I just started interviewing local business owners for my site, Stay New England.
- Legit media brands conduct interviews, why not me?
- I think it’s important to have some amount of content on my site that’s not simply targeting long tail keywords
- I am genuinely interested in hearing from the owners of the bars, restaurants and hotels we frequent
When I shared this approach (interviewing business owners) on Twitter, I immediately got a bunch of questions.
Are you doing these interviews in person? Or by phone?
How do you get them to agree to do the interview in the first place?
How should I approach an owner?…
I’m lazy by nature.
It’s not that I’m afraid of hard work, I just ALWAYS look for the path of least resistance first. It helps me to get started.
And that’s the path I’m on now with my interview series, Meet New England.
At some point I’ll probably need to ratchet up the effort, but here’s my un-sexy approach as of today…
I started by creating a list of all the bars, restaurants and hotels we love, and have frequented often.
I threw those all into a Google sheet, and then one-by-one I went hunting for an email address to contact them at.
Once I had a pretty decent list pulled together, I started my outreach.
Here’s an example of my “pitch”:
Some of this was inspired by Pat Walls from StarterStory.
When he interviewed Keith and I (Niche Twins) for his website, he sent us an initial outreach email with a lot of this same language.
But I tried to take it a step further – I included a photo.
Not just any photo, a photo of me, and or my family at their place of business.
The idea is to stand out. Even if only a little.
If you owned a business, and you got an email of a kid, or a family at your place of business, I can guarantee you’re at least reading the email.
The result is that I’ve heard back from about 50% of the business that I’ve reached out to.
Which is pretty good.
And of those that respond, most are more than happy to do the interview.
The “interview” is just 10 pre-determined questions (with instructions) that I share with them via a Google Doc – nothing too fancy.
Occasionally I won’t hear back, so I follow up with something like this:
So Phase 1 is just a personal outreach email with an interview template for them to fill out on their own.
Phase 2, if I don’t hear back, is to propose a potentially easier path for them – a phone call. They talk, I write.
And that’s it.
Admittedly I have not been putting in the time I feel I should to this lately – I should be sending several outreach emails a day. But life, you know?
I’ve also learned that this is a lot more work than I initially anticipated.
The back and forth with email, customizing the interview templates, editing the responses and getting the owner to review those changes.
It all adds up.
Really it’s the perfect job for a virtual assistant…which I will be exploring.
So there it is – behind the un-sexy scenes at Stay New England.
Hope you enjoy the long weekend.
And THANK YOU to all the Veterans out there. It’s because of you that the rest of us get to wake up and pursue what we love each and every day.
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