Interview Niche B2B Experts for Better Content Strategy – Search Engine Journal | Region & Cash

The B2B industry can be niche and specific, which can make some people feel like they need to be an expert to create a successful content strategy.

What if I told you that with a little practice and minimal resources, you can strategize like an insider?

Interviews (when done right) can indeed be a powerful tool to learn more about someone or something in depth.

This is especially useful in B2B environments where we can use the Problem > Solution > Impact framework to drive the process.

In this article, we’ll explore why interviewing is an important part of the new client onboarding process, who to interview with, and how to prepare — plus some tips and sample questions to get you started.

Why interview?

Interviewing is an incredibly useful tool when you work in a niche or industry that you may not be familiar with.

This is because it can be used as a research method to understand culture.

Culture—defined as a system of beliefs, worldviews, and values ​​that influence the behavior and material world of part of society—is central to understanding the consumption and purchasing behaviors and motivations of individuals.

Anthropologists use interviews to learn more about human behavior because it facilitates human connection, fosters empathy and insights that often cannot be gained elsewhere.

Last year I worked with a B2B SaaS startup in a niche industry – and after doing as much online research as I could I still felt at a loss as to how to create something that would engage readers and convert them into customers.

I felt like a scammer and my content made it clear that I wasn’t one of them.

Without that human connection, my writing felt dry and didn’t hit the core motivations or issues of individuals or companies in this industry.

That’s when I decided to use my training as an anthropologist.

I asked if I could set up an interview with one of the startup’s employees. The insights I gained into the company and the industry were priceless.

This then led me to remember that I have a family member who also works in this field and I asked her for 30 minutes to pick her brain.

These two interviews resulted in a much deeper understanding of my clients’ daily workload and workflow, their clients’ expectations and the culture of their industry.

This, in turn, helped me create better content that resonated with their target audience.

While SEO feels technical and more quantitative, there are people behind the keywords.

Behind people we have a whole world of influences, experiences, history and market mythologies to explore.

These things cannot be measured in Google Analytics.

Who to interview

This depends on the number of resources available and your capacity.

The interview can be as simple as a 20-minute video call or as in-depth as an hour-long coffee chat.

It also depends on the scope and depth of the topic.

As a rule, you start with your research about the company and its industry. Start at Wikipedia and begin the journey down the rabbit hole.

After completing your homework, you will better understand where knowledge gaps exist.

This can help you determine who to interview.

This can be an employee of the client company, someone who is active on LinkedIn, or even a third cousin who works in the industry.

Use your discretion and professionalism to choose the person with whom you can build a good relationship.

practice makes you better

If you’ve never interviewed before, practicing a few skills will go a long way.

It looks easier than it is and there are no repetitions.

Below I share two aspects of the interview that I find most important and how to prepare for them.

1. Take notes

Choose a high-traffic location near you, e.g. For example, the weekend flea market, a local mall, a sporting event, or a dog park.

Go with a notebook and a pen—no typing.

Find a place to sit and take notes for about 30 minutes while observing everything around you.

No need to be a spy or hide behind a bush. Get involved, but be careful.

Take five minutes to take notes of what you see, providing as much detail as possible. Pause for five minutes and reread your notes, then repeat two more times.

This process will help you take better notes and be more attentive as a participant.

During your interview, you don’t want to be taking notes all the time, and you shouldn’t be.

The interviews should be recorded with the consent of the participant, and notes should supplement what was not said.

Did the interviewer tense up on a certain topic? Were you excited when talking about someone else? Notice these things.

2. Active listening

Active listening is another skill that is essential for a great job interview.

Active listening is about being present and involved in a conversation. That is, you listen to everything the interlocutor tells you and process their perspective and insights while allowing yours to take care of themselves.

Recruit a friend to help you improve your active listening through this exercise.

Set a timer for five minutes.

One of you tells a story or explains something while the other listens.

After five minutes, the listener will attempt to remember as many details as possible about what they have just been told.

Swap places and repeat.

This exercise helps build patience (waiting your turn), listening (not planning what to say next), and being present (by making eye contact).

Tips for job interviews

  • Audio recording of the interviewbut don’t forget to get written consent.
  • Take notes on unspoken things.
  • Keep the interview short with about three to five questions (depending on the length).
  • After the respondent has finished speaking, give them three to four seconds of silence. This encourages many people to share more simply by giving them space to speak and be heard.
  • Be interested in the conversation, but there’s no need to tell or enumerate their stories. Every moment you spend speaking means less information from them.
  • Ask questions to stimulate elaborations. For example, what happened next? How did you explain it to them? Does this happen regularly? What do you think about it?
  • Prepare for your interview by doing research the industry.
  • Don’t forget to get explicit consent and respect the privacy of participants.
  • Reciprocity can go a long way – use it.

Example questions to experts

The goal of interviewing experts is to capture their passions and issues in a casual conversation.

Overly formalizing the interview can make participants uncomfortable about sharing their personal feelings.

When preparing your questions, consider the problem > solution > impact model.

Here are a few examples that work great.

  • How did you come to this professional field?
  • what is your favorite thing around [industry/profession/workflow]?
  • What tool do you use every day at work? What’s great about it? what would you change
  • What does your everyday work look like?
  • How are your relationships with customers? Is there anything you would like to improve?
  • Follow current trends, news, influencers or creators in your industry? Who?

The latter is a gold mine if you’re active online and have a few people in your industry to share – or even blogs, YouTube channels, or social media accounts.

This will be invaluable when it comes to creating and distributing content.

Be careful with leading questions; While this is an interview, it should feel comfortable, like a conversation.

Only then will your interlocutor give the most sincere answers.

Create better content from interviews

Now that we’ve cracked the interview, it’s time to use what we’ve learned and transform your content.

The Social Poll

Take an interesting or controversial point from the interview and post it as a question on an appropriate platform for others in the industry to express their opinions.

Why does this work?

Chances are the issue you raised is a point of contention for others in the industry. Posting is a subtle hint that you’re an insider in their group.

It also shows that you are interested in what people have to say.

Social polls can stimulate a larger discussion or provide interesting results.

If either of those two cases occurs, take it one step further and create longer content from that concept.

A blog article sharing expert and professional quotes from the social poll can attract new readers and help spread the word.

Update existing content

Updating existing content is my favorite content strategy of all time.

There’s no way to make a blog post worse the second time around; It gets even better.

If your interview was successful, you may have picked up some new information about how certain topics are discussed and the jargon around them.

Editing blog post writing styles to reflect industry linguistic patterns gives readers a hint that this is someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Have you ever read something and instantly connected to it?

You may have felt like someone was reading your mind, and as uncomfortable as that may sound, we as humans find it very comforting.

These positive signals that someone is in our “in-group” help us build lasting relationships.

Conclusion

There are countless ways to use interviews to inform or create content strategy – whether they inspire new content or influence the writing style or language of the texts.

The possibilities are endless.

If you take something away from this piece, you understand that (most) people are sociable and like to talk about themselves or their interests.

If someone isn’t interested in an interview or seems withdrawn, don’t choose them.

When an anthropologist is on site and selects an informant, it is someone they get along with, who is respected or known in the community, and who is knowledgeable about a particular topic.

Embrace our basic need for human connection and use it to amplify your content strategy.

If you’re humble and willing to learn from others, you’ll be there in no time.

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Featured image: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

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