As many of you might know, I run a popular online interview series with digital media experts called Experts On Issues. All of the interviews get repurposed on all of the solutions my company offers to attract new clients directly from social media.
In this post, I’m going to share how effective this strategy really is for attracting new clients through social media and how to implement it. I’m also going to share a template you can use to get new interviews that has proven effective time and time again.
First, let me review why video interviews with influencers is so effective at attracting new clients.
Your clients most likely interact or follow a certain number of influencers:
They might subscribe to their email list, follow them on social media or even know them personally. Capturing any kind of attention from prospective clients on social media is not easy. By creating a bit of content (video interview in this case) with these influencers, properly re-purposing the content and actually getting these influencers to share to their subscribers and social media followers (i.e. your prospective clients), you’ll start to attract prospective clients to your website.
I can tell you that this is one true and tried social media strategy that has paid dividends time and time again.
The goal of this strategy is to do your research and understand who or what influences (triggers to take action) your ideal client.
Next, create an Excel file or even a Google Sheet. Each worksheet should be categorized by the type of influencer (examples listed above). Simply list the names of each influencer in their respective worksheet.
Most of your influencers are going to be active, or at least responsive, on Twitter and LinkedIn. To keep this short, I’ll just share what we do to get the interviews booked through Twitter.
Step 1: Create a section, or blog category, on your current website devoted specifically for the interviews
At Phase 2 Solutions, we actually branded the blog category section: http://phase2solutions.net/experts-on-issues. You don’t have to go this far, but just getting it ready is key.
Step 2: Search for the influencer on twitter using the search tool
Step 3: Tweet to your influencer the following message:
(Influencer name), I’d love to do an interview with you sometime just like (enter the URL to interviews here). Would you be up for it?
As you can see, this is a very straight-forward message. The key is just to get to the point. Most influencers have people that manage their social media. Having worked with many social media managers, I can tell you that the URL you add in the message is going to do most of the talking. For example, using http://phase2solutions.net/experts-on-issues doesn’t have near the effect of expertsonissues.com.
Given that, think about purchasing a descriptive domain name and redirect it to that page. Trust me, it’s worth every bit of the 10 bucks you spend for the custom domain name. The other thing a custom domain name does is creates a brand that is probably far more appealing than your company name. It’s much easier to bring up and share with people.
Step 4: Repeat step 3 to all the influencers you want to reach
Step 5: Listen, reply and re-tweet
Actually take time to read tweets from your influencers and respond. This can be in the form of a reply, re-tweet or “like”. This puts you on their social radar. If you are dealing directly with the influencer, they might even see your name pop up on their phone since most social media apps default setting are to allow mobile push notifications.
I would also argue that you should do this before tweeting the influencer, but if you are just starting out this might be tough.
Step 5: Wait for the reply
Take notice that in Step 4, I say to reach out to all, or at least many, of your influencers. The reality is that some will reply back right away, some won’t and some might reply, but can’t do the interview for months ahead.
The goal is to just get one interview booked. Once you have a few interviews under your belt, your interview series will seem more legitimate in the eyes of your influencers. It’s more of a momentum thing than anything else. Get a rock star. Get more rock stars.
Step 6: Book the interview
Once one of your influencers replies yes, reply back as soon as possible. I would recommend private messaging them back on Twitter asking for an appropriate email to send the interview details to. Once you have that you can send the details. This is what I’ve used and it works very well.
Thank you for accepting our invitation to be our featured guest on our (Name of your interview segment) segment of our website: (Your custom URL that redirects to the interview section on your website – e.g. expertsonissues.com). I will help to get you all of the details you need including the questions and the invitation link to join the interview.
I’d like to recommend the following interview topic: “Title of the interview“.
The interview will last approximately 30 minutes. We use Google + On Air to do the interview so the only thing you will need to enter the interview is a link. We will send the link approximately 30 minutes prior to the interview time.
The only items we need at this point are a date/time for the interview, your picture and short bio that we can use to promote the interview on the website and through email. Would you be available on (Date and time of the interview – make sure you specific the time zone)? If that doesn’t work for you, please let me know a time that works best for you.
Once I hear back from you regarding the interview date, I will send over the list of questions for the interview so you can prepare.
Thanks again (contact name)! We look forward to making this a successful interview 🙂
Take notice that this message establishes several points that are important to setup and executive the interview. The who, what, when, where and how. The why is already established or they wouldn’t have accepted your invitation for the interview 🙂
Step 7: Send a list of questions for interview a week prior to the interview
This step is critical. You want to be respectful to the person you are interviewing and give them time to think through how they want to answer.
Think of questions that are both helpful to viewers and make the interviewee look good. The goal is to turn the interview into something that they will want to re-purpose into their own content marketing strategy. There is a fine line here because you don’t want to the interview to turn into a commercial and something that becomes unsharable.
On the message back to the influencer with questions, be sure to let them know that you’ll be sending over an email to the interviewee 30 minutes prior to the interview. This is important to establish to make sure they know to enter the interview. Also, be sure you have the email for the person you are interviewing, not just their assistant.
Step 8: Conduct the interview
I use Google + On Air to conduct the interview. All you need is a Google account to get started. Simply click on Google + button when you are on Google and then click on the Hangouts option. You’ll see an option for “Google + Hangouts on Air”. Click that and fill out the information it asks for (e.g. Title, description, time of hangout, etc.).
Once you have the Google + On Air Hangout setup, grab the directly link to the interview. You’ll see this as one of your sharing options on the page for the event.
About 30 minutes prior to the interview email this link to the person you are interviewing.
Once they join on, you’re ready to rock.
One note with Google + On Air, if you click on the block with their video feed or your feed it will lock that screen the entire interview. The software is setup to show the video feed for the person that is speaking. I had one interview I did where I didn’t realize I had clicked on the video feed and you didn’t see me the entire time.
If you do accidentally click on the video feed block, simply click on it again. You’ll see the video feed block remove the square highlight and the person talking showing up on the screen.
As far as handling functions within Google + On Air, I would say just follow the instructions. Google does a great job at making it easy to start, stop and edit settings.
Once the video interview is done, it will save to your YouTube account automatically. It’s usually ready to view on YouTube within 30 minutes after the Hangout session is completed.
Step 9: Publish the video on your website and social media accounts
This is pretty self-explanatory 🙂
Step 10: Thank your interviewee
I can’t tell you how important this step is. If you fail to do this, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to attract prospective clients to your website from the influencer.
Send them an email sincerely thanking them and be sure to include all of the direct links to where you posted the interview. For social posts, don’t just send them a link to your account. Send them the link to the actual post. You can do this typically by clicking on the date of the post on the social network and then grabbing the URL from that specific page.
Another important thing to do is share the interview on Twitter and including their Twitter handle (e.g.@theirtwitterusername). Also think about including any appropriate hash tags within the tweet. This will send a notification to the influencer triggering them to re-tweet and re-purpose to their audience (i.e. your prospective clients).
Step 11: Repurpose the interview
Think about sharing the interview that you posted on your website to:
- Your email subscribers
- To a email segment just for prospective clients – this will help you tailor your message making it much more impactful
- Add it to auto-responder’s if you have them
- Constantly try new ways of including the interview into social media posts (tools like BufferApp make this easy)
- Include in landing pages
- Send to PR outlets
- Re-write copy and allow other industry bloggers (that your prospective clients follow) to post it on their website
I’ve taken Experts On Issues interviews and re-purposed them on websites for other solutions we offer, such as Social HubSite, and they have worked tremendously in attracting ideal visitors from both search engines and social networks. Here is example: http://socialhubsite.com/content-marketing-marketing-managers-might-missing/
This list can go on and on.
The key here is also to be consistent. Don’t just make interviewing influencers a one time effort. Do it consistently. You’ll gain the momentum you need to eventually transform into an industry influencer yourself where clients come to you. Where you become a go-to name for the solutions you offer.
What are your thoughts and questions on executing this type of strategy?