The Essential Guide

How Interview-Based Blogging Enables Busy In-house Experts to Create Authentic Content

From Internal Subject Matter Expert (SME) to Thought Leader: Elevate Content Creation Without Writing a Word

Table of Contents

Introduction

In this fast-paced and ever-evolving world, knowledge is power. Organizations in every industry are seeking individuals with deep expertise and specialized skills to guide them through complexity and uncertainty. Enter the subject matter expert (SME). But what exactly is a subject matter expert?

An SME is an individual with a deep understanding and expertise in a specific field, subject, or domain. They’ve acquired a comprehensive knowledge base and have specialized skills that set them apart from others. SMEs are often sought after for their experience, their in-depth understanding of complex concepts, and their track record of providing expert advice, guidance, and solutions. They stay updated with the latest developments, trends, and advancements within their area of expertise, constantly honing their skills and expanding their knowledge.

SME interview-based blogging refers to the practice of conducting interviews with SMEs and using the insights and expertise gathered from those interviews as content for blog posts. Instead of solely relying on personal research and knowledge, marketers leverage the expertise and perspectives of internal SMEs to provide valuable and authoritative content to their audiences.

Interview-based blogging offers numerous benefits. It allows bloggers to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of in-house SMEs, providing unique insights that may not be easily accessible through other means. By incorporating direct quotes and real-life examples from SME interviews, marketers can enhance the credibility and authenticity of their content.

Moreover, SME interview-based blogging helps to establish your business as a trusted source of information and a thought leader in your field. By engaging in conversations with experts, marketers can gather and synthesize valuable insights from industry leaders.

Chapter 1: Benefits of SME Interview-Based Blogging

SME interview-based blogging can be an extremely effective way to share expertise and experience in an engaging and interesting way. These seven reasons are why you should consider an SME interview for your next blogging opportunity: 

1. Share Your Unique Expertise

Conducting SME interviews for your business blog allows you to share unique and valuable expertise with your audience. By featuring knowledgeable internal experts in your business, you can provide fresh insights and perspectives that go beyond your own knowledge base, offering a richer and more diverse range of content.

2. Capture Your Authentic Voice

Through SME interviews, you can capture and convey your company’s authentic voice as a marketer. By engaging in meaningful conversations with inhouse experts, you can inject your company personality, thoughts, and opinions into the interview process. This helps to build a strong connection with your audience and establishes your business as a credible and trustworthy source of information.

3. Save Time

Conducting SME interviews can save your expert’s time and effort in content creation. On average, it takes nearly four hours to write a single blog post. Instead of your company’s busy experts spending hours researching and writing about a specific topic, you can leverage the expertise of your SMEs by interviewing them and converting it to well-informed and insightful content. This allows marketing teams to produce high-quality blog posts more efficiently, freeing up time for your busy executives and experts.

4. No Writing Experience Required

Almost half of bloggers say they struggle to get readers to engage with content — but that’s no reason to stop publishing blog posts. SME interview-based blogging can be especially beneficial for those busy executives and SMEs who are not confident writers or who lack experience in creating engaging and informative content. With interview-based blogging, your SMEs can create valuable blog posts without the need for extensive writing skills. The interview format allows the content to flow naturally, and quotes from the SMEs can add credibility and depth to the post.

5. Produce Thought Leadership Content

By showcasing the insights of your industry experts, SME interview-based blogging positions your business as a thought leader in your field. Sharing the knowledge and expertise of SMEs helps you establish your company as an authority and trusted voice in the industry. This enhances your credibility, attracts a larger audience, and opens up opportunities for collaboration and networking.

6. One Interview, Many Content Pieces

Conducting an SME interview can provide you with a wealth of content. Beyond just a single blog post, you can repurpose the interview content into multiple forms such as podcasts, videos, social media snippets, or even an entire blog series. This allows you to maximize the value and reach of the interview while also catering to different audience preferences and platforms.

7. Higher Search Engine Ranking

The vast majority (96.55%) of web pages get no traffic from Google. Interview-based content can boost your search engine ranking. Google considers experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust — better known as “E-E-A-T” — when rating page quality. An SME interview can improve the visibility of your blog post in search engine results, driving more organic traffic to your website and increasing your online visibility.

Chapter 2: How to Interview Subject Matter Experts for Content Marketing Projects

When conducting interviews with subject matter experts for content marketing projects, approach the process with a clear strategy in mind. Follow these steps to extract the most valuable content from your next SME interview: 

Before the Interview 

Preparing for an SME interview is crucial to ensure a successful and informative conversation. Here’s what you should do to prepare for success: 

  1. Research the topic: Begin by selecting a topic that your audience is genuinely interested in. Consider the current trends, latest developments, or common questions surrounding the subject. Look for reliable sources of information such as industry publications, research papers, or reputable websites to gain a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
  2. Research the SME: Identify and select an SME who is well suited for the chosen topic. You can start with exploring the members of your company that are already working on the topic of your choice. This allows you to ensure that your content comes from a place of experience and practical knowledge. 
  3. Create interview questions: Develop a list of thoughtful and relevant questions that will prompt insightful responses from the SME. Start with broad and open-ended questions to allow the interviewee to elaborate on their expertise, then progressively delve into more specific and detailed inquiries to explore different aspects of the topic. Consider incorporating hypothetical scenarios or real-world examples to enhance the discussion. It’s crucial to strike a balance between prepared questions and the flexibility to pursue unexpected points during the interview.
  4. Share questions with the SME in advance: It’s a best practice to provide the SME with the list of interview questions prior to the actual conversation. This allows them to prepare their thoughts, gather relevant information, and avoid any potential surprises during the interview. Sharing the questions in advance also promotes a transparent and collaborative approach, ensuring that both parties are fully prepared and on the same page.

During the Interview 

During an SME interview, it’s important to show you are well prepared and engage in effective communication to ensure a productive and successful conversation. These are some practices you should keep in mind during an SME interview:

  1. Explain the purpose of the interview and workflow: Start the interview by clearly communicating the purpose and goals of the interview to the SME. Provide an overview of the interview flow, including the expected duration and the structure of the conversation. This will help both parties understand the context and set expectations for the discussion.
  2. Be an active listener and build rapport: Actively listen to the SME’s responses and show genuine interest in their expertise. Maintain eye contact, nod, and use appropriate verbal cues to demonstrate your engagement. Building rapport and creating a comfortable environment will encourage the SME to share valuable insights and opinions more freely.
  3. Avoid assumptions: Stay open-minded and avoid making assumptions about the SME’s knowledge or opinions. Give them the opportunity to express their thoughts fully before drawing conclusions. Encourage them to provide examples, illustrations, or case studies to support their points, which can further deepen their explanations and reduce any misunderstandings.
  4. Keep the interview on track: Stay focused on the main topic and questions you prepared. Guide the conversation to ensure that the SME’s responses align with the overall objective of the interview. If the discussion starts to veer off track, gently steer it back towards the intended areas of exploration. This will help maintain a structured and meaningful conversation.
  5. Leave time for final comments: Towards the end of the interview, allocate time for the SME to provide any final comments or insights they feel are important to share. This allows them to address any points that may not have been covered in the earlier questions and to highlight key takeaways. This final input can often provide additional valuable information and perspectives.
  6. Avoid going over time: Respect the time allocated for the interview and try to avoid going over the agreed time limit. Be mindful of the SME’s availability and schedule, as well as potential fatigue or loss of focus during extended discussions. If necessary, politely remind the SME of the remaining time and conclude the interview in a timely manner.
  7. Take notes and record the SME interview: It’s crucial to take detailed notes during the interview to capture key points, quotes, and any specific information provided by the SME. Seek their permission to record the interview, if possible, to ensure accuracy and prevent any loss of details. ALWAYS inform the SME about the recording and respect their decision if they prefer not to be recorded.

After the Interview 

After conducting an SME interview, there are important steps to follow to maximize the value of the conversation. Here’s what you should do after an SME interview:

  1. Thank the subject matter expert and your point of contact: Send a follow-up message or email to express your gratitude to the SME for their time, knowledge, and insights. Acknowledge their contribution by emphasizing how their expertise will benefit the intended audience. Additionally, extend thanks to any intermediary or point of contact who facilitated the interview process.
  2. Review your notes and watch the interview: Take some time to review the notes you took during the interview. Ensure that you’ve captured all the important points, quotes, and relevant details accurately. If you recorded the interview, watch or listen to it again to refresh your memory and gather any additional insights that may have been missed during the initial note-taking.
  3. Write and edit content: Use the insights gathered from the SME interview, along with your notes and additional research, to begin writing the final piece. Organize the content in a logical flow, weaving in relevant quotes or examples shared by the SME. Pay attention to clarity, coherence, grammar, and any formatting guidelines that apply to the platform on which the content will be published.
  4. Incorporate feedback: If you received feedback from the SME during the interview or afterward, incorporate it during the editing process. Ensure that their input is accurately reflected in the final content. Seek clarification or request any necessary revisions from the SME to align the content more closely with their intentions and expertise.

Publish, promote, and measure: Once the content has been finalized, publish it on the designated platform, whether it’s a blog, website, social media, or other channels. Develop a promotion strategy to increase its visibility among the target audience, utilizing appropriate marketing techniques such as sharing on relevant platforms, email newsletters, or social media promotion. After publication, track the engagement and measure the impact of the content, monitoring metrics such as page views, social media shares, comments, or feedback from the audience.

How LeadsPanda Can Help You Deliver Consistently Authoritative and Engaging Interview-Based Content

LeadsPanda is a valuable partner that can greatly assist in delivering consistently authoritative and engaging interview-based content. With our comprehensive services, LeadsPanda streamlines the entire process, making it easier to conduct insightful interviews. 

LeadsPanda offers a comprehensive interview preparation process that allows marketers to make the most of their SMEs’ limited time. When SMEs take the time to speak to a content creator, they expect the creator to minimally have a rudimentary understanding of the topic, clear questions for them to answer, and a clear idea of what they intend to achieve with their content.

We also transcribe and organize interview recordings, saving valuable time and effort. Furthermore, we assist in editing and formatting the content, ensuring the final piece is polished and engaging for the target audience. By leveraging LeadsPanda, content marketers can consistently deliver authoritative and captivating interview-based content, driving engagement and establishing their brand as a trusted source of valuable insights.

LeadsPanda can help you with your content needs. Contact us today.