Senior Writer & Editor
As writers and editors, we’re always looking for ways to add unique angles and stories when covering well-trodden topics. And while interviewing and sourcing case studies is standard practice for journalists, these approaches are often dismissed as adding unnecessary complexity for branded content. Fake news! With the right planning, real and expert voices can help your copy cut through the desk-research clutter – no additional time or budget required. Here’s why you need to let your writers get nosey…
Facilitating contracted writers to interview product or subject-matter experts within your business gives you cashback on the knowledge and skills you hired them for, positions your brand as an expert and helps create unique content that your competitors won’t be able to duplicate.
Putting a name (and even a face) to the advice, can make that all-important human connection with your reader. But even insight and information your writers can use as source material is much more valuable than desk-research when it comes to talking authoritatively about your products, in a way that will resonate with the audience.
Ask colleagues or check internal databases and comms for contacts, or let your writers don their journalist hats to sniff out the right people to talk to – for example by scouring press for named quotes or connecting on professional networking sites.
Interviewing someone who knows the subject matter you’re covering not only ensures your content is as useful as it can be, it also gives you the credibility to speak to new audiences.
No in-house expertise on the subject you want to cover? No problem. Including quotes or even commissioning a piece to an external specialist, to be edited by a writer who knows your brand, comes with added extras: Third-party experts are often happy to share your content on their own channels; boosting reach and helping you connect with qualified audiences already interested in the topic.
If you have contacts through PR, customer or consultant relationships, share the love (and email addresses) with your writers. If not, they can suggest experts sourced from their little black books.
Some topics don’t grab a reader’s attention the way others might, so bringing sparkle to slightly drier themes can be a challenge.
Interviewing someone who knows the subject inside-out or has experienced it first-hand helps makes your content relatable – and first-person case studies are a great way of creating this connection. Plus, when competitor content lacks personality, adding real people into the mix can really pack a punch.
But how do you choose the right person to talk to? This will depend on your content objectives. If you want to have an expert voice, speak to someone your audience will view as an authority on the topic. Or if you’re looking to tell the story of someone who’s had a similar experience to your audience, well, choose an interviewee like them – matching demographics, interests and situations.
Whichever option you choose, make sure that your readers will value their opinion and they have a great story to tell. Your writers might speak to a range of people for source material, before choosing one to feature in full.
When budgets are tight (and let’s face it, they always are in marketing) interviews can be a cost-effective option as they often eat up less time than desk-research alone; particularly where writers are covering a topic they’re not familiar with.
Yes, you’ll need to factor in time to source and speak to an interviewee, but there’ll usually be someone in your own or your writer’s network who can help.
Interview and case study content is also the gift that keeps on giving – fantastic for adding social proof across social media and email and even as training or sales tools for customer service and sales departments.
Speaking to real customers or people already associated with the topic you’re covering gives you unique insight into what makes them tick, which you can use to shape future content plans and sharpen copy; wherever it may live.
With a little planning and some good old-fashioned journalistic techniques, freeing your writers from their generic Internet searches can help create content that will do more for your brand than a desk-research rehash ever could.
Find out what interview-based content could do for your business - get nosey now.
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