I’m going to let you in on a secret about content marketing that may change the way you look at it. Here it is:
You don’t have to be a thought leader to blog about your niche.
That’s right. In many instances, you don’t need to know the first thing about your topic. All you need is a curious mind and an ability to put words together well.
That’s it. Seriously.
How do you think journalists crank out content on so many different topics.? They aren’t encyclopedias. They just know how to ask questions and share what they learn.
The interview is a simple and time-tested approach to creating content and anyone can do it.
Whom Should You Interview?
If you know you aren’t a thought leader in your chosen topic, chances are you know who is. Start your list of possible interviewees with them. Then consider, who they are talking about. Who is being quoted in industry magazines and blogs. Consider past speakers from your event. To get more promotional value, highlight anyone who will be leading a session at your next event.
How Do You Approach Interviewees?
Some of us shy folks (and believe me, I can tend to be one) get nervous about approaching people for interviews. Remember, the vast majority are flattered and delighted to have the chance to share their knowledge or opinion.
Just send an email introducing yourself, include a link to your blog, and ask if they’d be willing to answer a few questions. If they agree, and usually they do, make sure to get a short bio and headshot to include with your interview.
The Q & A blog interview is one of the easiest and most foolproof ways to generate useful content. I usually email 5 or 6 questions to an interviewee and let them respond via email.
You may want to remind your subject that you are trying to stick to a limited number of words in your post. Because blog readers aren’t known for long attention spans, I usually keep my blog posts to around 700 words or so.
News or Feature Article
If you have more time and are a little more ambitious, you may want to do a few interviews and assemble them together in an article. These kinds of stories rely more on the writer’s narrative abilities and include quotes to illustrate the main points.
For examples, just look at your favorite newspaper or magazine. A news article will be less colorful with the who, what, why, when and how all included in the first paragraph. Feature stories allow you to be more creative and take your time getting to the lead.
A fun and easy way to get content for your blog is to do a Skype interview or a Broadcast Google Hangout. Recording an interview on Skype will require you to download software that may cost money.
However, broadcasting a Google Hangout is free. In most cases, you’ll need to upload your video to your You Tube account and then get an embed code that will allow you to post the video directly on your blog.
If your subject is not too far away, you can arrange to meet and record your interview with a video camera or mobile device. In these cases, always test your sound to make sure it is adequate. With a mobile device you may need to keep the camera close or use a separate microphone.
One of the best ways to get a lot of blog content at once is to attend an industry conference (or your own event) where you have access to many thought leaders with whom you can schedule interviews throughout the day.
Podcast/Blog Talk Radio
There are other options for doing interviews, of course. Two that I have heard are podcasts and BlogTalkRadio, both of which usually involve producing a regular show. Meetings Podcast is one with which event professionals may be familiar. Or you may like to try producing your own radio show such as The Event Alley Show.
Interviews truly are no-brainers when it comes to producing quality content for your blog. And the forms in which they can be presented are numerous. When it comes to creating your editorial calendar and content marketing strategy, you may want to begin with this valuable tool to ensure you always have abundant content that your audience will find interesting.
(A version of this post was first published on The Cvent Blog.)