the head. You didn’t have an angenda. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they assume that they can interview somebody well known and it will send them tons of traffic and make them famous. It has to be all about the guest and the people who are listening (something I learned first hand after 6 months of interviews).

  6. Ava Jae says:

    I haven’t done any interviews yet, but it sounds like a fantastic idea (with way more benefits than I might have thought). Thanks for sharing this! I’ll have to think more seriously about interviews from now on.

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Ava,

      I think you’ll find it’s absolutely a fantastic thing to do and the benefits extend far beyond what you might have thought.

  7. Alan Tay says:

    This could be one of the missing piece in my blog. I love reading interviews but never did one on others before. However I had a concern here is that, is it difficult to reach those big names people to interview them? As you had mentioned, hours of their time might actually worth hundreds of dollars …

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Hey Alan,

      Your mileage will vary with different people. Some people are extremely open when it comes to interviews, while others you just won’t hear back from. But don’t let that discourage you. Once you get through the first one you’ll see it’s far easier than you think.

  8. Romy Singh says:

    Hello Srinivas,

    taking interviews is a really good idea for growing your blog Networks and traffic and also as you say in you’re post it also help us to build a long lasting relationship.

    Till now i never get a chanced to take a interview of any successful blogger but I’m very eager to know how it feel when you sit in front of your blogging idol and ask some question that helps you and other to improve their self.

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Romy,

      I’ve done almost 200 interviews at this point. I think it’s important not to see people as a “blogging idol” of any sort and just see them for the fact they are a person just like you. When you’re not intimidated by them then your interview will tend to flow much more easily.

  9. I once interviewed Ganesh the elephant god. But it was a spoof. That doesn’t count, does it?

  10. James Greg says:

    Appearing for an interview is really the most terrible task. Especially when appearing for a job interview. The point of making relationships is really great. It is true that friends or people who treat you as a friend can go beyond extreme to oblige you. I do the same for my friends too. The points all are valuable and worth learning. A very good post with plenty of knowledge.

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      James,

      Glad you found it useful. I think if treated as nothing more than a fun and interesting conversation interviews won’t seem like such a terrible task. Then you’ll get value out of every one of them that you do.

  11. Mark Aylward says:

    Srinivas
    How did you land your very first interview? And were you “known” already when you made first contact with your interviewee?

    Thanks
    Mark

    • Srinivas Rao says:

      Hey Mark,

      I actually was not well known at all. So I started with a weekly series called “interviews with up and coming bloggers.” I focused on all new people who had just started their blogs. Perhaps the greatest thing to come from that was my business partner Sid Savara who convinced me to start BlogcastFM.

  12. Tom Ewer says:

    This is a timely post for me. I have been considering interviewing for a few weeks now, and have been giving thought to the format and so on. Thank you for providing me with the impetus to take action!

  13. Sadiq Shaikh says:

    Hello Sriniwas,

    Great post as usual I think one must keep a seperate section for interview about the blog topic so that one can bind or make their blog busy by taking interviews of great personalisties which can inspire us and rectify or our small mistakes and make it a great experience