One of the most common mistakes marketers make is treating subject matter interviews like a performance.

…as if we matter.

Well, we don’t.

And that’s a good thing! For you and for your marketing program. So…

Ask the stupid questions. Yes, there is such a thing as a dumb question. You must ask it anyway. (I even tell my subjects they’re about to hear a dumb question.) If you don’t, you risk missing out on key foundational knowledge. No shame! You’d be surprised at the rapport you can build by showing off your ignorance.

Stay in your lane. Your subject matter expert is smarter than you on the topic at hand. You don’t need to put yourself under pressure to seem like you’re on their level. You’re not. (Because they’re not on yours, either!) If you spend your energy fretting over how you’re perceived, you’re ignoring your primary duty: mining for information.

Know the “why.” You’ll be most successful when you’re clear why a conversation is happening in the first place. Senior Strategist Grace Wright recommends giving your interview subject a glimpse behind the curtain, too. This provides valuable framing your subject matter expert can use to package what they know in a way that you can use.