Having trouble finding subject experts for your content marketing interviews? It can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Interviews require time and resources, but the effort is worth it. It will help you create valuable content that your audience will benefit from and share.
By interviewing experts, you’ll be able to:
- Elevate your content marketing
- Find unique angles for your content
- Make complex topics easier to understand
- Provide context for your content
- Get more eyes on your work
Before we dive into where to find subject experts for your content marketing interviews, let’s look at each one of these benefits.
Elevate your content marketing
You can churn out basic content to feed the meter and meet monthly quotas. But it won’t do your content marketing or your audience any favors. Quality over quantity matters. Take the example of a white paper. You might be able to churn out a couple of white papers a month from online research and your own knowledge. But if you invest more effort and interview subject experts, the difference will be noticeable. It will give your content depth, credibility and perspective. As a result, content marketing interviews can improve content in so many ways.
Find unique angles for your content
Subject experts can help you pick topics apart and look at them with unique perspectives. Moreover, they can help you explore what’s new and why it matters. They can also identify gaps where others aren’t covering niche topics. Unless you’re in the trenches of your topic everyday, you probably don’t have their insights. Before you contact them for content marketing interviews, be sure their point of view is appropriate for your audience.
Make complex topics easier to understand
Technical subjects often require experts to explain things in a way that general audiences can understand. Let’s say you don’t grasp the finer points of metallography. That’s where industry scientists can help you break it down. Above all, you can make the topic meaningful for people who know nothing about it. For example, the fasteners used to build an airplane require extensive metallurgical testing. You could write an article about the testing, but an expert will explain its importance and how it works.
Provide context for your content
Experts add depth to a story that isn’t possible with a straight narrative. In short, think about the difference between these two examples:
Example A: An article that tells you hospitals are creating new executive roles
Example B: An article that features interviews with hospital leaders. They provide meaningful context and explain the who, what, when, where, why and how.
A is nice to know, but it has no substance. Without meat on the bones, you don’t know the significance of the information. Moreover, why do I care? As a reader, what does it mean to me? Will it affect my medical care?
On the other hand, B will likely answer all of my questions. I’ll understand the hospitals’ rationale and what the results will be.
Get more eyes on your work
Well-placed quotes from experts give content credibility. Simply put, people pay more attention to content that has expert quotes and information from content marketing interviews. As a result, experts will be more likely to share it with their networks. And the experts you interviewed may share it, too. That means you’ll extend your content’s reach significantly. Above all, make it easy for them by providing teaser copy they can post to their social channels. In addition, be sure to include relevant hashtags.
Where to find subject experts for your content marketing interviews
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of expert interviews, let’s explore how to find the right sources.
Your company most likely has subject experts in-house. They might even sit next to you. Consequently, some companies designate thought leaders who share their expertise. Meanwhile, others have “hidden” subject experts. Who are these secret sources? At most organizations, employees are constantly learning new skills. In addition, they share their knowledge with one another. They’re instrumental in helping their companies succeed. Therefore, look to them to contribute to your marketing and technical content.
Your customers may be your best kept “secret.” They can offer a deep dive into many topics. Moreover, they’ll appreciate that you value their knowledge enough to seek content marketing interviews with them. If you have strong ties with them, they’ll likely be happy to help. But steer clear of asking for proprietary information. You don’t want them to fret about tipping off their competitors.
Most customers won’t expect an incentive to participate. Treating them with a lunch or handwritten note is a nice gesture though.
This platform is from well-known agency PR Newswire. It connects experts with people who want to interview them. While ProfNet is geared toward journalists, you can sign up if you fit into categories that include:
- Trade journal writers
The database contains experts in 14 categories, including:
- Speakers and consultants
- Government agencies
You can submit a query online and wait for sources to contact you. Or you can search ProfNet’s database to find appropriate experts for your content marketing interviews.
Expertise Finder is a search engine to find academic experts. Search for the type of expertise you need, read profiles and connect. The directory includes more than 30,000 North American faculty members. Experts must be with an accredited university or college. Most profiles include an email address and/or phone number.
Coursera Expert Network
Coursera is a well-known online learning platform. Coursera Expert Network connects journalists with experts from top universities. It has a searchable database of experts. Each expert has a profile and contact information. The database is for journalists but allows others to contact experts.
Similarly, ExpertFile is designed for journalists. It has a database of curated experts. Experts are from universities, institutions, think tanks and other sources. Profiles include bios, expertise background and contact preferences. If you’re not a journalist, you can use the “general” inquiry form.
Contact the media relations departments at universities. Many curate lists of professors who will share their expertise. Explain your topic and the type of professors you’re looking for. After that, the media relations staff will help make the introductions. On the other hand, if you need a quick quote and prefer to avoid media relations, try a Google search. For example, search for “university professors who are experts in nanotechnology.” You’ll see several schools and faculty members. Profiles and contact information are listed, too.
Do you need more academic sources? Try Google Scholar. It includes journal articles and academic papers, among other content. Search by subject and year to find relevant publications. Next, look up the authors of those publications as potential sources. Their email addresses are often listed in the publications. If not, you can search university and college directories online.
Professional associations are as prolific as oxygen. Simply search for your topic and “professional associations” online. Some associations have experts who can provide background and quotes. Others will connect you with their members who are subject experts. Associations can also provide background about your topic and their experts.
National and nonprofit groups
Find national and nonprofit groups with an online search. For example, if you need an expert for an article about growth hormone treatment, search for “growth hormone organizations.” The results show several national groups. Next, look for their media relations contacts. Once you have their info, you can contact them for your content marketing interviews.
First, search your LinkedIn connections. The goal is to see if anyone in your network has the expertise you need. If you strike out, use the search box in the top left corner of your profile. For example, enter “artificial intelligence experts.” Narrow your search by selecting “People” or “More” and then “Companies,” “Schools” or “Groups.” Within the “People” search, you can drill down to locations and current companies. Next, home in on the right sources by adding more keywords or excluding keywords. For example, you can look for artificial intelligence experts. Then you can filter those who don’t have enough experience.
Conferences and trade shows
You don’t have to attend a conference or trade show to find prospective experts. Instead, search for events that focus on your topic online. Next, review the agendas to identify scheduled speakers. After that, search for those speakers to learn more about their expertise and how to contact them.
Search online for authors who’ve written about your topic. You’ll need to do your homework to ensure they’re qualified. But remember that anyone can write and self-publish a book. Certainly, authors appreciate free publicity. Offer to include their names and book titles in your content. As a result, it will be a win for you and a win for them.
Enter your topic in Google and dig through the results. Search for experts, influencers, bloggers and many others. Use Boolean searches to help you find results that match the expertise you seek. Boolean search uses modifiers to refine searches. Modifiers include “and,” “or,” “not” and quote marks around search terms.
What's not included
I omitted one source from this list: Help a Reporter (HARO). By reading online reviews, you’d think HARO is the top resource for experts. Sure, if you work at The Wall Street Journal. What most reviews don’t share is that HARO is difficult to access. Check out HARO’s long list of rules. The biggest hurdle? Your website must have a Similarweb ranking of 1 million or less. The tool gauges websites’ popularity based on traffic. The lower your Similarweb rank, the more popular your site.
Trust but verify
No matter where you find sources for your content marketing interviews, don’t skim their credentials. Trust but verify. I know this from my journalism days. But I’ve even stumbled. Consequently, I contacted an “expert” on LinkedIn for an article I was writing. It was an author who had many industry accolades. In addition, he made several appearances on national news programs. As a result, I messaged him through LinkedIn, requesting an interview. But it’s a good thing he ignored me. I discovered the study he based his book on had paid participants. Consequently, I found the fine print buried in his website.
Now that you’ve built a list of experts, the next step is to contact them and line up interviews. Check out this post with my best tips for how to approach experts and ace interviews.