Do you really know who your audience is and what they care about? We’re not talking buyer personas or demographic data. We’re talking about the most influential people who matter to your brand. Who are these people, and what do they want to see, hear and learn?
Over two years ago, I started an interview series called THE TWIST, covering that moment in a story when an event or experience dramatically shifts the future direction of the storyline and all the characters involved. I’ve always found these moments fascinating in real life, and so I started this recurring series where I talk to entrepreneurs and explore the plot twist that led them to start their businesses.
In some cases, these entrepreneurs become clients of mine, and I’ve been able to return to those interviews, take another look inside their minds, and cater my offerings toward the needs and problems they face on a daily basis.
Below I’ve outlined the logistics and benefits of interviewing that I’ve experienced over the past few years:
Take some time thinking about who you want to interview. Who are your best customers? Who do you know well enough to ask for feedback? Make a longer list than you think you need, so you can reach out to several different people and hopefully get a few interviews scheduled.
Once you’ve determined who your guest is going to be, you need to extend an invitation to that person. What makes your interview valuable to this person? What benefits will they receive from it? A personal email or call works best for the invite.
When doing your outreach to potential interviewees, include as many logistics as possible.What days and times do you have available for the interview? How long will the interview take? Determine a comfortable and quiet place where you can hold the interview.
Come prepared to your interview with a list of questions and an outline, but also be ready to go off-script. Your discussion may not flow exactly in-sync with your plan and you will have to adapt with the conversation. Additionally, think about how you are going to record the interview: Audio? Video? Taking notes? We suggest using two methods at once in case one doesn’t work out.
After the interview, be sure to follow-up with your interviewee, thanking them for their time. If you plan on using the interview for something external facing, be sure to get their permission first and let them know once it’s live.
Interviewing your customers in-person allows you the unique opportunity to engage with them one-on-one. You can ask follow-up questions, probe for deeper answers and gather more substantial insights. In-person interviews also allow you to capture the interviewees’ raw emotions and behaviors better than any other method.
Conducting interviews allows you to gain unique insight into what your customers or potential clients are looking for in your work. This information should be invaluable to your brand, especially if patterns develop after multiple interviews.
Word-of-mouth marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to grow your brand. Not only do interviews allow you to grow your network, but they establish a deeper level of trust between you and the person you are interviewing; thus making them more likely to expose you to their personal networks in the future.
By talking with the most influential people to your brand, you have the opportunity to really learn who these people are and what they want to see and hear. You’ll learn what they read and share online, and how they engage with your competitors. From these interviews, you’ll be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what they go through on a daily basis, and then frame your content marketing in a way that resonates with them.