Content marketers are armed with the task of crafting articles, blog posts, and more that deliver information that makes your buyer more intelligent. And one way to do that is to interview an expert. Interviews are an opportunity to deliver a new viewpoint to your audience, create new connections, and create content that is journalistic – something the audience craves.

Doing so not only raises the level of credibility of your content, but it also makes it more interesting by bringing in an outside voice, keeping your content fresh by providing your readers with another perspective.

When it comes time to interview your industry expert, you want to get the most out of your conversation. Here are some tips to conduct a great interview for even greater content.

Be prepared

You would never walk into a meeting with a client without a plan of action, an update on the latest project, or a briefing on their strategy. The same goes for an interview – you don’t want to show up unprepared. That means you have some homework to do beforehand.

Research your expert. You should know more than just their name and title. The Internet makes it easy to find out what their journey was to become an industry expert.

You should also have an idea of how you want your article to flow and what questions you want to answer for your readers. This will help you prepare questions ahead of your interview, which is something you should absolutely do. You may not stick to all of those questions, and your interviewee may answer they before you ask them, but having questions planned will help you keep the conversation flowing.

Make it a conversation

Sure, your interview should be professional, but it can also be interesting and fun. Since this isn’t a breaking news situation, you don’t have to start firing the “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions at your expert right away.

Begin your interview with some questions to get to know your expert better, even if they’re not necessarily about the topic of the interview. Try “Where did you go to school?” or “What inspired you to get into this industry?” These questions are relatively easy for your interviewee to answer and will help them relax – you might even get a good story out of them!

Ask open-ended questions

This runs along the same lines as making your interview more of a conversation. You might have to ask some specific questions to gather basic information, but open-ended questions typically yield the best responses.

Since you’ll be using your notes or a recording of the interview to craft your content, open ended-questions are your best friend – that’s where you’ll get the best sound bites. These questions allow your expert to tell his or her story.

Ask about what you don’t know

Sometimes you have to ask questions you might already know the answers to, simply because you need the quote from your expert. But the main reason you are interviewing an expert is because they know more about a topic than you do.

Don’t be afraid to ask about something you know nothing about. And, more importantly, don’t be afraid to ask a follow up question for a more elaborate explanation. If you come out of that interview having learned something, your reader is going to reap the benefits.

Really listen

Sometimes it’s easy to go through your questions without whole-heartedly listening, especially if you are deadline. But if you don’t listen carefully to your expert’s answers, you could miss something valuable. They could also address another question you have planned to ask them. If you miss their response, they’ll know you weren’t listening earlier in the interview and you are wasting time you could have been asking a different question.

When you’re conducting an interview for content marketing purposes, it really is a part of the research before content creation. So listen, learn, and be curious. Your readers will thank you for that.