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Date posted: May 21, 2009

On an annual basis, I conduct anywhere from 100 to 300 phone interviews, depending on my freelance and journalism workload. I estimate that I’ve interviewed more than 5,000 people over the course of my writing career. After gathering information from so many people on so many different topics, I’ve learned a few important lessons about conducting an information-gathering interview.

First Pitch Softball

I always start by asking the interviewee to state his/her name the way they’d “like to see it in print.” It puts them in the frame of mind that what they say is going to matter. Then, I ask them at least one easy question to put them at ease. The first question is never really an important one—it’s designed to give the interviewee confidence and warm them up. I always ask a question that the person—from doing some homework about their expertise—will find very easy to answer.

Anecdotal

Almost without exception, I will ask the person I’m interviewing if they have an anecdotal story about whatever it is we’re discussing. It nearly always produces the best response of the interview.

End Note

I always end with the following question regardless of the subject at hand: “Is there anything about this topic that I wouldn’t know to ask you about?” This question consistently produces an excellent quote. I often follow it up with: “Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t already discussed?” This question not only produces rich content, but often leads to ideas for future stories.

Using these strategies, I haven’t had to resort to water boarding to get compelling content for my editors or clients.

Date posted: May 19, 2009

Rick Short, marcomm director at Indium Corporation, recently asked the B2B Marcom group on LinkedIn if they thought print magazines were dead. His question generated a lively discussion.

I responded to Rick by saying, "When I first started writing for B2B print publications in 1989, there was talk of the magazine industry's demise. At the time, reports of its death were greatly exaggerated (apologies to Twain).

"Today, however, I think we're closer to the end of print than the beginning. Clearly, new media will prevail in the long run, but how long is that run–5, 10, 20 years?

"I expect that I'll be contributing to print publications for years to come; however, many years ago, I made a concerted effort to embrace new media and become adept at its nuances. I did so in an effort to make myself 'bullet proof' from print's demise. I hope that magazines will continue to be produced for many years, but, like many in the B2B media industry, I'm excited about the possibilities that the new media holds. For those who understand how to write for the Web (and exploit its goodness), this is the Golden Age."

What do you think?

Date posted: May 6, 2009

For those visiting from my LinkedIn network, I'd like to offer my thanks and a warm welcome.

I'd posted a status message on LinkedIn today inviting those in my network to view this site and provide feedback. I'd welcome you suggestions and input on the design, content, etc.

I appreciate your interest and thank you for taking a moment to visit my recently redesigned Web site/blog.

Date posted: May 1, 2009

Case Studies

By Marty Weil

SQL server manufacturing customer solution [Microsoft]

Enterprise business software [QAD]

MES software [Savigent Software]

ERP software [Made2Manage]

ERP software [Made2Manage]

SaaS-based expense reporting software [Expensewire.com]

SaaS-based expense reporting software [Expensewire.com]

Control devices [Honeywell]

Control devices [Honeywell]

BPM software [Gensym]

BPM software [Gensym]

Rapid prototyping [3D Systems]

K12 Courseware Credit Recover Software [AEC]

Contact center productivity systems [Jacada]

 

Date posted:

Ghost Blogging

Connected Enterprise blog (Epicor)

Supply Chain blog (E2open)

K12 blog (Lenovo)

 

Custom Content for Web Sites

Leveling the Playing Field (SMART Technologies)
appeared on SMART Technologies Web site

Rated “E” for Effort (SMART Technologies)
appeared on SMART Technologies Web site

Integrating Safety (Rockwell Automation)
appeared on Safety Automation Review Web site

New Standards for Functional Safety (Rockwell Automation)
appeared on Safety Automation Review Web site

Process Industries: Safety Instrumented Systems (Rockwell Automation)
appeared on Safety Automation Review Web site

Trends in Consumer Products Process Safety (Rockwell Automation)
appeared on Safety Automation Review Web site

Produce Stunning Excel Report from .Net Applications (Syncfusion)
appeared on The Syncfusion Company Blog

Converting Existing Products to Functional Safety (UL)
appeared on UL Company Web site

Driving Functional Safety in Motor Drives (UL)
appeared on UL Company Web site

Integrating Functional Safety Across the Supply Chain (UL)
appeared on UL Company Web site

Functional Safety Management Audit (UL)
appeared on UL Company Web site