How to Use Interviews to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

  • July 8, 2010 by Guest Writer

How interviews can increase traffic to your blog

Guest post by Srinivas Rao of BlogcastFM

As somebody who runs a site on which the only content is interviews with bloggers, I’m a big believer in the power of interviews to generate traffic to a blog. BlogcastFM was the byproduct of a weekly series called Interviews With up and Coming Bloggers I ran on my personal blog for about three months.

One of the major reasons we launched BlogcastFM was because I noticed a significant spike in traffic every single time I did an interview.

How to Select Interviewees

Depending on the topic of your blog, there could be hundreds or thousands of great people out there to interview. What I look for above all is somebody who has an interesting story. If you’re interviewing other bloggers, there are plenty of people with lots of subscribers and lots of traffic. But if they have an interesting story it makes the interview so much more engaging for the listeners.

With that in mind, let’s look at the different kinds of bloggers you might want to consider interviewing.

  • A-listers: A-listers are an interesting bunch. After all they are the most successful people in the game. The truth is they are no different than you or me. They just have more traffic, subscribers, and have been doing this a little longer.

    One good thing about interviewing the A-listers is that they have a substantial following. Most people are interested in hearing from them since they are often the ones we look to as thought leaders.If they promote your interview, then you’ll definitely get a nice spike in traffic.

    On the flip side of this you have to consider the fact that many of these a-listers have been interviewed multiple times and the interview that you do with them might be a small blip on the radar of everything they are working on.

    I’ve interviewed thought leaders and people who are relatively well known who don’t end up promoting the interview I did with them. It’s no fault of their own. The fact is I’m probably one of 100 things on their radar each day, which takes me to the next group of people.

  • Up and Coming Bloggers: Up and coming bloggers are a goldmine for interviews. Keep in mind that up and coming bloggers are not going to be up and coming forever. Some will eventually be big.

    When I interviewed Kelly Diels she had 100 RSS readers. Today she makes her living as a blogger. I’m also fortunate to have established a relationship with her because of the fact that she wasn’t well known when I interviewed her.

    The other thing that up and coming bloggers will do is be much more likely to promote your interview. Given that they are in the “up and coming” category, they know that an interview is a great opportunity generate buzz.

  • Early Stage Bloggers: Early stage bloggers often don’t get the respect that many of them deserve. One of the great things about them is that they are probably the easiest people to form relationships with and could even lead you to your first joint venture.

    The great thing with early stage bloggers is they are looking for opportunities to connect with people. In fact, even if you are somewhat more established it’s the perfect opportunity to bring somebody into the limelight, and believe me, people don’t forget things like that.

How to Leverage an Interview to Increase Traffic

I want to talk about a concept that I call “provide an incentive to every touch point.” One of the things to know about an interview is that in its very nature, it has the potential to go viral. An interview has more touch points than a typical blog post. Let’s dissect this a bit.

The 3 Touch Points of an Interview

  • Interviewee: When we started BlogcastFM, the thinking was that marketing was built into the business model. The fact is that the interviewee is more than likely to promote the interview through retweets, a post on his or her blog, or some other method.

    Despite interviewing some fairly big bloggers, I started to notice that the interviews were not getting as many tweets as I thought they would or page views. So, I started to rethink the strategy a bit and realized that I had missed the boat on two other touch points.

  • Your Readers/Listeners: For your readers/listeners the most important thing you can do is provide value. With all the feedback we had received I was fairly confident we had accomplished that goal. But, I hadn’t given the readers/listeners an incentive to share the interview with their followers.
  • The Readers/Listeners of the Interviewee: This is another group of people that your interview will likely come in contact with. Chances are they also a significantly bigger group than your readers/listeners. So, it would really be in your best interest to make sure they have an incentive to promote the interview as well.

The Incentive

In my recent interview with Corbett, I asked him if he would be willing to giveaway something as a part of the interview. I have found that having people I interview giveaway an ebook or other product/service tends to build a significantly higher buzz about the interview and in some cases even sales of the the interviewee’s product.

The Benefits of Audio Based Interviews

  • Authenticity: About 7 months ago I started to realize how multimedia content can enhance the authenticity of relationships. Almost every person I have a relationship in the blogosphere is somebody I’ve interviewed.

    The thing that audio content gives you is a dynamic and engaging conversation. It’s as close to how we would interact in real life as you could get in the online world so naturally it will increase the depth of your relationship with somebody. When Nathan Hangen came to visit LA, we went to a bar and had drinks and it was as if we’d already known each other for quite some time because of our Skype chats.

  • Challenging to Replicate: One of the other things I that I find particularly compelling about audio based content is that it’s not easy for another person to replicate. Email-based interviews are everywhere online and since they are not time consuming to produce, they can easily be replicated. The other thing audio provides is that it would ultimately be different on every blog because a different person would be conducting the interview.
  • Speaking Skills: Audio based interviews also significantly enhance your speaking skills because of the fact that you are forced to speak to people constantly. This can eventually translate into other opportunities in other areas of your life.
  • Network/Relationships: While I don’t necessarily form a deep relationship with every single person I interview, there are some people who have become a part of my network because of the fact that I’ve interviewed them.

Interviews not only give a great chance to get expert advice and great content for your blog, as Corbett pointed out in another post. They can also open doors to so much more from traffic, to speaking opportunities, to new connections and relationships.

Have you used interviews successfully on your blog? What other tips would you share? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

photo by Thomas Hawk

Srinivas Rao is obsesses about riding waves over at his personal blog The Skool of Life. He is also the host and co-founder of BlogcastFM. You can follow him on Twitter @skooloflife