content marketing

How to Ace the Individual Interview

I was informed that I had an unusual voice from an early age. I tended to whisper a lot since it was a bit too low for a girl. My large, echoic childhood home is to blame for the whispering. You had to whisper if you didn’t want mom to overhear you chatting about trivial stuff on the phone.

Before doing interviews for market research and editorial purposes, I was unaware of the value of my whisper-like speech. People found it easy to confide in me because of my calm voice, which I believe somehow inspires trust in others. I was subsequently requested to participate in further interviews, and the process was repeated until I discovered that I loved it. And with time, I improved at it.

Interviewing for content marketing purposes

I’ve learned a lot via hundreds of interviews, including how to manage conflict, maintain a lively dialogue, and craft insightful questions. And conducting interviews is a crucial skill for content marketers.

One of the uses is

Editorial – Interviews are a great way to gather unique insights for your blog, podcast, vlog, book, or other media.

Research: My favourite projects at my firm, Mantis Research, combine quantitative surveys with a few one-on-one interviews that add richness to the narrative that companies are attempting to convey.

Customers: Do you need some fresh content ideas? Customer interviews can provide fascinating material. How to achieve this is covered in a fantastic piece by Stephen Dupont in CCO magazine.

1.Align the interviewer and the subject

Similarly, if you’re doing an interview with a CEO for a survey, make sure the interviewer comes across as informed and credible. No, you won’t locate another CEO to interview the CEO, but you should pick an interviewer who is knowledgeable enough to help the CEO relax and provide thoughtful answers.

2.Be careful while selecting your recording and transcription technique.

Every interviewer dreads misplacing a tape and having to start again. I’ve only experienced that once, and fortunately I was also transcribing in real time—which, as I’ll explain later, is generally not a good idea. I normally use a different device for live interviews (and for high-value interviews, I set my iPhone app to record in parallel). I use the Voice Memos app on my iPhone for phone interviews (or via Skype, where I rely on Call Recorder, a Skype plug-in). 

3.Conduct further research.

Do your studies in advance of the interview. It’s important to research the background, field of study, publications, and accomplishments of your topic. I even search online for interview records to watch how others act. I was happy that I had listened to several of Fran Lebowitz’s prior interviews before I spoke with her a year ago. 

4.Consider your path of inquiry.

I usually prepare some questions for my interview subjects, but I try not to prepare too much. When you over prepare, you often lose focus and become oblivious to potential questions that may be asked during the interview. The majority of my questions (sometimes more) may not match my plan, but in general, I provide an overview of the topics I want to learn about as well as suggestions for ways to pick up on things that we may touch on.

5.Avoid sharing questions beforehand

If someone asks for my questions, I will just provide the bare minimum because I absolutely dislike releasing them in advance. First off, if you share questions, your interviewee can over prepare and come out as stiff in the process. Additionally, it places the locus of control in the interviewee’s hands, making it less likely for them to divulge unanticipated or private information. Finally, making your strategy public makes it more challenging to veer from it.

  The interview

1.Avoid fawning

It’s easy to fall into the “I’m such a big fan” inclination during celebrity interviews. Don’t. It’s uncomfortable to hear this all day long from famous individuals. Don’t mention anything about your celebrity infatuation until you have something important to say about them, like how a movie they made altered your life. Think of them like you would any other professional.

2.Give background

Inquire your subjects if they have any queries regarding the target audience or the intended usage of the interview. It serves as an icebreaker, and the audience’s knowledge is frequently helpful in shaping the replies.

3.Request consent before recording

Ask for permission to record the interview if you plan to do so, and be sure to make it clear that you will only be using the tape for transcription. And never give anyone else access to the transcription other than your transcriber.

4.Ask the opening query.

Your first query ought to be a bit of a softball; it should have a straightforward resolution and avoid touchy topics. Before asking the challenging questions, you should get to know the candidate, just as you wouldn’t ask a personal question on a first date.

How to begin a stride

1.Be aware of your pace

Successful interviews frequently have a pleasant pace. The art of digging deeper and gaining confidence requires practice. Building rapport and learning additional information may be achieved by structuring your inquiries in a progression from simple and informal to probing and genuine.

2.Veer off the course

Be willing to go off course throughout the interview. Likewise, go back to your initial inquiries if one detour doesn’t yield any results. Another good reason to always utilise a recording device is that you can simply make mid-interview course changes if you’re not transcribing or taking notes.

3.Take into account strange inquiries that probe

Over the years, I’ve developed a few questions that I think are both bizarre and beautiful since they are unexpected and fantastic because, occasionally, my topic exposes a lot in response.

We’ve all heard of the classic motif known as the hero’s journey, in which the protagonist sets out to track down and slay a monster. That monster can occasionally take the form of a real-world person or problem, or it can occasionally exist in a psychic or spiritual dimension. What monster do you have?

Although the query led to some difficult situations, it also elicited some really moving and intimate replies. 

4.Understand the value of silence.

The interviewer’s armoury includes the potent weapon of silence. Do not be uncomfortable with the stillness. Sit it down. Sometimes the person you’re interviewing is coming up with a response and needs some time to let it solidify. Sometimes the subject is debating whether or not to reveal the truth. The likelihood that you’ll hear something intriguing improves if you wait patiently through stillness.

5.Avoid profiting from suffering

If you foster enough warmth and camaraderie, an interviewee could occasionally divulge something really intimate and even upsetting. I never utilise information. That someone gives me, that is extremely personal without their express consent. One famous person I spoke with revealed something so intimate and moving that I wondered if he would ever want to share it. He did give us the go-ahead to print those remarks, but I wanted to make sure he was at ease. It involves treating your topic like a person.

6.Avoid bringing attention to oneself

I’ve seen conversations when the interviewer starts out by sharing his or her opinions on the subject in an attempt to establish oneself as a peer. Avoid doing this. You are allowed to introduce a thought or statement to start the conversation or guide the flow, but you must do it in a supportive capacity.

7.Describe the post-interview procedure clearly.

Finish your interview by describing the following stages in detail, including if they will evaluate the final interview and/or layout and the anticipated launch date. Prior to pressing “publish,” be sure to ping them so they may share the interview with their networks.

Learn about interviews.

If you do interviews frequently, learn the interviewing process. There is much to be learned from other fields, such as literature on public speaking, negotiating, and even mindfulness. I’d be interested in hearing about the tools that you as an interviewer find most helpful, as well as tales of your best or most disastrous interviews.

How to Make Your Podcast Show Up in Search Results

Even if your podcast contains a tonne of excellent content, it wasn’t until last year that someone looking online for subjects associated with that audio content would have known it even existed.

In its 2019 update, Google included the ability to index podcasts, but many podcasters haven’t taken advantage of this to improve their SEO. Change that, then. What you need to know about podcast SEO and how to increase your podcast’s rating is provided here.

But before we continue, keep in mind that this advice is predicated on the quality of your podcast’s content. Searchers must determine that your material is relevant before they continue, just like they do with non-audio stuff.

1.Create a podcast with a compelling name and description

You must conduct keyword research, just like with non-audio material, to support your SEO efforts. The rest of this advice must be used when you have determined what, how, and how frequently your potential listeners seek online.

When deciding on the name of your podcast, give the main term some thought. The podcast’s title should, above all else, make that apparent to potential listeners. Additionally, it assists Google in determining how to rank your podcast in search results.

Use an illustrative subtitle and a keyword if your title doesn’t state the subject clearly. This language will increase the likelihood that the podcast will rank, as it provides crucial context for Google to understand when indexing the podcast.

Podcast meta descriptions are crucial for search on podcast directories like Spotify and Apple, as well as Google. Include your main term in the description just once. Clearly state the purpose of the podcast as well as its topic.

In terms of the ideal description length, Google shows between 155 and 160 characters. Don’t, however, stop there. Think about the platform used to distribute the podcast.

2.Center each episode around a certain term.

You should now utilise your keyword research to design your episodes after your title and meta description have been adjusted.

Create each episode around a certain term. By doing this, there are more chances for episodic material to show up in the rankings. The more focused subject increases the likelihood that a searcher with informative intentions will pay attention.

The episode’s title and summary should both contain the episode’s keyword. The episode title and description, like the podcast title and description, should make it apparent what the episode is about, especially in relation to a searcher’s goal.

3.Use the term.

Saying your keyword throughout the podcast helps optimise its content, much like with YouTube. Search engines consider your content when determining if it is the best match for a given search phrase. In order to get better results, use synonyms for your keyword rather than stuffing your script with as many instances of it as you can. (Be sure their inclusion seems natural; otherwise, listeners will get disinterested.)

4.Disseminate a transcript

Written texts are much easier for Google to scan than audio files. Despite the fact that Google now automatically transcripts podcasts, it’s still preferable to post a transcript as well. You may use a transcription service, like Wavve, to take your audio file and automatically transcribe your podcast audio for posting. Then, edit the transcription with the text-based SEO, such as subheads, that you had previously chosen for your podcast (title, meta description, etc). (H2, H3 headings, internal links, backlinks, etc.) Submit the page to Google Search Console for indexing after publishing the transcript on your website (it might be its own blog post).

5.Remember Google podcasts

Google has a dedicated podcasting app. You may follow the procedures by going to Google Podcasts Manager. It will assist Google in displaying audio excerpts from your podcasts on search results pages. You can also use it to track your rankings and improve your content optimization.

Tips for Making Your Content Stick

Time disappears. Memorable messages never fade.


As Chip and Dan Heath point out in their marketing classic Made to Stick, they are designed to stick.

To help you make your material memorable, the Heath brothers offer a checklist for developing sticky messaging.

Let’s go over five of those suggestions along with illustrations from businesses that have used them.

1.Keep things very straight forward.

Determine your main point before you write a single word. Your material must be governed by this central theme, providing organization, focus, and direction.

How to proceed

Make sure your material has a straightforward, obvious theme before anything else. Ideally, you should sum everything up in one line. Your headline and each phrase should clearly state your subject.

Let’s compare an article that lists the advantages of eating veggies to one that explains why carrots are fantastic for vision, as an example.

The first is overly broad and all-encompassing. Quelle vegetables? How can the reader remember the content if the author lists every veggie and every perk? According to research, there is a limit to how much information we can take in at once.

The topic is more general; the article on carrots is more specific. It is simpler to keep in mind that carrots are beneficial for vision. Readers may also see a carrot. It is palpable.

2.Grab attention to something unexpected.

According to research, individuals learn by looking for patterns. We look for routines and consistency.

How to proceed

Consider a novel viewpoint on a well-liked subject. And if you declare something unexpected, support it with evidence.

For instance, if you work in the health area, you could write an essay about how dark chocolate with almonds lowers the risk of heart disease. Here is a draft of a headline: Did You Know That Dark Chocolate and Almonds are Your Heart’s Desire?

3.Reject abstraction and adopt concreteness

The shortest path between locations A and B on a flat surface is a straight line. Your material must adhere to this regulation.

When you present your message in tangible terms, you give the reader a clear path to follow. If you present your message in an abstract manner, you give your audience a muddled, squiggly line. Once bewildered, they take off running.

How to proceed

Making each notion tangible should come first. Use metaphors and analogies to aid with this. Don’t speak in jargon.

Here’s an illustration:

  • Abstract: “I need to relax.”
  • Concrete: “I need to get the cobwebs out of my head.”

The first term is overused, unimaginative, and monotonous. What next? Its direct language draws you in. It is visualisable. It is considerably more enduring.

4.Connect via emotions

Your audience will pay attention if it’s a topic they care about. They will care and respond to what you provide if you appeal to their emotions.

How to proceed

Find the emotion that connects your message to your intended audience. Readers are more inclined to care if you add that emotion to your material.

5.Draw audiences in with an engaging tale

According to research, individuals don’t only hear stories; they also experience them. It has the ability to transfer.

How to proceed

Tell a relevant story to help your target reader understand your message.

Imagine that you are writing a piece for Dole that urges readers to eat more bananas. Your narrative starts with a lazy individual dozing off at their desk in the middle of the morning. The patient had enough energy to get through the morning and the rest of the day the following day, however, after eating a banana to start the day. The outcome? If you want to do more things in a day, eat bananas.

Tell a captivating tale that leads your audience to the answer they’re looking for. Then, conclude with a statement that motivates people to take action.

Stickiness can be chosen.

Stickers are sticky on purpose. Knowing what the product would be used for, the maker added adhesives to its surface so that customers could glue it to another surface.

The correct audience may be added to your material if you are aware of its intended audience.

Your writing is more enduring. Why? because it was designed to be.

Which of the five suggestions will you use?

Create and deliver accessible content to your audience

How would the information on your website be altered if your audience was likely to see it under intense pressure, in 90 seconds, on a mobile device, and away from the main thoroughfare in a gas station restroom?

The difficulty is one that charities working with victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking encounter. The question is:

  • Is the download speed of this homepage graphic too slow?
  • One touch calling capabilities on the phones?
  • Is the text simple to read under pressure and in a hurry?
  • Is the most essential stuff impossible to miss?

Fortunately, the extra effort spent catering to this audience’s demands probably improves the overall user experience for everyone who visits the website.

You’ve undoubtedly profited from the “curb cuts” urban design invention from the middle of the 20th century. These wheelchair ramps on the sidewalk improve the quality of life for so many individuals. Travelers can simply move their baggage to and from the pavement, parents can avoid jarring sleeping infants in strollers, and delivery people can effortlessly push their rolling carts.

Accessible building materials benefit more people than you probably know, just like curb cuts do.

Put on the audience’s shoes.

Even though you are passionate about your material, it could only take up a brief (but ideally significant) period in other people’s busy lives. Here are some strategies for increasing the impact of such moments.

Reduced expectations

In my professional life, I’ve participated in or seen hundreds of usability tests where users were asked to complete activities on a website, app, or other digital system. Even when I pay employees to accomplish work as our team observes, it’s amazing how much they miss, refuse to do, or neglect. Even when they are focused, the viewers’ attention seems to be waning.

To place significant concepts at the top of your content, use the inverted pyramid writing technique. Pick visuals that are simple to understand. Make concise, informative videos.

Make sure that each member of your content team is familiar with the subtleties of the target audience. A website that is trauma-informed might take extra effort to avoid utilising images or videos that could be upsetting. Any software targeting a sizable ESL user base would employ straightforward language rather than idioms. Your content is more likely to be successful if your team has a solid understanding of the target audience and any pertinent context.

if required for everyone.

Everyone is my audience, you could be thinking, if you work for the government, a hospital, or any other organisation that provides services to the broader public. Planning for a wide range of individuals and their requirements can become necessary.

In the past, it was thought that serving 80% of your audience was adequate. That still leaves one in five people who were turned off by your material. Should I inform the boss or should you?

An inclusive and more modern perspective proposes that if you take care of everyone, you’ll take care of your severe instances.

Your identities are again relevant in this situation. Do you have a character that speaks for the user group that has blurry eyesight, unsteady hands, or little technical knowledge? Do you also have a character for an ambitious young software engineer? Can you remember both as you create content?

Analyze your material.

How can you tell if the objectives of your content’s audience will be met? Find representative audience members to test the material with. Finding out how accessible your material actually is may be done in this method.

Find members of that audience.

You need to talk to folks who have typical objectives and circumstances. If it isn’t possible, you might have to use proxies who are familiar with the group. Even if it’s not ideal, testing with relevant subjects is preferable to either not testing at all or testing with coworkers.

You may learn a lot from standard usability testing that includes content-related activities and queries. This is the ideal starting point for any website or app. You may also analyse the content of a rival to get ideas and steer clear of pitfalls.

Consider the concerns you have with the material: “Will they get that this is for stressed-out 40-something parents?” Afterward, devise activities and inquiries to attempt to elicit the responses, such as “Who do you believe this is for?”

I’ve tried out a website for a yoga studio before. (For instance, “Register for a class.”) I rapidly learned that the site’s photos of physically fit and attractive people scared research participants.

Anytime you have material, test.

Even when your material is subpar, you may still learn a lot from it. You want to avoid introducing information that is off-target and any shocks. Early education gives you time to adjust. This might entail putting content on paper and asking readers to underline any unclear sentences. Maybe present the phrases that spring to mind with a picture that you want to utilise. Are they the key phrases that you and your company are looking for? Before a video is finished, request the opinions of the appropriate audience members.

After testing with a small sample of your audience, patterns might appear. Statistical significance is not needed for this kind of scholarly, peer-reviewed, quantitative study. You may participate in the qualitative research that Facebook, Microsoft, Lenovo, and many other companies perform with small groups of individuals.

Where to start

According to data from the U.S. Census, more than 25% of Americans live with a handicap. Consider how often you might not be operating at 100% even if you are not one of these folks. Consider drained parents, buzzed coworkers, or someone confined to a hospital with a sick family member. What about somebody going through a nasty breakup or any other unforeseen circumstances in life? Everyone occasionally performs poorly. Make sure they don’t have to work more than required to take advantage of your materials. They ought to be able to enjoy it as easily as possible and in the manner of their choice.

Ask the correct questions and keep the responses in mind.

Whom do you want to reach? What are their actions and objectives? Do any of them struggle with specific needs or disabilities? Why may your content be of interest to them? What sort of encounter do they expect from you? When working on a project, it’s easy to lose sight of your audience’s primary objectives. They should be included in any project specifications and posted on a whiteboard or sticky note that is easily seen.

Learn the fundamental rules for accessibility.

The Web Material Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) will assist you in comprehending the little adjustments that need to be made to your content in order for it to be accessible to every audience member, from video subtitles and audio to error messages and colour usage.

Want inspiration? Use a free screen reader across your website. It was dreadful the first time a coworker and I attempted this for a computer e-commerce website. We wanted to sob in compassion for anyone trying to purchase a computer from our website who is blind. It inspired us to update our company’s accessibility policies. It should be noted that Microsoft Windows includes a screen reader comparable to VoiceOver, although Apple’s iOS and macOS do not.

Integrate accessibility into your workflow.

Establish with your partners (designers, videographers, authors, etc.) the need for all materials to be accessible. Ensure that pictures have alt-descriptions, which are text blocks inserted into the HTML code to describe the image for screen readers. Make sure the videographer’s work includes subtitles and transcripts. Make sure the wording is clear and readable. Keep in mind that color isn’t the sole technique used to transmit crucial information to colorblind viewers.

Make sure the developers are using accessible code by speaking with them. This includes features like speed, clickable phone numbers, and distinct labels for form components. Want to make your content more engaging in a surefire way? Your content should load more quickly. All audiences like witty websites and applications.

Make text easier to read.

The worst online writer I’ve ever worked with was a doctoral student in English at Stanford. Reading compound-complex sentences online is unpleasant. Slice them up. Your writing must be at least the sixth-grade reading level. Get rid of the advanced-level sentences. For assistance with sentence brevity and simple language usage, use Hemingway Editor (free). Other advice:

  • Make sure your font can support text scaling and is large enough.
  • For a consistent and simpler read, align the text to the left.
  • Use the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker to check if text is viewable against the background color.
  • Look at your text. Don’t assume anything and hold out hope.

Create a video that is easy to use.

While some individuals adore videos, others are aware that they are an unnaturally linear type of material. “Really? Right? I must watch this. What is the time now? ” Give such individuals a different access point for the information. This is crucial in instructional and educational videos. Provide a transcript with timestamps so viewers can go to the sections of the film that are most pertinent to them ( is a great example). To assist individuals who need to watch with the sound muted as well as those who are visually and hearing impaired, add subtitles and audio descriptions (imagine people around sleeping babies, on public transportation, or in a multi-person home office without headphones).

Confirm it with your audience:

  • Want to view videos?
  • It has enough bandwidth to view videos.
  • understands how to use the video player effectively.
  • You can find the data in the movie in other places.
  • knows the language used in the video (or translate to their native language)

Be a pioneer in accessibility.

Organizations that provide public accommodation or get government support may be obliged to have accessible websites in the United States. According to recent court decisions, private company websites can be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Accessible websites will eventually become the norm. Being an accessibility pioneer right now helps you since it increases the number of people you can reach. Who wouldn’t want their material to be seen by more people?

Use These Simple Tips to Improve Your Writing

We’ve kept this piece brief, consisting just of useful writing advice, to give you time to explore more of this week’s Content Marketing World sessions.

Even talented writers value advice on how to write more persuasively. Additionally, readers value writing that is more effective. Their attention spans are short. They only have little windows of time to ingest stuff.

Do you compose and edit your work with the idea that readers will only read it briefly? Try these two writing suggestions for material that speaks more to your audience.

Tip 1: Use short, simpler words

Everyone enjoys sounding intelligent, but if your audience doesn’t grasp what you’re saying, they’ll stop listening. Don’t use overly complicated language in your content so as to persuade your viewers to quit reading it. Avoid forcing your attentive audience to navigate away from the website to look up a definition.

Short words are simple to comprehend. Long or difficult words make reading more difficult. Key points may be missed by readers, or they may stop reading altogether.

See how these before-and-after examples demonstrate the effectiveness of simplification.


  • tracking of workspace usage in real time.
  • Because of the data silos brought on by rigidity, it is challenging to
  • Due to a split in customer tastes, text is favoured over email.


  • monitoring of workplace use in real time.
  • It is difficult to… due to rigid data silos.
  • Despite the differences, more customers choose text over email.

Save your best vocabulary terms for your ground-breaking book or your upcoming Scrabble match. In your content marketing, use straightforward language. Even readers who are familiar with difficult subjects value clarity in writing.

Tip 2: Make short, concise sentences.

Therefore, readers who enjoy short word length will also enjoy brief sentences.

A statement with less than eight words was understood by every reader in the poll. And 90% of people could comprehend a phrase of nine to fourteen words. Comprehension declined as the number of words rose. Only 10% of the information in a statement that included 43 words or more was comprehended. Even though the study was conducted over ten years ago for newspaper writing, content marketing might benefit from its findings. And it stands to reason that now, shorter could be preferable.

Do you frequently employ conjunctions and clauses in your sentences? Could those be divided into a few simpler, stronger sentences?

Let’s examine one of the introduction’s most difficult to write sentences. You want to grab the interest of your readers and encourage them to keep reading the information. The key is to speak clearly.

Let’s run through this illustration. I’ve altered a few details to protect the author’s privacy:

“Over the last several months, we have observed the trend of remote work, which calls for more individuals to utilise their home internet for business-related activities and raises cybersecurity threats.”

That statement is excessively lengthy at 31 words. How can we condense it while keeping its meaning?

First, think about the unimportant things.

The sentence is dated by the phrase “during the last months.” Is time a crucial element? Since it isn’t in this instance, it is cut.

The usage of home internet for professional reasons is becoming more common due to the trend of remote work, which also raises cybersecurity dangers.

The sentence now has 27 words.

Next, the present perfect first person is used to express “we have seen.” The sentence is not essential since attribution is not required, even if the verb tense might be changed to a simple past or present tense. Additionally, remote work is a well-known trend in 2020. There’s no need to state that:

“More individuals are using their home internet for professional reasons as a result of remote employment, a development that also raises cybersecurity threats.”

The sentence is now 20 words.

Additional edits: Remove the phrase “requiring additional employees” because remote workers are a given. There is no internet at home for your dog. the verb be changed to active voice.

“The growth of remote work necessitates the usage of the home internet for professional reasons,” introducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The sentence now has 18 words.

Keep in mind that we already erased the “trend” viewpoint. We must repeat the process.

“Using home internet for business reasons is a requirement of remote employment, posing cybersecurity hazards.”

The sentence now has 14 words.

The usage of the word “labour” twice is more obvious with the shorter text. Let’s remove one citation:

There are cybersecurity dangers while using the home internet for business.

There are now 11 words in the sentence. Although the intention was to remove one word, the editing opportunity exposed the idea’s redundancy. “Remote work” is better described as “home internet for work reasons.”

Is there anything else in the statement that is unnecessary? Yes. Let’s modify once more:

“There are cybersecurity dangers while using the home internet for business.”

The sentence now consists of eight words.

The main idea is still present even if the phrase is just eight words long instead of 31. Additionally, it hits the percentage of terms that all participants in the American Press Institute study could understand.

What quick suggestions do you have for writing better?

Every day, we create, edit, and read it – material with rambling phrases or difficult words.

Let’s surpass that material. Let’s keep in mind that our readers have limited attention spans and enjoy reading things that are simple. Because of it, our language and phrases must be concise.