I’m changing it up a bit. Thinking our last post “Thought Leaders” needs a little more attention. We’ll continue that topic later. For now, let’s finish up with Health Conference Coverage and then we’ll go deeper, later with Thought Leaders. Deal? Read on to round out our series on Health Conference Coverage.
Continuing with our series on sharing health conference information with your audience, today we’ll discuss specifics about interviewing health industry thought leaders, Technique #3.
You’ll recall from “Bird’s Eye View“, that there are three techniques we’ll cover:
1. Summarize health conference session information, on behalf of your organization.
2. Interview a “thought leader” in the health industry who has attended a specific conference session.
3. Interview the conference presenter.
Jump back to Free Back Stage Pass to set the scene for the following information.
Technique #3: Interview a Conference Presenter.
Okay. This sounds pretty straight forward, right. Well, yeah, in a curvy kinda way. Again, this all goes to understanding the big picture and all the little dots within it. Yes, Ms, Presenter is presenting. Yes, she has already proven that people are interested in what she had to say, but who is she really?
1. Fresh out of the gate or been around the track? Has Ms. Presenter already established herself as an industry thought leader or is she trying to make a name for herself? Figure this out. Know the person you are interviewing. Spend time researching her on the internet. Try Linkedin. Try her company’s website. Is she a member of a professional organization? If she is an established thought leader, we’ll talk more about that later. If she’s kinda new on the scene, who is she following? Ask her. If she’s published anything, read it. Understand where she went to school. Is that university particularly known for a certain philosophy? You get the picture. If she’s a fresh pony, she’ll want to get her name out there. You can help. Be prepared to talk about how you can get her some press. Facebook. Linkedin. Twitter. Feature a book review on your site of her publication. Ask her to guest blog on your blog. You host a webinar for her? Co-write an educational series on your site? You may not want to hit her with this all up front, but know your possibilities. Have them in your pocket. Pull a few out at the gate and save some for the winner’s circle.
2. Set the Stage. Provide Ms. Presenter with a list of interview questions prior to the conference. Ask her for some references or resources that might be helpful for you. Chose a time and location to interview her that is comfortable and relaxed. In my book, food or at least coffee go a long way toward making people feel comfortable. Hopefully conduct the interview very soon after the presentation and before she leaves the conference, itself. You want this to be fresh. You want raw impressions. You want to take your readers to the moment.
3. Think. Just because you have a list of interview questions and a recorder, don’t shut your personality off. Get to know her, like you would anyone else. Connect. If she connects to you as a person AND respects you professionally, well then you have a lasting professional relationship, one that can benefit you both. Just balance the personal with the professional. Don’t waste her time. Weave in and out of small talk and big talk. Writing and sharing and building your health business is all about connecting. Don’t miss a single opportunity. Also, save a few questions that she may not have on the list you provided. Get her real time impressions. Find out if there is something she could have done differently. Listen to your own thoughts. Are there questions that come to mind while she is talking? Make note, let her finish, then ask them. Be conversational and don’t turn off your brain. The best information often reveals itself during an interview and cannot be anticipated. Ride the current.
4. Be polite! Follow up after the interview is published. Provide her with the link. Thank her. Let her know of any traffic, news, or conversations that evolve after the interview is published. Thank her again. Invite her to subscribe to your site, join you on Linkedin, etc. Continue the relationship even after the current objective is obtained. There are lots of opportunities out there but not to those….okay! I can’t help it. I’m going down that backstage pass theme path, no matter how sordid! In short, don’t treat her/him like a groupie! Treat Ms. Presenter or Mr. Thought Leader like someone you want to take home to Mamma, or at very least visit when you’re back in town. You got the moves like Jaggar;)
Alright, you’ve got the pass. That pass gets you and all of your followers in to “the health care know”. You’re a little nervous, right? You’ve never been back stage before. Just tease your hair, straighten your skirt and get out your notepad. You’re going to see things you’ve never imagined but, the cool thing is… you get to tell everyone about it. Just wait to the folks back home here this!
And, hey, if you think you’re not up for the long night of interviews and reporting, send INK WELLness back stage for you. Chances are, I already know a few of the bouncers!
Happy health writing!