Interviews with experts or industry “celebrities” are a staple on business blogs, but the group interview – asking multiple experts the same question or set of questions – is relatively underused.
This may be because it takes more effort than interviewing a single person – but, as with anything else in marketing (or, you know, life), more effort usually results in better returns. And, in a sense, a group interview is a kind of crowdsourcing: Ask a lot of people to do a little work to contribute to a greater whole. Since you’re spreading out the workload, no one shoulders too much of the burden. You just need to be willing to organize the effort and put it all together at the end.
Here are three ways your blog (and business) can benefit from creating a group interview.
Automatic Link Building
Any really stellar piece of content can be a good link building tool. But a group interview has extra-super-duper link-building power because you won’t be the only one who’s promoting it. Every single expert you interview will have incentive to promote the piece as well. Not only will they probably link to it themselves on their own blogs and sites, they’ll share it with their social networks, creating a trickle-down/domino effect of links. Remember, the fact that you’re asking industry experts to participate means they each have a following of their own (possibly larger than your own following, and the collective influence of multiple experts is definitely larger than your own following).
So how do you get these experts to agree to participate?
- Make it easy for them – Keep it short and sweet and give them a deadline (say, two weeks out). If they haven’t responded within three days of the deadline, send a brief, friendly reminder.
- Give them links in return – Of course each expert should get a bio with their choice of links.
- Flatter them! – Be sure they know why you’re including them in the interview – because you value their expertise and you know your readers will too.
Social Shares Aplenty
As mentioned above, publishing a group interview is a great way to get a bunch of experts to share a link to your site with their followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If someone sees a link to a piece of content from more than one person they respect, they are almost guaranteed to click and check it out. All this sharing can drive a huge spike of traffic to your site (so you might want to make sure your group interview page is optimized for conversions).
Make the most of this traffic and keep the shares flowing by including easy-to-use social buttons on your site, so visitors that like what they can see can easily tweet, like, +1 it and so on to their own followers. And don’t forget social bookmarking buttons like StumbleUpon and Digg – these can still drive a huge amount of traffic if your content “goes hot,” but keep in mind that these sites are pretty consumer-oriented, so highly technical content can be slow to catch on.
Ongoing SEO Value
In order to continue bringing web traffic in over time, a content piece needs to meet a few criteria:
- Evergreen value – The topic and information shouldn’t go out of date too quickly.
- Authority – An authority domain and URL will help the content float to the top of the SERPs for relevant queries.
- On-Page Optimization – Also key for consistently high rankings is a well-optimized page.
A group interview can easily fulfill all these requirements. That initial burst of links and traffic is going to give the page lasting authority. The topic you choose for your interview should have relevance for months and years to come – don’t pick anything too trendy. Ideally, you should shoot for that keyword sweet spot of relatively high volume and relatively low competition. And finally be sure that your page is then optimized for that keyword. (Check out SEOmoz’s best practices for on-page SEO if you need help there.)
Convinced a group interview is something you should try? Here are a few examples to get you inspired:
- Link Building with the Experts – 2011 Edition by Rae Hoffman-Dolan
- 17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Top Tips, Tricks, and Tools by Tamar Weinberg
- Must-See Content Marketing Examples From 2011 by Michele Linn
- Ultimate Guide to PPC Metrics: 17 Experts on the Top 3 Must-Check PPC Metrics by Elisa Gabbert (That’s me!)