I want to share with you a method for getting thousands of highly qualified/targeted visitors to your site using an old strategy that’s beginning the resurface.
Interviews were popular several years ago for driving traffic to your site and establishing great authority, and while it never really went away as a strategy, it’s certainly become less popular for one reason or another.
In any case, it seems like interviews are beginning to shine once again. And while I’ve seen other bloggers post about getting back into this groove, I feel like a lot of this content is just being rehashed. Instead, I want to share something different that I have used very well in the past, It’s an “evergreen” traffic strategy that is great for bringing targeted visitors to your site and works particularly well for grabbing more subscribers to your mailing list than you can shake a stick at… More on this perk later though.
What we’re going to learn:
1) Why does the interview strategy work?
2) Who are we going to interview? Why?
3) How is this strategy different to all the rest?
4) How can this generate fresh leads/visitors?
5) What to do with this tidal wave of traffic once it hits your site…
WHY BOTHER WITH AN INTERVIEW?
Interviews are the foundation of more than 50% of the media you absorb throughout the day. Heck, look at CNN for 30mins and see how many “experts” they interview across various issues.
It’s a strategy to generate authority in your niche, “Hey! This guy is interviewing one of the leaders for something I like, he must be important” and it also brings awareness of your brand to the fans of whomever you’re talking with – which can be bring you thousands of visitors literally overnight if done with the right candidate.
Interviews are also great content for sharing socially, if the content is valuable you can expect lots of natural link building from many other hot-spots in your niche. Adding longevity, those links pointing to your site continue to bring new visitors for a long time afterwards. If we compare interviews with almost any other kind of content you can churn out in the same time frame (guest posts, infographics, video series) this has the highest reward value for your time.
So, now that you know that interviews can do a few key things for you:
1) Create authority
2) Send the right kind of traffic
3) It’s content that’s easily shared
4) Brings traffic from multiple sources
Let’s move on to picking the right kind of candidate.
PICKING YOUR TARGET: WHO TO INTERVIEW?
It can be tricky to find the right kind of person to interview, so let me give you some tips on criteria I like to use.
Let’s imagine you have a weight loss affiliate blog and your highest converting product is an eCourse about losing belly fat and getting tight abs.
Which of the following candidates would you think is better to interview?
1) John Smith is a personal trainer with a weight loss blog, he has a following of 100,000 on Twitter, 50,000 likes to his FB page “Weight Loss with John” and several video series on Youtube.
2) Mary Bloggins is also a personal trainer, but her blog is specific to fat loss and great abs. Her Twitter following is only 30,000 and she only has 10,000 likes on her Facebook page “Tight Tummies” and lots of videos on Youtube.
All things being equal (social engagement, regular blog updates) I would choose to work with Mary Bloggins. Why? She might have a much smaller following, but any visits from her fanbase would be much more targeted and likely give me a better conversion rate for my belly fat affiliate product – which is the goal of my site in this example.
Having split tested this theory in the acne/skin treatment niche I got almost double the conversion rate for an eBook I was promoting as an affiliate by interviewing a candidate more similar to Mary Bloggins.
Finding a proper candidate can be hard, so let me give you some tips to make the search a little easier:
1) Try Googling your niche with the search parameter “blog: niche name” to find a blogger who is a leader on your topic
2) Contact the owner of a forum in your niche (be as specific as possible and close to your target audience as possible. In our above example, I would target a forum specific to “belly fat” rather than just “weight loss”) You can use a similar Google search parameter “forum: belly fat”
3) Contact the leader of a top Facebook page in your niche. Be wary though, just because there is a lot of Likes on the page, there might not be much engagement. Check the most recent posts for lots of shares/comments/likes to make sure the page has good authority.
4) Lastly, you can head over to an ad network like BuySellAds.com and check out their listings by topic. In the below example, we can see a fat loss/nutrition blog that I found that gets about 110,000 impressions per month. While we don’t want to advertise our blog here, we can certainly contact the site owner about our interview idea since they obviously have lots of impressions per month.
Once you have found the right person, you need to shoot them a message to get their interests going. Below is a copy of the message I have used in the past:
” SUBJECT: Great Idea for Your Blog!
Hi there [name],
I just wanted to write to you and thank you for [one their recent posts], I felt there was a lot of great information in there, and it’s a topic I’ve thought about covering on my blog for a little while. Previously I’ve written about [one of your own recent posts] and I can see that both of our audiences might benefit from some exciting new content.
I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and it was actually a big motivation to start my own. With that in mind, I was wondering if you would be interested in letting me interview you 🙂
I think we can talk about some exciting things in our field and then share it with our readers (or listeners!) to get some networking going. I know there are some things that I’ve been dying to ask you, and I’m sure your followers wouldn’t mind knowing the answers either!
I know you get a lot of messages from readers, so I’ll shoot you a tweet and/or Facebook message too. Just letting you know ahead of time so you don’t think I’m spamming lol.
Friendly, social, and it doesn’t reek of a cut/paste job. I wouldn’t recommend you copy/paste this response either, but something to that affect will work better than an impersonal approach that applies to all candidates.
WHY IS THIS METHOD DIFFERENT?
Most of the stuff you’ve read to this point has been pretty straightforward, but don’t worry, I’m going to make it a bit more interesting from here.
First of all, while an interview is usually conducted over messaging/email YOUR interview is going to be conducted over Skype. If you and your candidate are both comfortable with a video call that’s the best, but audio is the expectation I’m setting for you. You can use whatever third party software you like to record the call, but I’m a fan of Amolto which is free and recommended by Skype.
If you’re not comfortable getting on a call with your interviewee, then don’t bother reading any further. The audio is a big part of this strategy and it adds a ton of value. Why? Because most others are ONLY doing email/messenger interviews. Without the audio, you’re just another blogger in the weeds. Audio is where it’s at.
Still here? Great!
While using audio is one thing that’s going to separate you from your competition, the shift from “interview” to “roundtable” is what’s going to put this whole strategy into overdrive.
Moving away from the standard interview process of Q&A and switching dynamic to a back-and-forth discussion adds so much more value to the conversation between yourself and the interviewee.
There are so many interviews I have read online that are just a simple Q&A session, and I have to wonder why! There is so much more value for your visitors if they can be a fly-on-the-wall of a conversation rather than some basic questions.
Asking open ended, specific questions that open the ground up for debate/conversation is what gets the real nitty-gritty out of your subject.
If we’re shaping the approach away from a traditional Q&A interview and into more of a discussion, who says there can only be one other person involved? Why not reach out to another well known leader in your niche and get both involved. Even better, why not choose opposites and then light a fire under them…
I think of myself as a thoroughly white-hat SEO, I’m a fan of producing great content and building links in a slow but long-lasting approach. Get me chatting with a strong black-hatter and ask us what the best link-building practice is – that’s a conversation I’d like to hear!
What I’m suggesting has so much more value than a simple interview that it’s going to have a lot more sharing potential and a longer lasting appeal over time.
GUIDING THE DISCUSSION/INTERVIEW
Depending on who you’re talking to, this can either be the easiest or most challenging part of the process.
Most people, most humans anyway, enjoy talking about themselves. We like to be the center of attention and have people fawning over us to learn more – it’s just basic human nature.
With this in mind, your candidate will usually ramble on giving you tons of information and making sure to do the majority of the talking, beware though, this can be a double-edged sword.
You certainly want your subject to do most of the talking, but are they talking about the things you need? Are they “giving up the goods” on the golden topic you wanted to talk to them about? If not, you’ve just spent your time inflating someone’s ego, and that’s not going to get you the value you need to make this strategy work.
You’re going to focus on asking open ended questions about their niche until you get what you need, such open ended questions for a marketing/SEO interview could be:
What are some of the best places to get links today?
Tell me the one linking strategy that you can apply to any website.
What is black-hat SEO in your eyes?
What are the biggest SEO mistakes you’ve made?
What are some of the biggest SEO mistakes others can make today?
Where do you see SEO heading in the next 5 years?
Open-ended questions (who? what? when? where? why? How? Tell me) are the keys to getting useful information from your candidate, a simple question with a Yes/No answer give you such basic information that your listener could have done a hearty Google search to find the answer.
Think of as many of these questions as you can. You’re not going to ask them all, but you can throw one into the conversation depending on what direction it’s headed. You’re going to want to have at least 3 “golden nuggets” of useful/important information by the end of the entire recording session – the more the better of course.
The same applies if you’ve grabbed yourself a pair of willing candidates for a roundtable discussion, make it open-ended and focused on specifics and the rest will come out naturally.
Keep in mind that some candidates will want the interview questions sent to them first so they can get a start on what direction they want to take their answers, this is fine, but don’t be afraid to throw in a few curveballs in the middle to keep the flow more conversational and less rehearsed.
Once the interview/discussion is finished, edit the file in a program like Audacity, a free but rather ugly audio editing tool, to remove the long periods of silence, or the excess fluff that doesn’t need to be there.
HOW WILL THIS GET YOU TRAFFIC?
Ah, now we come to the fun part, promotion! How are we going to get all these potential visitors back to your blog?
First of all, the full interview must be kept on your own domain. Don’t host it on SoundCloud, Youtube, or anywhere else. Keep it at home! You want the traffic pointing at you, not at a third party.
As for the traffic itself; the leader you interviewed is going to be sharing this on their own site/forum/channel etc. How can they not? Such a valuable piece of content owes itself to a no-brainer guest post. This alone is going to get you a valuable backlink, and plenty of referral traffic. Let’s say you DID go for the 2 person roundtable, there’s two valuable links and a ton of referral traffic you wouldn’t have gotten so easily – but let’s not stop there…
Using Audacity, you’re going to find one of the golden nuggets you managed to get out of your subject(s) and drop it into a quick little audio file:
Next, layer the audio file over a quick teaser headline and branded screenshot and make a quick youtube video like the one below. This is a quick sample I pulled from an interview that was done with me a few years ago about a CPA strategy I was using at the time. Yes, even I get interviewed! I stuck it over a simple coloured gradient with a headline, this is all you would have to do as well.
Now, grab the link to the Youtube video you created and start getting your mini teaser trailer out there. Share it on forums, relevant facebook pages, @ other twitter leaders in that niche, Tumblr bloggers and more. As long as the Youtube teaser video links back to your moneysite and the full recording, the traffic will flow with ease.
Good quality begs to be shared, and as long as you’re getting the right information from your candidate, you’re going to get the traffic flowing back at you in no time.
THE TRAFFIC IS COMING! NOW WHAT?
Now that you’ve got this tidal wave of traffic coming to your awesome post/page where the recording is available how are you going to get maximum value from each visitor? Surely we don’t just want them to come, listen, and leave – right?
Right! So why not add them to your list? Using the Wistia turnstile video player you can add an opt-in form to the beginning, middle, or end of your video content, watch this video to see what I mean:
To use this feature, you’re going to want to add an image to your full recording just like you did before with your teaser in a program like Camtasia or Windows Movie Maker and then upload it to Wistia, add your features and analytics tracking, and then embed the video on your site.
I know this goes a little bit against the advice I said about choosing not to host on a third party like Youtube, SoundCloud, etc. However, the pros definitely outway the cons here, you can get some incredible analytics information with Wistia that gives you great split testing and power going forward.
A/B test whether the opt-in form converts best in the beginning, the end, or at specific parts in the middle of the video.
You’re going to choose 1-2 thought leaders in your niche and invite them to a discussion/interview on a specific topic that appeals to both them, their audience, and yours.
You will have the discussion over Skype and record it using Amolto or something listed here . Remember to keep your questions open-ended and focused on specific topics that appeal to all the audiences involved.
The final audio project is best saved as an audio file on your domain, or as a video file on an interactive video player like Wistia so you can capture leads in the future.
You will produce a teaser sample/trailer containing one of the golden nuggets from this discussion and load it onto Youtube so that it can be easily shared across forums and social media, with a link back to the page with the primary recording on your domain.
Visitors to the page who watch the video of the recording will be prompted to opt-in to your list in the beginning, middle, or end of the video using the features available through Wistia.
As far as getting content shared across big social circles, or pumped out to massive followings, this is a strategy that offers something a lot more interesting than a simple guest post.
Try this out, tweak it, and make it work to your advantage. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Oh, and you can send me an interview request here 😛
Just the tip…
Couldn’t help myself.
Here are a couple of things that I wish someone would have told me before I started heading down this path when I did:
1) If you’ve never done this before, lesser known thought leaders are a good place to hone your skills. If you’re looking for someone interesting, but without the fame of a major leader in your niche, consider getting some senior and well respected members of a message board and instead of trying to build a massive tidal wave of traffic from multiple locations, just keep the traffic coming from that particular message board: It’s a good way to see how the funnel works, and makes you more of an authority in that forum when you come to launch the full-blooded interview with a major leader in the future.
2) After you have picked a candidate to interview ask them to start thinking about building some hype with their followers. Start a Facebook post and ask followers to post questions they would like answered, or use a specific #hashtag to start a trend on Twitter. This hype will also send some traffic your way too as the interviewee naturally mentions who they will be interviewed by.
3) Include a transcript of the entire recording as part of a social locker (just like this one! (http://jaykaydowdall.com/social-locker) to increase shares to the page and a substantial trickle-down effect. Transcripts can be made in a number of ways, but if you don’t want to pay someone, the best solution I have found is available free through Chrome. Take a look at this NextWeb article (http://thenextweb.com/apps/2012/08/04/transcribe-an-awesome-audio-transcription-web-app-for-chrome/) for all the details and some helpful steps. [/sociallocker]
As usual, I will be answering all comments posted below and would love some suggestions for future articles. Please ask me anything and I would be happy to help with your SEO or internet marketing project !