In today’s episode, co-hosts Shaheen Samavati and Kyler Canastra chat about sourcing expertise for B2B content creation and how to create thought leadership content in niche industries.

Subject matter experts often don’t have the time to write, and it can be hard to find good writers who are also experts on specific topics. Finding both can be costly or impossible.

At VeraContent, we’ve been able to help many clients solve this problem by tapping into the power of a good interview. During their conversation, Shaheen and Kyler chat about the processes our team has established for creating thought leadership content and best practices for interviewing experts.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

What is the best way to create thought leadership content?

It’s really difficult to find people who are both subject matter experts and good writers. And if they are, they probably already have their own platform and are hard to get hold of.

“If you have to choose between one or the other, it’s better to work with great writers, as a great writer can always learn new topics.” – Shaheen Samavati

Writers can’t always be experts on every topic, but they do have the skills to interview relevant people and digest and share that information in a way that makes sense. As Kyler points out, “a good writer is relentlessly curious” and able to learn new things.

So start with finding good writers who can then connect with subject matter experts.

Check out our client story with redk to learn more about how we’ve been able to create expert thought leadership content aimed at a knowledgeable audience within a niche industry. 

How do you source expert knowledge?

“When you’re creating thought leadership content, you really want to highlight the internal expertise of the company to show your authority and knowledge about what you do.” – Shaheen Samavati

A great tool is interviewing internal experts—from executives to more specialized team members. Not only do they help you get accurate information, but they’re a primary source or information. This means you’re getting a unique perspective on the topic instead of just rewriting what’s already been said.

Thorough research is still fundamental when getting to know a topic, as it helps the writer know what questions to ask.

“External expert interviews are also useful as it can help create synergy for the company. It’s an opportunity to interact with other experts in the field and can also act as a way to cross-promote with other organizations.” – Shaheen Samavati

Lastly, repurposing other first-hand sources, like webinars, is another great way to source expert knowledge.

What’s most important when interviewing industry experts?

Start with preparing your questions and sharing a few with the interviewee in advance, so they know what direction the interview will go. Shaheen suggests sharing about five general questions in advance but preparing a few more for yourself to help guide the discussion.

It’s important to leave room for open conversation and let the interviewee lead—though not to the point of veering too far off-topic. Interviewing is all about listening and pulling out interesting topics to dive deeper on. 

Incorporating a few personal questions at the start can help break the ice and get everyone feeling comfortable—even if it’s just asking how their day is going. 

“The best content comes out of those spontaneous conversations that stem from different questions. If you make the person feel comfortable, they’re going to be their true self. And they’re going to share a lot more unique and interesting insights.” – Kyler Canastra

Another tip is to stay on time—for example, if it’s scheduled for 30 minutes, stick to this schedule. If you respect their time, they’ll be a lot more willing to agree to future interviews.

Who should conduct these interviews?

The most important thing is that the person doing the interview needs to be experienced in interviewing. Ideally, it should be the same person writing the content—though this isn’t always essential. 

At VeraContent, our project managers usually handle the coordination of setting up the interviews. Then we’ll have a writer experienced in interviewing conduct the interview.

Tips for creating content based on expert interviews

Here are a few of Shaheen and Kyler’s tips for writing high-quality thought leadership content using expert interviews:

  1. Whenever you can, record the interviews and maintain a database of them, as it opens up a lot of possibilities for repurposing. For interviews in English, we use for recording, transcribing and storing our interviews.
  2. Invest a lot of time with internal experts to learn about the company while also doing extensive research to learn more about the industry.
  3. Document your writing processes as much as possible—for example, create style guides—to help transfer knowledge between writers and editors. Kyler and Shaheen chat about processes more in this episode: How to create a strong editorial process for your content marketing
  4. Expect a few back-and-forths on the first few pieces of content. It takes time and patience to get to a place where you’re consistently writing good content on a niche topic.
  5. Have a process in place to regularly schedule expert interviews.

You can check out Shaheen and Kyler’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

Check out more posts on creating great content:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.