How They Do It: Eric Gati on Producing Authority Interviews (5 Days a Week)
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Eric Gati has been on my radar for quite some time ever since I first got my start in blogging. He started making big moves and his work really caught my attention.
Eric produces a new interview, with authority figures, each and every day of the week. Each new piece contains a wealth of valuable information coming from a spectrum of truly interesting individuals.
I had the chance to talk with him recently and wanted to pick his brain.
Here’s that Q&A sessions I had with Eric …
Q: How & why did you come up with the idea for The Daily Interview?
I’ve always loved reading interviews. In particular, I like reading about people who essentially start from nothing and build an income or business online through nothing but hard work and persistence. You’ll find this is a common trait among the people who I interview.
While I occasionally find really interesting interviews to read on other websites, they don’t come around too often. I thought, there should be a place where I can read interviews like these every day. I couldn’t find that from a single source, so I figured, why not create it myself?
As a side note, I know there are plenty of podcasts out there (even daily interview podcasts, like Entrepreneur on Fire), and while I do like listening to podcasts (and plan to start one eventually), I really like being able to read an interview when I have 5-10 minutes free. They’re easy to pick up and put down (throughout your work day, while you’re drinking your morning cup of coffee, etc.). They’re easy to digest, yet you can still learn from them.
Q: What is your process for contacting people and getting them on board?
The process is simple, but I think the devil is in the details. First, I create a list of people who I want to reach out to. I’m a fan of batching, so I usually come up with a list of 20+ before moving to the next step.
Next, I reach out with a simple email. There are a few key elements of the email, however.
1. Personalize the e-mail. If you start an email with “Dear website owner…” it will be ignored by 99% of people you reach out to.
2. Flatter the person. Tell them you’re a big fan of their blog/business/whatever.
3. Briefly explain what you’re looking for – in this case, an interview. Be specific – are you asking for 30 minutes of their time for a podcast? Or are you simply sending a list of questions that they can answer at their convenience?
4. What’s in it for them? The outreach email is in some ways like a sales pitch – you have to explain the benefits of what you’re pitching. There are a lot of things you can mention here (even if it’s something as simple as you wanting them to be a part of a respectable mission).
I like to cite specific metrics for where the interview will be shared, such as the # of subscribers, followers, etc. Most people want to help you out, but if you can give them an extra incentive, you’re going to have a much better response rate.
Q: How do you decide which questions to ask?
I make sure to personalize my questions for each guest. The easiest way to do this is to spend some time actually reading through their website/blog and learning about them, so you can ask educated questions.
More importantly, I just think about what I actually want to learn from the person. That makes it really easy to come up with questions. The person is likely an expert or has achieved success in a specific area, so dig into that! Also, assuming they are in your niche, you should try to think of questions that your audience would be interested in.
Q: What methods do you use (or plan on using) to monetize the site?
I’ve got a few ideas planned, including an informational product that I don’t believe exists on the market currently. I’m also considering, further down the road, a membership program that will help brand new entrepreneurs bring their product or service to market by leveraging The Daily Interview as a launch platform.
I may eventually lock old interviews in order to bundle them and sell them, or open interviews up to sponsors. Lots of possibilities here. However, they all depend on me increasing the traffic of my site tremendously, which is why that’s my prime focus. I’m not planning on implementing any of these monetization ideas until my traffic levels are significant (maybe closer to 500-1,000+ unique visitors per day).
Q: What sort of reception have you received from the site?
So far, it’s been great. I’ve had so many people e-mail me to tell me that they’re really enjoying it, and I owe a lot of credit to the great guests I’ve had the pleasure of featuring. Not every interview is a home run, but I think most of them resonate with my readers.
Although people have enjoyed it, I know I’m working in a very competitive space. There are lots of blogs that interview bloggers and entrepreneurs, so it’s going to take a lot of persistence and hard work to take The Daily Interview to the next level.
Q: What advice would you give to those wanting to do interviews within their industry?
I have a few bits of advice:
1) Be genuinely interested in the people who you want to interview. It shows. As I said before, get to know your guest before writing your questions. You’re going to get much better answers if you take the time to write good questions.
2) Don’t sacrifice quality just to put up an interview. I’ve already made this mistake – publishing a couple interviews that I believe are below my standards. It’s a tough position though – you ask someone to do an interview for your site, and then you turn around and tell them that it’s not good enough to publish. Consider asking follow-up questions or ask the person to provide some more detail, if you really feel like their responses are too “light.”
3) Don’t be afraid to go after the big players in your niche. I think people generally feel like the big players in their niche won’t ever want to take the time to be interviewed by a person or site that’s relatively unknown.
It’s true, some people will say no. But guess what? That’s the worst that can happen. Don’t fear rejection. If you personalize your outreach e-mails as I’ve suggested, you’ll be surprised at how many people say “yes.” If someone does say no, you move onto the next person.
Great words of wisdom from Eric, would you agree? It’s always a pleasure hearing what he has to say about doing great things with content, networking, and growing a business.
I can’t thank him enough for taking the time to do this interview.
So … does this inspire you to start producing interviews for your audience? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in a comment below and be sure to show some love for Eric by visiting his site and digging into that great content!