Ask Questions – Make Money! The Hottest Home Business on the Planet
I made more than $6,200 in my first three months with this niche business.
You could do even better.The formula for this business is super-simple. And believe me… This is not a “copycat” type business opportunity.
Here’s the deal…… Publishers desperately need relevant content!
AOL’s new venture Seed.com has retained hundreds (some say thousands) of freelance writers to develop “relevant” content on demand.
Here’s what I did with this service…
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I interviewed hotshot executives and “tech gurus” in the beginning days of the dot-com hysteria. The interviews were all conducted by phone or e-mail.
I sold the interviews to business publications, news-driven websites, general-interest magazines, e-zines, and to specialty publishers. I even sold interviews to so-called bestselling authors who couldn’t get the same interviews!
Most CEOs, hotshot entrepreneurs, and celebrities love attention and publicity. The executives I interviewed were as giddy as schoolgirls when “their stories” showed up in the mainstream news or in a top business publication.
Publicity is a Funny Thing
Most would-be celebrities, technology hotshots and CEOs at publicly traded companies would be like a speck of sand on the beach without the media and publicity.
And most people understand this fact of life. Therefore getting interviews is actually quite easy…and it’s fun!
In the past few months I’ve interviewed financial titans like Jim Rogers, Dr. Marc Faber, Dr. Gary North, Alex Green, Gerald Celente and Chris Mayers to name a few.
How to Find People to Interview
In the beginning I found interview candidates via the newswires. I looked for “pre-IPO” technology company press releases. I focused on technology companies because it was a hot rising trend. But more importantly this is what publishers wanted. Though it could be just about anything people are interested in.
Today, it’s even easier to search the newswires for potential interview candidates with sites like Google News, BusinessWire.com, and PRWeb.com.
During my research for interview prospects I jotted down a CEO’s name, company, and Web addresses. Then I would go to their websites to find specific contact information.
A Friendly, Personal Email is NOT Spam
There is widespread fear among many Internet users about sending someone you don’t know an email. People think this is spam. But here’s the deal….
You can write to anyone you want! It’s not spam. The term spam means “bulk unsolicited commercial email”. In other words, it means sending more than one email, or in bulk, for commercial purposes.
Do not EVER spam people or send bulk unsolicited commercial email.
I would send a CEO a friendly but professional e-mail through his or her company website, or through the “corporate communications department”. When the interview prospects replied I would introduce myself as a freelance columnist and request an interview.
Sometimes you’ll be referred to the company’s corporate communications or PR department. But don’t worry…that’s the way the game is played.
The Corporate Communications Department will normally send a few guidelines for an interview and set up an interview time. But as I said…
Most of my interviews were conducted by email so time was irrelevant! It’s that simple. In five years I was only turned down for an interview four times!
It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you just take action.
The A, B, Cs of a “Sellable” Interview
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The best interviews are more like conversations that flow freely and comfortably. But you do have to do some prep work to make them appropriate for publication.
The first thing to do is develop an outline for each interview. This was the easy part. I simply copied the “interview formula” of top business publications and newspapers, and then added my personality to it.
You can do the same thing.
Check out interviews on sites like Entrepreneur.com or Inc.com and study what questions the interviewer asked and how the interview progressed. What sorts of questions led the interviewee to reveal the best information? What questions did they not like?
I also recommend Larry King’s book, How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere (it’s pretty good).
The next step is to perform a little “pre-call” work. You should do this before conducting each individual interview. The pre-call research will help you understand the person you’re interviewing, what they do, and their competition. If you don’t prepare for an interview in this way, it will not go well, trust me.
The pre-call will enable you to gather tons of information about the person you’ll be interviewing. But you need something unique, something that really stands out – one big idea to make it a truly great interview.
For example, let’s say you’ve secured an interview with the CEO of a top Silicon Valley software company. Their software enables users to make telephone calls over the Internet without any special hardware.
Great. Now you need an “angle” or one BIG idea. The big idea will make the interview interesting to readers, but it will also make it interesting to your buyer – editors, publishers, columnists, etc.
One of the best ways to find an “angle” or big idea is to tie the interview to hot current events or news.
There are hundreds of ways to do this but I like Google News.
If we search Google News under the Technology section we find Mobile VoIP is a hot new technology. I would tie the interview to Mobile VoIP.
The trick is to tie the interview to current events, situations, or news.
You might think it is pretty tough to interview someone, especially a CEO or celebrity, but you’ll be amazed how people open up to you when you ask them to talk about themselves, their business, their market, or their stock!
The next step is to arrange a time for the interview. If the executive or entrepreneur prefers to do the interview via e-mail, just send them a copy of your questions. Make sure you ask them to be as specific as possible. And never, ever ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. That doesn’t make for a very compelling interview.
When the interview is completed you can clean it up or contract a freelance editor to proofread and format it for you. This shouldn’t be costly at all. One of the freelance editors I worked with offered three interview proofs, edits, and formatting for $50.
Making Money by Asking Questions Is Easy!
Now, an interview does you no good if you don’t have anywhere to publish it (and get paid).
I built a contact list of about 95 to 100 top managing editors, writers and publishers and pitched my interviews to them.
I built my initial contact list by searching Google and other top engines. But I also used dozens of trade directories like the Gebbie Press All-In-One Media Directory. Each interview would sell for $100 to $500.
Most publishers will request “exclusive rights” to your interviews. That means you can’t turn around and sell it to another publication. That’s okay. In fact, as I gained more experience I charged more for the exclusive rights to the interview.
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Eventually, I built up a good reputation and publishers and editors started sending me assignments for interviews they desperately wanted (but were unable to obtain). I offered to conduct these special-assignment interviews for $350 to $750 each.
It’s a blast obtaining “impossible” interviews with hot shot entrepreneurs, celebrities, and tech gurus. I approach this business like a game, and you should too!
I scored impossible interviews by writing directly to the people I wanted to reach by email, fax, and sometimes with a FedEx letter.
Please don’t spam people! There are hundreds of definitions of bulk unsolicited commercial email or SPAM. But for the most part sending bulk generic emails and form letters to people you’ve never met is SPAM.
However, if you approach this with etiquette and professionalism you won’t be accused of SPAM.
That being said… here’s a secret…
Practically every company in the world has an e-mail address format. In most cases it will be the person’s first name initial and his or her last name with an “@” symbol and dot.com. Like this:
Bob Johnson – [email protected]
So, if you know the executives name and the company’s e-mail format, you can send him a personal e-mail requesting an interview.
Always remember to address your subject by name, and you can even put “Interview Request” in the subject line (believe me, it’ll be opened).
But that’s not all!
I sold the interview “reprints” to the subjects or companies when and if it was picked up by the mainstream media or by a top publication.
Heck… I even sold “reprints” of the interviews when it didn’t run in a major media publication!
Out of more than 285 interviews I’ve done, I was only turned a few times for reprint orders.
Local print shops developed reprints of the interviews for me on high-quality glossy paper and laminated them.
I sold the reprints back to the companies for $75 each. I typically made between $500 and $1,000 on every order, because companies typically ordered a dozen or more (for handing out to prospective shareholders, as well as at trade shows, conferences, or other special events). In this form they are also suitable for framing and display. And you can bet that’s what many of these companies did too. On top of that, I also tracked my interviews to see if they were picked up by the major newswires.
When major news sources like USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC or others picked up my interviews, the subject or his or her company usually received tens of thousands of “hits” on their websites. You can’t buy that sort of publicity-driven traffic!
My only regret is that I never put the interviews into a book or e-book. (That’s something worth considering when you start conducting interviews.)
This is a great little business for entrepreneurs who enjoy talking to people and finding out what makes them tick.
Yes, the dot com frenzy may be over. But believe me, there are tens of thousands of people and companies in every industry under the sun who still need positive publicity.
On top of that, publishers need original, relevant content – yesterday! Why not work to link these two sides together, and make a good chunk of change doing it?
***** Action Strategy *****
Start searching BusinessWire.com, PRWeb.com, and Google News (and hundreds of similar news sites) for press releases featuring rising executives, entrepreneurs, or celebrities.
Jot down at least 10 names and Web addresses.
Then develop an outline for the interviews.
You can use top business publications and newspapers as a format for your interview, that’s what I did. But add your personality to it.
Next, focus on these potential interview subjects. Do some “pre-call” research on each interviewee so you understand what they do and how they do it, as well as their competition.
Now, simply contact the 10 executives you’ve targeted and request an interview.
Keep your request simple and to the point (like two or three sentences total). These people are busy and won’t read a long-winded e-mail.
If they ask you where the interview will be published, tell them you have an extensive contact list of top editors and publishers who may be interested once the interview is completed. (If you don’t have a contact list, start one today.)
If you want to jump start your contact list of editors, publishers, columnists, and managing editors, pick up a copy of the Gebbie Press All-In-One Media Directory.
Conduct the interviews by phone or e-mail.
The next step will be to edit and format the interviews. I prefer freelance writers or editors for this. You can find freelancers everywhere! I use CraigsList (look in resumes), Writers.net, eLance.com, and simple Google searches (search term: freelance writer).
Now pitch your interviews to a targeted list of editors and publishers.
Don’t forget to ask your interviewee if he or she would like to purchase a professional quality reprint too.
In some cases, your interview and reprint requests will be directed to corporate communications, investor relations, public relations, or even the marketing department.
Top-level interviews, as I said, can be sold to publishers for between $100 and $500. Interview assignments or “on-demand” interviews can be sold for between $250 and $750 (and up).
Granted, you may have to give away the first couple of interviews for free. But this will get your foot in the door.
Reprints of an interview can be sold for about $75 apiece. Most companies order dozens of reprints. Just Google “magazine or publishing reprints” if you don’t think this is a lucrative market.
If your interview is picked up by a major publication, the publication will try to sell reprints to your subject too. I like the idea of first mover advantage, so it’s better to be the first one to ask.
You’ll have a blast with this business… and you’ll build an extraordinary contact database in the process! It’s easy and profitable, too.
(Ed Note: Marc Charles is referred to as “The King of Business Opportunities” ….and for good reason. He should be known as “The King of Legitimate Business Opportunities”…because he’s launched, bought, sold reviewed and advised on hundreds of businesses and money making opportunities. He understands legitimate opportunities. Marc has agreed supply League of Power members with crucial updates regarding legitimate business and money making opportunities.)
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Editor and Publisher (covering the newspaper industry)
Mondo Times (15,000 newspapers)
News Directory (publication search engine)
Writers Market (access to editors and publishers)