I knew I wanted to start a blog. I just didn’t know why anybody would want to read it.
I’m writing on the topic of building, engaging, and monetizing an online audience. I’m making my blog a live case study on how to build a massive online follow. My stratospheric goal is to get 5,000 visitors in my first month of blogging.
The problem is I’ve never built an online audience before. I don’t even have that many Facebook friends.
So how was I going to get people to visit my blog?
By interviewing people who had built online audiences!
For me there are two main benefits of interviewing other bloggers and influencers.
1. Expert information = valuable content
Readers want to hear from experts. I’m not an expert yet so interviewing people who are gives credibility to my blog. It’s much easier to write a blog post from an expert interview than from secondary research. The name of a well-known influencer attracts people to your blog and signals you “run in the right circles.”
2. Networking with success leads to success
I’m in an MBA program. They say half the value of an MBA is the degree itself and the other half is the network you build.
The same applies for blogging. Half my success depends on producing quality content. The other half comes from networks and synergies. As I interview online influencers, I grow my network organically.
Once I had decided on a goal, I needed to devise a strategy on how to land interviews with a new blog. When I first started reaching out to influencers I hadn’t even launched Red Famous. The concept of building an online audience from scratch was still just a twinkle in my eye.
Yet I was still able to get interviews with successful online entrepreneurs.
Here’s how I did it.
Grab the Low Hanging Fruit First
When you start a blog, tap your inner network first. Your friends and family are excellent sources for potential interviews.
I recently interviewed by brother Ezra on how he used YouTube to launch a successful paid course. The interview gave me golden content. I was easily able to write a blog post that ended up being a smash hit.
Interview People Two Steps Ahead of You
I’ve had a long standing belief that business executives give horrible career advice to recent college graduates. They have been climbing the corporate ladder for so long they forget what it’s like to be at the bottom. The world has changed since they started their careers and what they did to become successful might not work anymore.
The same goes for blogging. You might be tempted to seek out interviews with the “Stephen Curry” of your niche. You can reach out to those type of people if you want, but I personally didn’t.
The rock stars in a niche are inundated with emails every day. It takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Plus, your audience is probably already familiar with that influencer’s story. There is arguably more value writing about a success story your audience hasn’t heard yet.
The “middle tier” influencers are people who have gained moderate success in their spaces. They in positions that many of us aspire to be in. Even better, they are close enough to the beginning of their journey that they can remember what it feels like to start at the bottom.
When I was looking for Instagram influencers to interview, I looked for accounts with between 5K and 15K followers. When I was looking for Mommy Bloggers to interview, I search topmommybloggers.com for blogs ranked between 50 and 150.
I had a ton of success reaching out to these types of people! These medium strength influencers have a ton of insights to share and have enough bandwidth to actually talk with you!
Know Your Target
If you reach out to an influencer with a boil plate request, I guarantee you won’t get a response. Conversely, if you take the time to mention a few projects or articles your target influencer has recently worked on, you are much more likely to get a response.
I spent a lot of time researching influencers I thought could add value to my blog. When I found someone I wanted to interview I let them know why I thought their expertise would be a good fit for Red Famous.
Be sure to keep your emails short and sweet. Mine were around 100 words. I had 30% response rate. Now that my blog is officially launched, that rate should increase.
Create a Win-Win Situation
One of the biggest surprises of my blogging journey thus far is how nice everybody is! The blogosphere is full of amazing people! That said, they are also very busy. Even middle tier influencers receive multiple email requests per day. You need to give them a reason to agree to be interviewed.
My blog hadn’t launched when I began emailing potential interviewees. I didn’t even have a landing page to send them to. I told them about my idea to launch a blog with the goal of hitting 5,000 visits in one month. Most of them probably snickered behind their computer screens at my naïve ambition. A few agreed to be interviewed.
If you already have a blog, you are in a better position than I was. No matter how small, you have an audience that mid-tier influencers are excited to get in front of. Interviews raise influencers credibility. Additionally, influencers are keen on getting backlinks.
I promised all my interviewees that I would include their bio and and a backlink in my article.
Make the Interview an Awesome Experience
One of your goals of doing interviews should be to network with the people you interview. To that end, you need to make sure they have a good experience.
Send your interviewees a reminder the day before the email. Check to make sure you have the correct phone number.
I usually offer my interviewees the choice being interviewed by phone or by email. Most will choose email, but I prefer phone. The phone conversations are much more dynamic and offer a greater networking opportunity.
Have questions prepared. Flying by the seat of your pants is amateur hour. Thoughtfully create a set of questions that reflect your interviewee’s areas of interest and expertise. However by the same token, don’t be too rigid. Be ready to adapt your interview questions during the conversation if new information arises.
Always be respectful of your interviewee’s time. I allow my interviews to last up to 30 minutes.
Remember Your Manners and Thank Your Interviewee
Do your mom proud and remember to send a thank you note to your interviewee. A quick thank you email can close the loop and solidify your connection with your interviewee. Additionally, let them know when you will post their article. If you are lucky and make them look really good, they may even tweet your post to their followers!
Interviewing subject matter experts is a key strategy in growing my blog. This process has taught me that getting interviews with a new blog is not impossible! Leave you interview tips or questions in the comments below!