Interviewing Industry Experts for a Book: Lessons Learned and Best Practices

interview

Introduction

I recently interviewed ten top CEOs in healthcare for a book on the impatient modern consumer who wants trackable results. The book was originally intended to drive more franchise leads for the author, Sam Tejada, who is looking to grow and sell more franchisees of his IV therapy clinics.

However, as we progressed with the book, we decided to interview competitors and other players in the growing industry to create a joint effort by the industry to share knowledge and discuss how to grow together. Though this added to the cost of producing the book, it is seen as a worthwhile investment.

Having a book is one of the most powerful and legitimate things you can do in PR and interviewing industry authorities gives you perceived authority, like my interview with Chandler Bolt, the CEO of Self-Publishing School.

How to Interview

From these interviews, I learned a few things about the process of interviewing for a book:

  1. It’s important to prepare for the interview;
  2. Show respect; if the vibe isn’t good, that will reflect in the book;
  3. Personalize the questions based on the person’s expertise and industry. For example, Ben Crosby came from the fitness industry and scaled to 500 locations for Tapout Fitness. His view of IV therapy is that it will be much like the fitness industry. So I asked his view specifically around scaling because this guy’s an expert in scaling;
  4. Improve the vibe of the interview by sending a gift before the interview, giving context about how the interview will be used in the book, and offering to send a copy of the transcript for review;
  5. Invite the interviewee to add any thoughts that they may have forgotten or want to revise during the interview. The goal is to make the interviewee look good along with the other industry leaders in the book, and
  6. Ask if their positive mentions about the author can be quoted in the book and used for promotional content. Compile such mentions from all interviewees and promote them.

Using tools like ChatGPT

Use tools like ChatGPT to enhance knowledge, structure the outline, rewrite words, figure out headlines or chapter titles, and even write a promotional email for the book.

If you ask a great chef what his secret is, he would say great ingredients.

So, ChatGPT cannot help with the interviews’ stories and weaving in real stories and videos, which are considered the “great ingredients” of the book. These “great ingredients” are the raw videos made and co-created with other influential figures in the industry.

Putting it all together

So use such tools, virtual assistants (VAs), and other methods to craft and repurpose content, as taught in the Content Factory.

interview

Instead of getting the book out, if it’s your first book, try to get a book out.

As part of getting a book out, the focus on naturally interviewing other experts based on an outline and having VAs help put the content together.

Leveraging the idea of a book, which is already high authority, and leveraging the power of relationships with industry connections, who are vouching for the author, is an effective way to multiply perceived authority.

Also, repurpose long-form content into other types of assets, such as articles, blog posts, repurposable videos, social media snippets, and advertising. This way, it’ll be creating many derivative forms of repurposing content, which in Google’s eyes, are entirely legit.

PR is a multiplier of your brand.

PR is not about hiring an agency with black-box tricks but about amplifying what people already see about you. Real PR is about relationship-building and co-creating content with other people who share the same values.

By having VAs and friends promote this content, it is authentic and more effective than hiring a PR agency. Instead of fake featuring on, for example, Forbes, identify industry experts whose audience can promote your brand because you’re promoting them. When you have this realization, it opens up a matrix of possibilities, and everything becomes powerful.

Structure of the book

As to structuring a book that involves multiple authors or experts, there can be two ways.

The “lazy” way of structuring a book as an anthology where each author contributes a chapter, which is similar to a listicle or roundup. However, this is not the best way to structure a book, as it is not tied together and lacks structure.

Instead, develop an outline that is structurally based on the journey you want readers to go through, and then interview experts who may have expertise in one or multiple functional areas. The number of experts to be interviewed and included in the book depends on the size of your network and the topic you’re trying to cover. It’s important to structure the book in a way that is concise and valuable.

The “IF-IF-THEN-ELSE GUARANTEE” that Perry Marshall told me about over dinner one day is a great framework to structure a book.

IF you’re this particular type of person, and IF you agree to do these things, THEN I GUARANTEE you will achieve this particular result, ELSE a full refund.’

It helps you to think about the structure of the book, the criteria that need to be met, the steps that need to be done, and the ‘gotchas’ that need to be avoided.

Your authority

But before writing a book, it’s important to establish authority on the subject. Focus on a specific niche or have personal experience with the topic in order to be able to teach others about it.

The book encapsulates your authority of having solved a particular problem in a way that other people say, “Dang, Nick is a lighthouse for solving this particular challenge.”

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.

You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.

You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.