Although some of you may not be that excited about the technique I’m just about to describe, I have to admit that I was very impressed when I first stumbled upon it. Just like the headline suggests, it’s a bit sneaky, but nevertheless, I can see its potential to work really well in specific guest blogging scenarios.
Now, I didn’t try it out myself yet, but I was (actually, I am right now) on the receiving end of it. I won’t throw any names around though. Let’s just focus on the meaty part.
One of the slightly less popular guest blogging methods is to try landing a guest interview. I mentioned this briefly in one of my previous posts here.
In short, the whole idea revolves around finding a respectable person in a given niche, interviewing them, and then offering the interview as a guest post to a high profile blog. Those big blogs are much more likely to accept such an interview over a traditional guest contribution. Purely because they usually carry more promotional power (the blogger uses the reputation of the interviewee vs. just relying on the quality of a standard guest post).
Naturally, the only tough part is finding a worthy guest and convincing them to answer your questions. Usually, the more popular the person is, the harder it is to get them on board.
There is a trick, however. Here’s the step-by-step:
Step #1: Pick the blog
The whole point of this method is getting published on a highly popular blog that could be difficult to get into otherwise. So for this to work, aim slightly higher than you would with a standard guest post.
The important thing to check when doing your research is to make sure that the blog indeed publishes occasional interviews. If there was never a single interview published there, you will find it very hard to convince the editors to give it a shot.
Based on this, pick one to three target blogs.
(Personally, I would advise just one, to make your efforts highly focused. But to cover more ground, you can try with up to three. Your risk.)
Step #2: Pick your target
Picking the interviewee is the most crucial part of the process. You can’t just aim for someone based purely on their level of popularity. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to get the highest caliber of people to do the interview, no matter how you intend to pitch them.
So you need to pick your guest very carefully or else you will condemn the whole guest interview to failure before it even starts.
Begin by researching possible people and try finding the one person who would really benefit from appearing on the specific blog you’ve chosen in step #1.
Try to come up with the exact reasons why such an appearance would be valuable and write them down so you can then use them when pitching the person later on. Also, make sure that the niche of the blog and the area of expertise of the person match.
Select just one person to be your target for this.
Step #3: Pick the topic
Every good interview has a topic – something more than just a simple “tell us about your life and career.”
A good way to approach this is to select a single problem/issue just like you would for a standard blog post. Create an outline, and then instead of finding the solutions to the problem yourself, compile a list of questions that will enable the guest to be the person solving the problem in the interview.
You don’t need to do all of this right away, though. To get started, you just need a general description of the topic and the goal of the interview. Make it short, concise, and to-the-point. Your guest and the blog you’re reaching out to both need to be able to understand the idea clearly.
— ENTER THE SNEAKY —
Step #4: Pitch the blog
Okay, so this is where the sneaky part comes into play. First, you start by pitching the blog.
You say that you want to offer them a unique interview with Person X on topic Y that you’re working on right now. Then, you go over why the interview will be valuable for the audience and so on. Basically, the standard rules of pitching apply here.
However, the sneaky bit is that you’re not mentioning anywhere that you haven’t even approached your target at that point.
You act like everything is set, like you’ve got the person on board and like you’re both sitting together in a room right now and working on the interview.
I told you it’s going to get sneaky. And if you hate the method then please don’t hate me, I’m just the messenger who’s stumbled upon this randomly.
If you get a green light from the blog, move on to the next and final step.
Step #5: Pitch the target
You email your target (interviewee) and say that you’re working together with Blog X and that you’d like to invite them to do an interview on Topic Y. You also say why the appearance will be valuable for the person (you say exactly what’s in it for them using the notes you’ve created previously).
Later on, you can mention that it’s a guest post if you feel like it, but it’s not required (at least no one told me).
If the person says yes, you conduct the interview, get it edited, and ultimately published on the target blog.
This whole method doesn’t sound particularly honest, to say the least. But on second thought, it’s just a trick to get everybody to say yes, and after that, you still have to produce a quality interview containing a load of insights that the audience will appreciate. So does the end justify the means? Feel free to answer this yourself.
For me, it’s surely an interesting way to get your foot through the door and land a spot on a site that wouldn’t accept you otherwise. I don’t know if I’m ever going to use it, but I’m certainly impressed with the ingenuity!