How to Land A-List Interviewees for Your Blog
The focus of the project is landing the best advice from the top A-lister interviewees. So far we’ve landed Neil Patel, Ryan Lee, and Pat Flynn, to tease you with a few.
By going through this process I’ve nailed down a system for landing these big-time interviewees.
#1 Find their Email or Other Contact Info
About two years ago the local paper wanted to do an urgent story on me. Over the course of an hour, the reporter emailed me, Twitter messaged me, LinkedIn messaged me, somehow found my phone number and gave me a call.
The first step in landing an A-list interview is finding their contact info. You should be able to find an email or email form for just about anyone with a few Google searches.
If you can’t dig up their email, try Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In fact, busy people prefer Twitter because your message is limited to 140 characters.
#2 Send them a Simple Introductory Email
Once you have their email, you need to craft your introductory email. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Keep it short. If they open your email and it’s more than a few sentences, it’ll get set aside or buried.
- Give them the bare essential benefits. In one sentence tell them about the project and why they should participate.
- Tell them exactly what you want from them. If you want a one-hour and fifteen-minute interview conducted through Skype, tell them that.
- Ask one specific yes or no question. The goal of the first email is to get them to say, “Yes, I’ll do the interview.”
Here’s a basic script you can use for this email:
My name is Nick Tart and I’m working with Michael Dunlop to put together… We’d like to schedule a one-hour interview with you to talk about blogging.
Are you interested?
If so, we’ll schedule a time to chat.
#3 If yes, Send them Time-Adjusted Dates to Schedule the Interview
Let’s say they agree to the interview. Reply by telling them your availability starting at least 3-4 days out.
When you give them a bulleted list of days and times, make sure you adjust the time to their time zone. Here are a few examples:
- Monday 26th from 8am PST – noon, 2pm – 6pm
- Tuesday 27th from 3pm PST – 7pm
- Thursday 29th from 10am PST – 5pm
Also remind them exactly how long the interview will take.
#4 If No, Send Another Benefit-Packed Email
Sometimes they reply with, “my schedule is jam-packed through March,” or “I’m too hyper-focused on a project to set aside an hour,” or even, “I appreciate you thinking of me but I don’t believe I’m the right person for the interview.”
Now you need to decide how badly you want the interview. If you’re convinced that they’re the one, it’s time to send them a few more benefits:
- Start by recognizing their objection. Say, “I understand that you’re busy/focused/humble and just know that you’re the one person in the world I want to interview for this.”
- Sell them with a list of specific benefits. Tell them, “I have ## subscribers who will read your interview,” or “Some of the other people we’ve interviewed are (A-lister), (A-lister), and (A-lister),” or “We’re going to professionally produce your interview so it’ll be something you can use on your blog as well.”
- Again recognize their objection. Sandwich the benefits with empathy and wrap up the interview by telling them how much you’d appreciate it.
#5 If No Again, Find Another A-Lister to Introduce You
Let’s say they decline once again. This means you’re a little closer to a yes.
Your last shot at landing the A-lister is to build your credibility. The best way to do this is to ask another A-lister to shoot over an email introduction. If you don’t know any other people they’d recognize, then you need to spend more time building relationships with other bloggers.
Successful people appreciate perseverance because they’ve been in your shoes. They probably even attribute part of their success to never taking “no” for an answer.
#6 Send a Reminder Email the Day Before
The day before you conduct the interview, send them a reminder email.
Subject: Interview Reminder: Tomorrow at 10am PST on Skype
- List of interview questions or topics.
- Your Skype ID if not already connected.
- Tell them you’ll give them more details about the interview at the beginning of the call.
#7 Follow Up After the Interview
After you conduct the interview, ask them for a high resolution photo or any other details you need. Then make sure you send them a copy of the final interview for them to look over before publishing it.
That gives them a chance to make changes and they’ll get to see that you did a good job producing the interview.
The Final Note
I know it helps that I can drop Michael’s name in the emails for these interviews, but I used this same system to land Michael and many others as interviewees two years ago when I was just getting started.
Just because you don’t hear from the A-lister right away doesn’t mean they’re not interested. They’re just busy. It’s your job to earn their attention.