3 journalistic interviewing techniques for content marketers

Canned questions or, worse, emailed questionnaires will get you cookie-cutter responses. Work instead from a basic outline, and let the conversation flow where it may.

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When I first transitioned from journalism into marketing, I had plenty to learn.

I had to learn what a call to action was (not to mention how to create a good one). I had to learn the finer points of email subject lines. I even had to learn what content marketing was.

Fortunately, my new bosses appreciated the things I came equipped with, including that I knew the difference between affect and effect. But I surprised them with another skill: I knew how to interview people—including clients—for marketing content.

I was surprised to learn how many marketing “pros,” while working on content such as a case study with successful client, chose the “canned questions” approach to interviews. Some of my predecessors would email off a questionnaire and call it a day. Others would actually get clients on the phone—but then read through scripted questions. No wonder so much of the resulting content was so stale.

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