Interviews and Webinars
Meet New People and Develop New Relationships
Through Interviews and Webinars
In this lesson, we’re going to talk about conducting interviews and doing webinars. Our focus will be on audio interviews, rather than written ones, but you can certainly apply a lot of the advice to written interviews if you prefer.
The great news is, interviews are possibly the easiest way to make a business connection with someone you don’t know. Most online business owners are open to being interviewed. All you have to do is make it easy for them to be interviewed and make the opportunity as attractive as possible.
Easy and attractive… that’s going to be a common theme in all of the lessons. We always want it to be a no-brainer for people to work with us. J
And there’s even more great news. If you’re a little bit shy about the quality of your own content and things like guest blogging make you nervous, interviewing someone relieves you of that pressure. All you do is ask questions and the expert you’re interviewing provides the great content.
Your interviews can be individual recordings that you share freely, add to a membership or even sell as a product. Or they can be part of a podcast where you record different interviews on a regular basis.
Your webinars can be free events that you use to grow a list and attract new audience members, or they can be a paid product where everyone pays to attend. Your free webinars might simply be information only or you might promote your guest’s product as a way to create more revenue for you and your guest (because you’ll be using an affiliate link, right?).
There are so many ways to approach it, but don’t overthink it – just keep it simple if you haven’t done interviews before. The key is getting out there and growing a new relationship.
Before we continue, here’s a little something that you should keep in mind…
The Golden Rule of Online Interviewing:
If you want more people to say yes to your interview requests, there is one thing you should always do, and it’s something that’s often expected in the online community. Offer the person you are interviewing full rights to their recording and, if possible, have it transcribed so they have a product they can use as well.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about why you want to interview people and why others will want to be interviewed by you.
Benefits to You:• Open the door to a new mutually beneficial business connection. We know this… this is why you’re working through this course. You want meet new people and forge new relationships.• Great content for your audience. And it’s easy content too. Just come up with the questions and roll with it. • Bolster your reputation by interviewing experts and influential people in your niche. The quality of your guests is a reflection on you, so if you interview good people, you look good too.• Expand your reach when your guests publicize their interviews. Most people like to share the interviews they’ve taken part in. When your guest tells their readers about your interview, you get in front of new people. • Increased sales from any products you promote in the interview or webinar… or if people have to pay to get in the webinar, you get paid for that.
Benefits to Your New Connection:• A polished product they can share with their audience. Give them the audio recording or video, plus a transcript. This is a very attractive part of being interviewed. • Not only do you expand your reach by getting in front of their audience, they also get the same benefit when you promote their interview. • They get to sell more products by promoting theirs in the interview. Always give your guests a chance to tell your audience about their products and even encourage them to make a special offer for better results. • A new connection for them…and that’s YOU! Remember, you’re worth knowing too, and the new relationship begins with the interview.
As you can see it’s a win-win-win for you, your guest and your audiences. Now, just like last time, there are 3 things to keep in mind, and those are being targeted, being prepared and nurturing the relationship. Let’s discuss those in relation to conducting interviews.
Keep in Mind• Be Targeted: This will be covered in the next section, but look for people who are the best fit for you. Who would your audience want to hear from and what questions would they like answered? Don’t worry about who is the most famous Internet celeb in your general niche…get the people your audience really wants to hear from.• Be Prepared: This is part of making it easy for people to work with you. Be flexible in your scheduling and ensure you’re always ready to go when it’s time. Have great questions and have the technology ready to create a great product… and help your guest with the technology if they aren’t familiar with it. Also, ensure you can have your recordings quickly and easily transcribed. If you need assistance, have someone do the transcription for you.• Nurture: Don’t just stop at the interview. Keep in touch by sharing feedback you receive from their interview and let the conversation develop. Work together in other ways. If you’re short on ideas, here are 7 other ones.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get this interview thing going…
Who Should You Interview
You should already be in tune with who some of the players in your niche are (knowing who’s out there should be regular habit for you). You (should) know what websites are out there and which personalities stand out and would be great people to interview. If not, it’s time to start paying attention.
One thing I really want you to take away from this course is that relationship building isn’t a numbers game. You don’t have to spend a ton of time making big lists of people you want to write for, to interview and so forth. I want you to find the BEST people to connect with each week. Of course, not everyone is going to say yes, so you do want some backup…but if you get a yes from someone right away, direct all your attention to that person, and do your very best work with them.
Just like I stressed in the last lesson, you want to make it easy for people to work with you and you want them to be proud of the results of doing so. That means you have to be responsive and answer questions as soon as possible. If you’re distracted with contacting a list of 30 people at once, you won’t be able to do that. Add to that, you’ll never do your best work if you’re spreading yourself too thin.
So think about the people who have stood out to you. Who are the people that have something interesting to say and you know your audience will really enjoy? It doesn’t have to be the most popular person in your niche, but rather someone who puts forth quality and is a good fit for you.
You may have noticed we haven’t mentioned looking at Alexa.com numbers or looking at how many followers someone has on Twitter or Facebook in this course at all. While that can make a difference in increasing your exposure quickly, popularity shouldn’t be the only factor that guides you to connect with people.
You want to connect with the people who are the best fit for you.
Add to that, if you set your sights too high when you don’t have those big numbers in return, you may find your efforts futile and you’re likely get frustrated at the lack of response. But more importantly, you’d be surprised at what people with seemingly little influence can do for each other in business…they grow influence TOGETHER. Connect with people who are also just starting out and want to make a difference. You can then work on products together, promote each other and blossom.
So never put your nose up at someone because you think they don’t have much to offer. If they are publishing great content that is in line with your own audience and your values, these are the people you need to connect to.
That said; if you want to set your sights a little higher on an interview, go for it. You’d be surprised at who will say yes to a little extra exposure for their business.
How to Get People to Say Yes to an Interview
We’ve provided you with a template (see interview-pitch-letter) to put together a contact letter, but customize this as much as possible. You don’t want what you send to sound like a form letter… make it personal.
Above all, provide plenty of detail so they can make an informed decision, but ensure you keep things as succinct as possible.
A few things to include:• Start with what you’re looking for… a quick XX-minute interview (or whatever it happens to be). Keep your first contact short. If you are going to do a webinar, you can keep their contribution down to about 15-30 minutes – and then fill up the webinar with other guests or do the rest of the content yourself. On first contact, you don’t want to take up too much of their time. • Briefly describe your audience and explain why you think it’s a good fit for what they’re doing. Also explain why you sought them out…sincere flattery can go a long way. • If it’s an asset of yours, include any stats about your traffic and mailing list numbers. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any numbers to boast about, don’t worry about this. • Make sure they know that you’ll be providing them with a recording of the interview and they have full rights to that content. Also include a transcript, if possible.
Again, don’t go overboard with all the extraneous details. Just give them the information they need to decide if it’s right for them.
Once they’ve said yes, you can provide more information, like the following:• Give them an idea of when you want to schedule the interview (perhaps a date range and suggested available hours) and let them know that you’re open to fitting into their schedule. Mention your time zone, ask them what theirs is and provide this link, so you can coordinate the times: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html.• Provide them with the details on how you’ll be recording (Skype, webinar platform, etc.), but be flexible. If they’re more comfortable with something else, consider adjusting to suit their needs.
Don’t get too upset if you don’t hear back or you get no for an answer. If you don’t hear back after a week or so, try to contact them through another method, but keep the tone light. If you still don’t hear… make a note to try to connect with them at later date, but now make more of an effort to be seen in their blog comments, social media pages, etc… so they’re more likely to recognize your name. Or better yet, if you know they’re going to be at an in person event, try to attend so that you can introduce yourself personally.
Coming Up with Great Interview Questions
Well planned interview questions are important for a number of reasons. If you’re organized and plan ahead, your interview will go much more smoothly. In addition, many online business owners aren’t professional speakers, so they will want to have an idea about the questions you’ll ask ahead of time. And of course, if you plan ahead, you’ll be able to ensure you ask the best questions that your audience wants answers to.
Here are some tips Annette Elton (at All Custom Content) has come up with for getting ready for your interview and coming up with questions:
1. Research your guest. Make sure that you know all that there is to know about your guest. Visit their blog. Visit their social media pages, and if they’re published then read that material as well. The better you understand your guest, the easier it will be to ask relevant and interesting questions. Hopefully, you’ve already done this BEFORE you even invited them for the interview.
2. Make a list of things you want to know. Your guest is an expert, so tap into their knowledge. What do you think you can learn from them? Write down those thoughts and questions and be sure to ask them, because your audience may have similar questions.
3. Ask your audience. What do your customers and subscribers want to know? Consider asking them for their input. You can use social media, email, and other communication tools to gather their feedback. Have them submit a form, so you can keep all the responses in one place. I currently use the premium version of the Formidable WordPress plugin.
4. Hunt for similar interviews. Chances are your expert has been interviewed before. Read or listen to those prior interviews. Look for opportunities to expand on good ideas.
5. Become an interview expert. Watch and read other interviews in your niche and outside of it. Identify the questions that are thought-provoking. How can you apply those types of questions to your interview?
6. Pay attention to industry news and trends. Staying informed is a wonderful way to help you identify great interview questions. If relevant, you can ask your guest their thoughts on current events.
7. Ask your interviewee. It’s okay to ask your interviewee what they want to communicate to listeners. They may have some very good ideas about how to approach the interview. Remember, being interviewed is good for their business too. You’re in this together; it’s okay to collaborate on questions.
Of course, it’s important to come up with follow-up questions as the interview progresses. Listen intently and turn the interview process into an interesting conversation that will keep listeners engages.
Getting it Done: Tools and Technology
This isn’t a technical course, so we aren’t going to spend a lot of time on technology, but here is some information that will put you in the right direction, depending on the type of interview you want to conduct. Once you decide on a platform, there are plenty of videos and how-to tutorials you can find on the web to help you with the technology.• Webinars: There are a ton of webinar platforms out there, but some of the more popular ones include Adobe Connect, GoToWebinar and Instant Teleseminar. • Video Interviews: Google+ has powerful video software and allows you to conduct live Hangouts, where you can invite your viewers to submit questions and more. And, of course, Google+ is free. Learn more about Google+ Hangouts here, if you haven’t done one yet.• Audio Interviews: A super easy way to record your audio conversations is to get on a Skype call and record the interview with software called Pamela. You could also look into using Evaer to record the calls as well.
But seriously, don’t get bogged down in software. If it’s overwhelming to you, set up a simple audio call with Skype and record it with Pamela. I promise it’s VERY simple.
Marketing Your Event / Interview
You want to ensure the best possible exposure for your guest, so you really have to market your interview. Here are just a few ways to do that. • Tell your mailing list. Warm them up before you even publish the interview. Tell them what you’re working on and who you’re working with, to get them excited. Let them know when the interview is ready and remind them with a follow up message. Share a little quote or tidbit from the interview to pique their interest.• Post it to social media. It’s a no-brainer, right? Share the great content with your social media followers. • Buy ads on Facebook and Twitter. You can set up highly targeted ads with a specific budget to bring traffic to the interview. • Ask your affiliates to spread the word. If the interview is for sale, they can promote it as a product. If it’s a free interview, make sure there is product offer on the backend where they can earn commissions. • Put it on iTunes and other apps. There are plenty of places to post audio content. Get out there and share your content. • Link to It. Link to the interview from your relevant blog posts and other popular content. You can also have a promotional graphic created for the interview and add it to the sidebar of your website. • Repurpose the content. Just because you’ve posted an audio interview to your blog, doesn’t mean that’s all you can do with it. Here are some ideas:o Take thought-provoking quotes from the interview and turn them into graphics, using software like Social Graphics Pro or your favorite graphics editor. o Have the content transcribed, so you can break it up into blog posts, create worksheets, checklists and other types of content for your readers. Note that transcriptions usually have to be edited quite a bit to make them into meaningful pieces of content.o Create a slide show from some of the content and add it to SlideShare… or then put the audio together with the slide show and turn it into a video for YouTube. Include information on where they can get the full interview.
Always keep in mind how you can share the interview
What to Do Now?
There are a few steps for you to take right now and that includes:• Who do you want to interview? Study their blog, sign up for their mailing list, follow them on social media and get to know them. • Write up an interview proposal. Use the template provided to ensure you include all the details you need. • Come up with interview questions and decide how you will record the interview. • Market, market, market… get that interview out there. Obviously, if you’re conducting a webinar, you’ll market it before the event. If you’re recording an interview, marketing comes after.
If you’ve never done an interview before, don’t worry. Just start with a short one and ask someone you’d be most comfortable working with. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro.
Get Feedback and Ask Questions
Here are some things you might ask for help from others:• How to figure out whom to interview.• Ask for a critique of your contact letter.• Ask for feedback on your interview questions. • Get recommendations for technology.• Marketing brainstorming.