One of the strategies in your marketing toolkit today should be the interview process. The interview, or a simple question and answer session, can be very effective in facilitating the creation of a variety of valuable customer facing content such as blog posts or profile articles, to content that is strictly for internal company use.
The beauty of the interview process is that you can simply hold a conversation that you record and have transcribed into text. Speech to text software is now built into computers and smart phones, or you can use a transcription service. You now have both text and audio versions of your content. Both versions can be re purposed into additional formats including video and Power Points. You can get additional mileage by extracting short quotes or sound bites to use as social posts and tweets.
What works so well about this format is that most people are comfortable speaking about their business, product or service, than they are writing about it. Most people also prefer being directed and prompted. A blank white page with free range, can be very daunting.
Ask a client to write a testimonial for your business. They’ll wonder what to write about and put it off. Sending them 3 questions to answer about your business is a much easier and more comfortable way for them to respond, taking the guesswork out of it for them.
The beauty of the interview process is that it is a strategically designed set of questions that can help you elicit the story that you would like to tell. Whether you are interviewing a customer a strategic partner or one of your staff, by strategically designing the questions you get to shape the outcome, and can reap the benefits of 3rd party credibility – someone else telling your story and singing your praises.
Here are my Top 10 Interview Types:
1. Customer Input
Many companies do not take advantage of this simple and obvious activity. Your client will be more than happy to tell you what their biggest challenges are and what they would like help with; then when you offer that solution they’re sure to buy.
Clients are usually happy to give you a testimonial however many businesses don’t even ask. Create an easy format with questions that prompt the client’s response, and your clients will thank you. They are often uncomfortable not knowing what to write, so when you remove the guesswork it is easy for them to just get it done.
3. Case studies
This is an underutilized form of content for your business. Case studies are so valuable because they show prospects how you solved another company’s problem, which gives prospects the ability to see themselves in your existing client, and basically try your solution on for size. It is also a form of third-party credibility, which carries more weight than a description of that very same service does in your company brochure or website.
4. Product Research
Interview customers to find out what they like about your products, as well as features they would like to see added. Everyone loves to be consulted and offer his or her opinion. Your customers probably use your products more than your own staff does and have probably already thought of things that could be improved or features that will make your product better. Make this an ongoing each aspect of your marketing and product development and research
6. Industry Insight
Interview a partner or vendor about different aspects of your industry. This can create a thought leadership piece and help inform your customers and your prospects about your industry trends, inner workings and the state of affairs.
7. Interview a Recognized Expert or Thought leader
By interviewing a thought leader, you are giving people access to someone they know and respect, as well as getting the benefit of greater exposure due to your expert’s popularity. This also positions you as a top expert and a peer of the thought leader.
8. Interview Staff
A staff interview can create content that introduces your staff and the role that they play in your business. This personalizes your business, provides insight into who a customer or vendor will be working with, and helps deepen engagement with your brand. This helps create greater consumer confidence, as people buy when they feel they ‘know, like and trust’ the company.
9. Interview Yourself
The interview format works very well to generate content more quickly, so why not use it yourself, wearing both the interviewer and subject hats. If you decide to keep your finished piece in an interview format, no one needs to know who the interviewer was, however you can also turn the interview content into a general article.
10. Interview to create a book
This one is possibly my favorite. Use an interview format to create a book. Many professionals, entrepreneurs and the public in general are interested in writing a book, yet it’s a daunting project that often gets put off repeatedly for that very reason. Using a strategically designed set of questions, it’s easy to create the content for your book through an interview. Your book can be published keeping the interview format, as I do with the books that I publish for my clients, or you can turn your answers into prose. Either way, it helps you get your book written much more quickly and efficiently so you can reap the benefits of being a published author.
The interview format is incredibly versatile and can be included in your marketing and content toolkit to help you create the variety of content that are required in today’s marketplace. Using interviews in your marketing can help grow all aspects of your business. The value of the interview format can be clarity. Simple questions, answered directly. I recently interviewed a colleague who runs a unique marketing service, for a profile in an online magazine. After reading the published interview, one of her prospects commented,
“Now I really understand what you do and the value of your service.”
That is the power of asking the right questions. Ready to put interviews to work for your business?
Note- this article was written using an interview format [I interviewed myself using a speech to text software] then edited the text for the final article.
This post first appeared in Business2Community