Expert survey is an interview option in which you ask one or more questions to many people with extensive experience in a particular field. This type of content has enormous viral potential and is able to bring a new audience, attract traffic, and increase your credibility. From this guide, you will learn everything you need to make a high-quality expert survey.
The whole process of organizing an expert survey can be divided into 9 stages. We will guide you through them and show real examples from our experience.
- How to formulate a question
- How to select experts for the survey
- How to find contact details of experts
- How to draw the attention of experts to your request
- How to convince experts to take part in the survey
- How to write a unique part of the message
- How to remind experts of their request
- How to make a high-quality expert survey of the responses received
- How to promote an expert survey after publication
- Time to act
What you need to know before you start
Why do you conduct an expert survey? There are four main reasons:
- You provide high-quality content to your audience.
- You build relationships with experts in your field.
- You increase your credibility
- You reach a large audience and attract new traffic
At first glance, it may seem that the expert survey is simple - contact the experts, they write the content, and you just have to publish it. This is a big misconception. Conducting a quality survey may require much more time and effort than writing a regular article. This task can be easy only if your only goal is to get links and traffic, and not provide readers with useful content. Do not make this error. Conduct expert surveys not for the sake of traffic, mentions in social networks and links, but for the sake of your audience. Even if you received opinions from 50 people, but their opinions do not contain a unique expertise - such a survey is useless.
If you decide to bet on quality, you will have to face many difficulties: the fear of being rejected by experts, the long collection and analysis of the list of respondents, promotion, and so on.
Fear of failure is the least of these problems. Even if the respondents you choose are very well-known personalities, this does not mean that they will not be able to give you their time. You ask: "Why would well-known personalities spend their time participating in a regular survey from a blogger, whom they see for the first time? They probably receive five such requests a day." And you will be right, but:
- You don't have to be a celebrity yourself to attract the attention of experts. The fact is that people like when they are seen as professionals and listen to their opinion
- The expert survey is a win-win, because respondents promote themselves and their brand, and you attract a new audience
There is an opinion that before a “cold” letter with a request, you need to “warm up” the expert a little - share it with content on social networks, comment on several publications. It is very good if you do this work, but in most cases the request to take part in the survey can be absolutely "cold."
Recently, we conducted a large-scale expert survey with foreign internet marketing experts. In the end, 13 popular bloggers took part, including celebrities like Rand Fishkin and Joe Pulitzi. We personally went through all the difficulties of organizing the survey. Read on to learn how to work effectively at all stages, and how we did it when communicating with foreign experts.
How to formulate a question
This step should be approached very responsibly, because The topic and correct formulation of the problem will guide the entire interview.
It is better to not initially set a goal to make an expert survey. The best option is when your audience already has a question that requires a detailed answer. If the topic for discussion does not come to mind the first time, use our recommendations:
- Take the latest trend in the industry and ask experts to comment on it. An example is the opinions of 30 market experts on the fight against Yandex with SEO links and the promotion of young websites after the launch of Minusinsk.
- Go through the comments on the blog. Users probably left there interesting questions that require an expert answer.
- View the latest publications of your competitors - take the topic of the most popular article and turn it into a poll.
- Read user posts in industry forums.
- Look for inspiration in our list of 99 content ideas. For example, ask experts to describe their vision of the ideal market.
- Ask experts to provide practical advice on a narrow topic. For example, what a small step they take every day to achieve a certain goal.
We give only five examples, because In most cases, the specifics of the question will depend on your area - the very essence of the questions for healthy nutrition experts and internet marketing experts differ from the beginning.
Finished with the wording of the question? It's time to make a list of experts.
How to select experts for the survey
After you have formulated a question, a new task arises - the selection of experts. Two questions to ask yourself when performing this task:
- Are they experienced enough to give a useful and detailed answer?
- Do they have an audience that may be interested in the topic of the survey?
Include in the list the first few names that came to you. Most likely, these are the most famous figures in your area, but you need to dig deeper for several reasons:
- First of all, you are interested in expertise, not a big name, so you should not chase exclusively celebrities
- The chances of winning the attention of less eminent experts are much higher.
- It’s easier to start building long-term relationships with local experts
How to find professionals in their field? Consider a few ways.
- Use BuzzSumo
The main objective of this popular service is to find the most viral content in a given topic, but this is not its only function. With BuzzSumo, you can quickly find experts in your field.
Register with the service, select the Influencers tab, enter the survey topic in the search box and click on the Search button.
The service will give you the most influential experts on the topic. The algorithm takes into account the authority of their resource and activity on Twitter. However, BuzzSumo does not always work perfectly on the Runet, so we recommend that you additionally look at the following methods.
- Search social networks
Find the most popular communities in social networks on your topic. See who administers them, who leads the most activity. Surely you will find several people whose opinions may be interesting to your readers.
- Listen to what others are saying.
Listen to the one who is most often mentioned by representatives of your target audience. Ask your colleagues who they think are experts. This is the easiest, but most effective way to make a list of experts for the survey.
- Look for ready-made lists of experts
It sounds strange, but it is possible that all the work has already been done for you. Use search engines to find lists of the best professionals in your field. For example, "the best tattoo masters of Russia" or "the best experts on selfie-sticks 2015".
Gathered a sufficient number of people for the survey? Create a table with three columns:
- Contact Information
The first is needed now to add the names of the experts. We will return to the other two later to include contact details, and also indicate whether the expert replied or not. The screenshot shows an example of a table that we used when conducting a survey of foreign experts on Internet marketing.
How to find contact details of experts
The first thing to do is to collect the contact information of all experts. Very often it can take quite a long time, because not everyone willingly publicly exposes this information.
Contact the experts most effectively through the following channels:
Go to the expert site and look for the sections "Contacts", "About Me", "About our company" - in most cases you will find there either corporate or personal email for communication. Email can also be searched in the header or basement of the site.
Another good way to find an email expert is to subscribe to a newsletter on the site. Wait for the answering machine or the next issue and look at the sender's address. Most likely, this is exactly what you were looking for.
By the way, we always respond to questions and comments from our subscribers. Do you think this is not enough? Here's another 7 reasons to subscribe to the Texterra newsletter.
The most extreme option is to try to guess email using the following patterns: name of [email protected], name of [email protected], [email protected] Combine these patterns. For example, for an expert named Sergei Ivanov, several options for writing a potential address are possible: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
You can check your guesses using the Email Sherlock service. Simply enter the intended address in the line on the main screen and press the Go button. The service determines whether the email is valid and also searches for profiles on social networks linked to the address.
Pay attention to the Fullcontact and Gravatar blocks - if there is information in a given address, then with great probability the expert will use this particular email.
You can ignore the UserSherlock block - it shows the username matches in the email address (in this case, Matt) with the URL of profiles in popular social networks (for example, social network.com / matt). To obtain relevant results for such an algorithm is almost impossible.
- Contact forms on the site
If there is no email address on the site, you can search for contact forms in the same sections as email. The disadvantage of this method is that very often it is impossible to indicate the subject of the letter in the forms. So you are less likely to catch the attention of an expert. In addition, the form may simply malfunction - the message will not reach the addressee, and you will not even know about it.
- Social networks
It may seem that social networks are the easiest and most obvious way to connect with experts in your area. Sometimes it is, but it all depends on the popularity of the expert. If you are associated with a very famous and authoritative person, your message may be lost among hundreds and thousands of others. If we are talking about experts in a highly specialized field, this method may be the most effective.
Most often, links to profiles in social networks can be found on the expert site, in profile groups and forums. We used this strategy to organize a survey about Minusinsk.
Do not forget to subscribe to our facebook page, in order not to miss the announcements of new materials, as well as participate in lively discussions with other subscribers.
- Posting Comments
If the expert runs a blog, a video channel on YouTube, a page on SlideShare, or creates and publishes its content somewhere else - try to contact in the comments. Just in this case it is better not to fall on the expert from the sky with a "cold" request. Review several publications, leave detailed comments with your opinion, and then ask to participate in your survey.
If you have already tried to contact an expert before, be sure to mention this. So you will attract extra attention. More information about how to make a request, you can read more.
Is it done? We bring all the contact information in your table.
How to draw the attention of experts to your request
Whatever way of communication with an expert you choose, you must pay great attention to the first contact with your message. For e-mail, this is the subject of the letter, and for other ways, the first phrase. Consider ways to "hook" experts on the example of writing the topic of the letter.
To figure out which headers can work, assign them four conditional categories. So, the subject of the letter can be:
- Personalized and clear
Example: * Name *, your expert opinion is important to us.
- Non-personalized and clear
Example: Your expert opinion is important to us.
- Personalized and unclear
Example: * Name *, for you oh-very important letter
- Non-personalized and unclear
Example: Ooo-very important letter
All four types of headers can work in one case, but completely fail in the other. There is no single recipe, so you just have to experiment. It is important to remember a few points:
- Not necessarily immediately in the subject to make it clear about their intentions. Do not refuse to those that hide your intentions. Your goal is to get attention. The remaining tasks are solved by the text of the letter itself.
- On the other hand, a letter with an incomprehensible header can be regarded as spam.
- Personalization can be both your ally and the enemy. This approach is perceived by some users as a manipulation, an attempt to force them to open a letter.
- Personalization is not limited to the name of the expert. For example, foreign blogger Tim Soulo in his mini-case reveals a headline that he used to draw Rand Fishkin’s attention to his letter. He simply wrote - yellow shoes, which literally translates as "yellow shoes". The subject of the letter worked flawlessly, because Yellow shoes from Puma - Rand’s distinctive feature in all conferences.
Let's continue the last example with a survey of foreign experts on Internet marketing. We used two personalized but obscure headlines:
- From Russia with love for * expert name *
- * Name of expert *, and here are the guys from Russia
Both headers worked well, because contained an element of personalization and catchy phrases. Not every day foreign bloggers receive letters from Russia.
How to convince experts to take part in the survey
Even if your message catches the attention of experts, this is just the beginning. Now your task is to convince them to take part in the survey. For this you need to write a clear letter explaining your request.
The keys to success at this stage are brevity and competent personalization. Even if your headline was not personalized, in no case can you ignore this technique in the text of the letter itself. To collect the opinions of foreign experts, we used the following template:
Hello, * expert name *.
My name is * your name *, I * position and company / blog *. * Unique message *
* 2-3 sentences describing your blog *. We decided to ask the experts on * your scope * just one question:
We think you are perfect for an interview, because * unique reason *. Your answer will help very many * your target audience *.
We will be grateful if you have the desire and time to respond. In any case, thank you for your attention!
As you can see, we did not immediately put forward the conditions for participation in the survey, namely the minimum length of the answer and deadlines. This can be both a winning and an erroneous move:
- Winning, because once again you do not put pressure on the expert. If you are asked for conditions, you extend your communication, not limited to a couple of letters.
- Erroneous, because some experts may answer too short, delay with the answer, or even forget about their participation.
When organizing a survey about "Minusinsk", we immediately put forward conditions to get detailed answers by the deadline.
A small trick: first write only to those who are already loyal to you / your brand (in our case, we first wrote Rand Fishkin and Joe Pulitzi, because we had already interviewed them). After you receive the answer, update the letter and mention their names. First, it will serve as proof that they no longer ignore you. Secondly, if the names are well-known, this may encourage others to take part in order to "find themselves in good company."
How to write a unique part of the message
This part of your letter should show that you really know something about the expert, and not just brazenly making a request. Here you have to show creativity. Examine the expert site, recent publications, social media activity, biography, market outlook. Tell me where exactly you know the experts, what do you agree with them, how their names correlate with your brand. Here are some examples of unique messages that we used when contacting foreign bloggers:
For Tim Soulo: Hi Tim (ha, we are namesakes)! Recently I see more and more of your posts on Ahrefs and Inbound. Keep writing awesome articles!
For Tadeusz Szewczyk: Hi, ted. I really like your unusual approach to SEO. You are not an ardent fan of Google, so I decided to contact you.
Compile all the answers, mark the responded experts in the table.
How to remind experts of their request
If you are contacting a large number of experts, be prepared for not getting answers from everyone. На это может быть три основных причины:
- Вы не смогли привлечь внимание эксперта
- Эксперт был слишком занят, чтобы ответить вам
- Контактная информация оказалась неверной, либо ваше сообщение попало в спам
У вас есть второй шанс получить экспертное мнение. Необходимо напомнить экспертам о вашей просьбе. Для этого сверьтесь с таблицей и выделите всех, от кого нет ответа. Make sure the contact information is correct and free of errors. If you are not sure that you have found working contacts - conduct additional research, or use other methods of communication. For example, social networks instead of email.
If you decide to stop by email, be sure to write a new topic. It might work better. Experiment with the categories of headings that we described above.
Again, back to the survey of foreign marketers. After the first attempt, we received answers from less than half of the experts and decided to remind the others that we are conducting a survey. We changed the subject and the text of the letter itself:
Topic of the letter: I am following you, * expert name * from * the name of the blog / company * ...
Just wondering if you had the opportunity to read my past letter (do not worry, I am not one of those who will spam your mail until I receive a reply).
Next was the request to respond, an updated list of those who have already participated, and conditions.
In total, 9 more experts responded after they received a letter to the mail with such a strange topic.
How to make a high-quality expert survey of the responses received
Collecting a lot of expert opinions is not all. You need to make this readable and interesting content. Follow a few simple rules:
- Do not use all the answers mindlessly.
If the answer needs a little refinement, do not be afraid to ask the expert to clarify this or that point. People are already interested and have participated, and therefore are unlikely to refuse to add a few details.
Do not include an answer if it carries no value. It is not always possible to ask an expert to make clarifications, and sometimes there is simply no point in this. And again a practical example. For a survey with foreign experts, one very famous marketer sent us the following answer:
Link to * expert’s personal site *
The best way to make yourself known on the Internet is social networks. Just be transparent, sincere everywhere and follow your core values - from social networks to the blog. The most important thing is to be original.
After some deliberation, it was decided not to include the answer in the survey, despite the world fame of the expert.
- Unveil the identity of experts
It is not necessary to write a short biography for each survey participant. In most cases, it is enough to specify the name, position, company and put a link to a website or blog.
- Use high quality photos
Together with the answer, ask the respondents to send their preferred clear photo so you can use it in the survey. Or find the photos yourself, so as not to burden the experts with unnecessary work.
- Write a unique entry
Do not immediately go to the answers of experts. Tell us why you chose this particular topic and these people.
- Make a beautiful announcement
Ask the designer to draw a picture-announcement for the survey, or do it yourself. Sometimes even an expert can do that.
- If possible, add statistics on the survey results
If you ask a few questions, and at least one of them implies a monosyllabic answer, use this to bring statistics at the end of the survey. For example, "3 out of 20 experts believe that the Earth is actually flat."
How to promote an expert survey after publication
The last stage of the work on the expert survey is its promotion. It is necessary to give this stage a lot of time and attention, because Mention of well-known personalities does not guarantee that the potential audience will see the survey.
First of all write to all the experts who participated in the survey, another letter. Give a link to the publication and ask to share it on social networks. Do it politely and unobtrusively. An example of such a request from our experience:
Hello, * expert name *!
Survey published. We will be grateful if you share them on social networks, as well as answer readers' questions in the comments. Thanks for participating!
Almost all experts happily agreed.
Do not forget to publish the survey in all social networks. Instead of just clicking the Share button and forgetting, go ahead - mention all the experts to get extra attention. This can be done on Facebook (using the @ symbol), Google+ (using the + and @ symbols), and VKontakte (using the * and @ symbols). Twitter imposes a limit on the length of the publication, so that all the check does not work. Mention only those who are most likely to retweet you.
Time to act
An expert survey is, first of all, a tool that answers questions that concern your readers. The secondary goal is building relationships with personalities known in your field and increasing your own authority. The latest, but no less important goal is to attract targeted traffic and a new audience.
An expert survey can be conducted for content projects of almost any sphere. The main thing is to conduct a thorough analysis and responsibly approach each stage. Be sure to include this type of content in your strategy and make sure it is effective.
If you have already conducted such surveys, share your experience in the comments - we are interested to know your opinion.