Like any devotee of content, I believe the value of a well-crafted question. That’s why I’ve held onto these 5 great questions perfect for orienting newly minted brand storytellers.
Orienting questions are useful whether crafting a pitch for a media influencer or writing a journalistic profile for news or magazine publication. Without good questions, even the most caffeine inspired writer would be, well, left hanging.
These questions are from Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Growth Conference” a few years back. The magazine’s editors allowed attendees to pitch their brand story in person in three minutes or less. The guidelines are crystal clear about the magazine’s audience and content strategy: “…we’re primarily looking for entrepreneurs whose stories illustrate lessons that other readers can learn from.”
Succinct as the clank of a spoon onto a saucer.
The provided questions have an evenly roasted sensibility that stands up well over time. Lately, I’ve seen an increase in the number of requests I’ve gotten from clients about influencer marketing, without an understanding of the commitment it takes to create those coveted national level opportunities.
In short, influencer marketing is the direct outreach to influencers in media and the blogosphere to whom a media relations or public relations practitioner will pitch story ideas. Obviously, one pitches the client’s story to those influencers whose interests are most closely aligned with your own.
You can see why I continue to keep a file copy for reference, even though questions like these are second nature to journalism and public relations pros. I pulled these out today to share with a new writer on my team.
Here is the list:
- What do you think is interesting or newsworthy about your company?
- What key challenges or obstacles did you overcome while starting or growing your company?
- Do you use any innovative or unusual marketing or sales strategies, financing strategies, or management techniques?
- Have you developed an innovative product, service, or technology?
- Is there a specific marketing/sales strategy, financing method, or management technique that has greatly helped your business’ growth?
The do-it-yourselfers in the entrepreneurial world may wish to answer these in response to their own business growth, marketing, or public relations strategies. My experience suggests that a brief answer to a good question is worth more than 1,000 words.
Similar questions could be the basis for a mighty fine Q&A magazine-style feature profiling an industry leader, innovator, or start-up business model.
Here are a few things I’ve pulled together to share in that regard.
- Tips for Organizing a Magazine Style Q&A https://contently.net/2016/09/20/resources/5-keys-writing-qa-piece-people-actually-want-read/ (includes links to examples)
- How to do a good Q&A: https://contently.net/2016/09/20/resources/5-keys-writing-qa-piece-people-actually-want-read/
- Good questions for the middle: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/14-interview-questions-th_n_2807438.html
- Surprise questions for the end https://www.fastcompany.com/3056142/36-interview-questions-that-are-actually-fun-to-answer
When it’s time to ask the questions, writers today should record the interview for accuracy. Be willing to call back and ask additional questions if needed. Whether crafting a pitch for influencer marketing efforts or writing an article for a magazine, the due diligence will be noticed.