Interview with niche B2B experts for a better content strategy

The B2B industry can be niche and specific, which can lead some to feel that they need to be experts in order 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 (if done correctly) can really be a powerful tool to gain insight into someone or something.

This is especially useful in a B2B setting, where we can use the Problem > Solution > Impact Framework to guide 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 – along with some tips and sample questions to help you get started.

Why interview?

Interviewing is a very useful tool when working 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 beliefs, worldviews and value systems that influence behaviour and parts of society’s material world – is critical to understanding individual consumption and buying behaviours and motivations.

Anthropologists use interviews to learn more about human behavior because it fosters human connection and encourages empathy and insight not usually available elsewhere.

Last year I worked at a B2B SaaS startup in a niche industry – after doing as much online research as possible, I was still at a loss as to how to create methods that would attract readers and convert them into customers.

I feel like a liar and my content makes it clear that I am not one of them.

Without this interpersonal relationship, my writing feels dull and doesn’t touch upon the core motivations or issues of individuals or companies in the industry.

This is when I decided to leverage my training as an anthropologist.

I asked if I could schedule an interview with one of the startup’s staff. My insights into the company and the industry are invaluable.

It reminds me that I have a family member who also works in this field, and I let them spend 30 minutes picking their brains.

These two interviews gave me a better understanding of the client’s daily workload and workflow, client expectations, and industry culture.

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

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

Behind humanity, we have a world full of influence, experience, history and market myth Uncover.

These things cannot be measured in Google Analytics.

who to interview

It depends on the amount of available resources and your capacity.

An interview can be as simple as a 20-minute video call or as deep as an hour-long chat over coffee.

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

Typically, you’ll start with research around the company and its industry. Start your journey down the rabbit hole, starting with Wikipedia.

After completing the assignment, you will have a better understanding of where your knowledge gaps lie.

This can help you determine who to interview.

It could be an employee from a client organization, someone active on LinkedIn, or even a third cousin working in the industry.

Use your judgment and professionalism to choose people with whom you can develop a good relationship.

Practice makes you better

If you’ve never had an interview before, practicing some skills will go a long way.

It looks easier than it is and has not been redone.

Below, I’ll share two aspects of interviews that I think are the most important and how to prepare for them.

1. Take notes

Choose a high-traffic location in your area, such as a weekend flea market, local mall, sporting event, or dog park.

Bring a notebook and pen – no typing.

Find a place where you can sit for 30 minutes or so and observe everything around you while taking notes.

There’s no need to be a spy or hide behind a bush. Blend in, but be perceptive.

Take five minutes to record what you see and include as much detail as possible. Take a five-minute break, read your notes, and repeat two more times.

This process will help you learn to take better notes and stay observant rather than participant.

During your interview, you don’t want to keep taking notes, and neither should you.

The content of the conversation should be recorded with the consent of the participants, and the content not spoken should be supplemented.

Is the interviewer nervous about a particular topic? Are they full of excitement when they’re talking about another person? Pay attention to these things.

2. Active listening

Active listening is another essential skill for a great interview.

Active listening is about being present and participating in the conversation. This means that you are listening to everything your interviewee is telling you and processing their perspectives and insights while keeping yours to yourself.

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

Set a timer for five minutes.

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

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

Swap positions and repeat.

This exercise helps develop patience (waiting for your turn to speak), listening skills (not planning what to say next), and presence (by making eye contact).

interview skills

  • Taped interviewbut don’t forget to obtain written consent.
  • jot down unsaid things.
  • Keep the interview short, about three to five questions (depending on length).
  • After the respondent stops talking, give them three to four seconds of silence. This encourages many to share more and just gives them space to speak and be heard.
  • Interested in conversations, but without the need to relate or tell their stories individually. Every moment you speak equals less information from them.
  • Ask questions to encourage elaboration. For example, what happened next? How did you explain it to them? Does this happen often? What do you think about this?
  • Prepare for an interview with research industry.
  • Don’t forget to get explicit consent And respect the privacy of the participants.
  • Au Pair can go long way – use it.

Sample Questions to Ask the Experts

The purpose of interviewing experts is to capture their enthusiasm and questions in casual conversation.

Overly formalized interviews can cause participants to feel uncomfortable sharing their personal feelings.

Consider the Problem > Solution > Impact Model when preparing the problem.

Here are some examples that work well.

  • How did you get into this line?
  • what is your favorite thing about [industry/profession/workflow]?
  • What tools do you use at work every day? What’s so great about it? What will you change?
  • What is your daily workflow like?
  • How is your relationship with customers? Is there anything you would like to improve?
  • Do you follow current trends, news, influencers or creators in your industry? who?

The last one is a gold mine if they are active online and can share with some people in their industry – even a blog, YouTube channel or social media account.

This becomes invaluable when content needs to be created and distributed.

Be careful with leading questions; although it’s an interview, it should feel comfortable, like a conversation.

Only then will your respondents share the most sincere answers.

Create better content from interviews

Now that we’ve finished interviewing, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and change your content.

social opinion polls

Take an interesting or controversial point from the interview and ask it as a question on the appropriate platform where others in the industry can voice their opinion.

Why does this work?

Chances are, the topic you bring up is a point of contention for others in the industry. Posting this is implying that you are an insider of their group.

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

Social polls can spark larger discussions or produce interesting results.

If either of these happens, you can go a step further and create longer content based on that concept.

A blog post sharing expert and professional quotes from social polls can attract new readers and help with distribution.

Update existing content

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

There is no way to make a blog post worse the second time around. It’s always improving.

If your interview was successful, you may have gained some new information on how to discuss certain topics and the jargon surrounding them.

Editing the writing style in your blog post to reflect the language patterns of the industry will give the reader a clue that this is someone who knows what they are talking about.

Have you ever read something and immediately connected to it?

You might feel that someone is reading your mind, which sounds uncomfortable, but as humans, we feel comfortable with it.

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

in conclusion

There are countless ways to use interviews to inform or help create a content strategy—whether it’s to inspire new content, or to influence the writing style or language used in copywriting.

The opportunities are endless.

If you remove anything from this post, please understand that (most) people are social and love to talk about themselves or their interests.

If someone isn’t interested in being interviewed or seems closed off, then don’t pick them.

When anthropologists are in the field and choose an informant, it’s someone they get along with, someone who is respected or well-known in the community, and someone who is knowledgeable about a particular topic.

Embrace our fundamental need for relationships and use it to expand your content strategy.

If you are humble and willing to learn from others, you will get there in no time.

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Featured Image: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

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