Sean Donahue

Interviewing In-House Experts for Audio/Video Content

November 23rd, 2009

Our recent case study about Level 3 Communications’ video eBook highlighted a great tactic for getting non-marketing colleagues to help create marketing content. It can be hard to convince a busy VP or engineering-type to write something for you, but they’ll often agree to be interviewed on a subject for a video or audio piece.

Interviews are a great way to let knowledgeable staff members share their expertise in a low-pressure, low-commitment way:
o You can give them questions in advance so they can gather their thoughts
o The process can take as little as 15 or 20 minutes
o A little post-production editing can highlight the best bits, even if they ramble a little.

But you have to choose the right people to interview and manage the process carefully to ensure the content is trustworthy and relevant to your prospects. Here are a couple more tips on getting the best out of your subject matter experts:

– Avoid using salespeople for lead-gen interviews.

Nothing against salespeople – they are great at what they do, and know your products’ features and benefits inside and out. But using a salesperson may send the wrong message to prospects.

The vast majority of the audience for your video or podcast isn’t yet ready to talk to a salesperson. Instead, you should feature an authoritative voice from within your organization, such as a technical expert or product manager, who can project an educational, authoritative tone. Save the sales team’s role for negotiating with leads once they’ve been qualified through your marketing process.

– Don’t let subjects read their answers.

People reading off a script almost never sound natural. You want the content to be conversational, not scripted.

If the interview subject is working off of notes and it’s not sounding great, ask them to try it again without reading their notes. Tell them to focus on talking to the interviewer as if it were a one-on-one conversation — not a presentation.

And remember, editing is your friend. You can always delete pauses, “ums” and “ahs” or repetitive statements after the fact.

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