Sponsors from the community that your chapter represents are essential to your chapter’s success. The support of sponsors goes beyond the financial contribution they may make for a special event or conference. They provide feedback for your members as potential mentors. Equally important, they provide a basis of knowledge that can, and should, be called upon for content creation.
You can ask sponsors to write content in their area of expertise, listing them as a guest contributor as well. For those in the industry who have the knowledge and the desire to write, this gives them that opportunity to expand their resume with publications. It is good for them and their career and it provides you with content. You can seek repeated articles from these sponsors to help ensure your chapter has a regular interval of content creation.
But not all sponsors want to write, even if they have expertise they are wanting and willing to share. This is where your members come in. Ask them to write articles following an interview with your sponsors. Members can then use the experience of interviewing and writing to build their own career trajectory, while creating connections in the community that could be a continued benefit both to them and your chapter. The knowledge is shared; skills are enhanced. A partnership is born.
To accomplish this, knowing how to interview remains essential to completing the job of writing the content. If done right, you may even have enough material to create more than one content piece, which goes a long way with the ever-present need to create content.
Here, then, are 20 key steps to conducting a solid interview and creating your content (adjust as needed based on your chapters content and interview needs):
- Decide exactly what you want to write about initially and who you want to interview.
- Write out a list of questions. Include questions about the interview subject and their expertise as well as information about the topic athand. Have open ended questions that inspire lengthy answers that will provide you with plenty of material.
- Ensure that your most important questions are at the front of your list in case you run out of time and cannot get to all the questions.
- Schedule a time that provides a relaxed setting. Don’t be rushed.
- Create a voice recording of the interview to have as back up and refresher as you are writing content.
- Take notes during the interview as if your recording device fails (in case it does).
- During the interview, ask follow-up questions to enhance your pre-planned questions.
- Remain casual, yet professional. Have a conversation rather than just question and answers.
- At the conclusion of the interview, thank your interviewee and invite to follow-up session should it be needed.
- Immediately following the interview, type up your handwritten notes.
- Let the material sit for a day or two, if time allows. If not jump write into the next step.
- Listen to the recording and add to your notes, especially enhancing with direct quotes to potentially include in the written content.You can have a direct transcript typed of the interview, but listening to the recording once or twice should suffice.
- Save the original notes file separate as a record then resave as a working file.
- Organize the content obtained from the interviews, noting different tangents that will make for solid follow-up content.
- Determine if you have any holes in the material that requires a follow-up interview.
- Hold the follow-up interview
- Write the first draft of the article. If time, let sit for a few days, then return and edit for draft two.
- Send draft two to the interviewee for verification of accuracy.
- Make changes as required.
- Send final draft for publication.
Interviewing is more than just asking questions and getting answers. It is about creating relationships and obtaining knowledge. It is about relying that knowledge in an easy to digest format for your reading audience, whether chapter members, prospects, or anyone who happens upon the content. A partnership is created, rooted in the material that binds everyone within the industry in which you operate. It is through this partnership that chapter success is realized, especially as it relates to content creation.