Search Results for: email interviews

What can you blog about? Interviews

small_2493066577Getting good business blog ideas is becoming an increasing headache for many business people. In this article we take a look at how to use interviews with key people in your industry. 

You’d be surprised how many even quite famous people are happy to give interviews – probably because it’s flattering to their egos! And if you pick the right characters within your industry area what they have to say will be of considerable interest to your readers/customers. [Read more…]

How to get good text-based interviews for your blog or website

These days people are far too busy to take time out and be physically “interviewed” to provide quotes, information, testimonials, endorsements, etc. And apart from the fact that to obtain a live face-to-face interview with someone (especially someone famous) takes more organizing than a nationwide military coup, you’ll often find that the face-to-face variety isn’t all that good anyway.

How to get good text-based interviews for your blog or website

Want a good interview for your blog or website? Email the questions to your interviewee…

The answer?

Email them the questions.

This is not as simple as it sounds. People are a) busy and b) lazy, so if you want to get some good results you need to make it very, very easy for them to respond.

First, the practical bits

Naturally you need to establish that whoever you are to interview is happy with the arrangement. In the main you’ll find that the prospect of their being able to answer questions in their own time, when it suits them, without an interviewer breathing down
their neck, works for them much better than any other alternative.

Next, prepare your email carefully. Write it out with a short introduction or recap on what you have agreed, then place your questions below. Embolden each question individually; if you embolden all questions in one sweep the response will come back in bold, too, which may make it hard for you to decipher.

And the questions? (Not too many…)

Essentially these should be focused on the old journalistic principles of “who, what, where, when and how,” with appropriate modification. But here’s a warning; don’t overdo the number of questions. People are put off by a long list.

Let’s say you’re looking to obtain a good testimonial for a client (alter appropriately if the project is to get a testimonial for your own business). Here’s a list of questions from another article of mine which should give you a good spread of quotes, but select only 5 or 6 or them if you don’t want to scare your interviewee off:

  • What is it that you think makes XXX different from their competitors?
  • Just how much better than the competition do you feel XXX really is?
  • Why do you feel that XXX is more efficient than other, similar (whatever)?
  • How would you rate your experience of working with/using XXX?
  • Compared with their competitors, how do you rate your experience of working with/using XXX?
  • On a 1 to 10 scale, how would you rate your experience of working with/using XXX, and why?
  • What difference has using XXX made to your business’s/department’s performance?
  • What is it about XXX’s performance/service that makes the different?
  • What was it that made you choose XXX in the first place?
  • What was it that made you choose XXX instead of their competitors?
  • What was it that made you change from your previous (whatever) to XXX?
  • What additional benefits have you found through using XXX?
  • What are the three main benefits of working with XXX?
  • In summary, then, what would you say is the key benefit of working with XXX?
  • In summary, then, what difference has working with/using XXX made to your bottom line?
  • How important is it to you that you should work with/use XXX in the future?
  • What sort of future do you think XXX can look forward to?
  • If I were someone considering using XXX, what advice would you give me?

And for some more general questions?

When you’re doing an email interview with someone to obtain information that’s not necessarily an endorsement or testimonial, you need to research the topic a little bit more thoroughly and plan whatever it is you’re going to write, so that your email interview questions run alongside your plan and so lead to providing you with the information you need.

For example, let’s look at an email interview about the need for businesses to employ a truly professional recruitment agency: here are the questions I would ask of the recruitment agency head honcho for a blog post or article aimed at his/her potential clients:

1.To what extent do you feel that the recruitment process for managers is a continuous cycle, rather than a linear process?

2.What are the benefits to a client company of hiring a recruitment agency as opposed to setting up and internal recruitment function?

3.In your experience, what are the most important criteria for a client to consider when selecting a recruitment agency, in order of importance, and why?

4.How should a client company in this sector go about the process of selecting an agency?

5.At selection stage, what should the client company expect the agency to do in terms of research and information-seeking?

6.Once the agency is selected, what are the most important elements to incorporate into the formal appointment? (E.g. contract, T&Cs, length of agreement, timing of reviews, termination terms, etc., but especially anything over and above what a client company would ordinarily expect)

Assessing your results and using them

Much as people might tell you that interviewing by email doesn’t result in such thorough responses as you might get from the F2F variety, I disagree … not because I’m a bolshie cow, but because in my experience it just doesn’t work out that way.

Invariably the results I get from these emailed interview questions are good because a) the responses are relatively short and sweet which for contemporary online purposes is what we need, and b) the fact that people have time to think about what they’re going to respond with enables them to do it better than they would “off the cuff.”

Good luck with your email interviewing – it’s the way ahead, I’m sure!

Now, let’s write up those interviews perfectly:

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

Local advertisers: some new words to make your ads work MUCH better

In this article in the series for local advertisers, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. In other words here are suggestions for more powerful alternatives to the words and phrases which sadly have become clichés – and therefore have lost their fire power.

words and phrases that work well in local advertising HTWB

So many words you can use in local advertising … but which ones really work to get your business quality leads?

Here are the top ten that were listed in an earlier article (with a reminder in italics) along with some better ideas…

The top 10 cliché words and phrases in local ads, and what may work much harder for you

Established for XX years. This rightly suggests long-term commitment and experience, but should never get in the way of how your business is bang up to date with its products and services. The reality is that how long you’ve been established isn’t a benefit to customers [Read more…]

Good testimonials: how to make them write themselves

Back in 2011 when this article first was published, testimonials were still relatively simple to do – perhaps because most business audiences were not as cynical as they are today, so believed what was written in them unconditionally.

Sadly though in recent times we have been plagued by businesses “creating” testimonials – many based on the real thing, but not quite the real thing – and sticking them up in writing on websites. And sadly, that has given rise to testimonials having a dubious complexion.

how to get good testimonials on HTWB

If you simply ask someone to give you a testimonial without giving them any guidelines, you’re leaving it up to luck as to the quality and nature of their response. BUT, there’s a big difference between that and putting words into their mouths.

It’s only in comparatively recent times, when advertising in most industrialised countries has been regulated, that readers know testimonials have to be genuine – or else. There may still be the odd person or two who sneers at testimonials and endorsements, but in the main people now accept them for real, and believe in their honesty. This makes them powerful.

However getting a good testimonial isn’t easy, and for a variety of reasons must not be “written” by someone other than the person giving it. Without putting words in someone’s mouth, then, how do you go about getting good testimonials for your business, website, CV/résumé, etc? [Read more…]

Blogging: the evergreen business favourite – on your own site

When you think that the first ever blog post was written nearly 25 years ago, it makes you wonder why this genre of communication hasn’t been killed and cremated along with many other online comms notions that have bitten the dust since those early years. Why not?

It's good to blog on your own website

Do we still need to bang the drum about blogging on your own website or blogsite?

Well, you know how I love to bang the drum about blogging and how it’s the best way since sliced bread for you to get both traffic and SEO brownie points for your website…could be that’s why blogging is still going strong. Here’s how to make sure it stays strong for you… [Read more…]

An interview about writing: catch up Sunday April 15th

This Sunday I am being honored with an interview by that amazing authors’ emporium Emma’s Detail Shop … based on the west coast of the USA but sharing stunning stuff the world over. Here follows a sneak preview of some of the content.

An interview about writing: catch up Sunday April 15th

My late Mom always said I had an overly-developed sense of the ridiculous.

BUT PLEASE NOTE … I will be on their Facebook page live from 7:00 a.m. Pacific time / 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 3:00 p.m. UK time Sunday April 15th, so do please catch us up on there if you can! Click here to join in… and ask me any questions you may have as long as they are not too embarrassing…

For now though, here is what I’ve shared about my writing, and advice for others

[Read more…]

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