Create a content marketing team that packs a punch
Blog content, website content, social content, lead generation content… We all need content and lots of it. You spend the time working out the content marketing plan and then hand it to your content marketing team, brief them and then sit back and wait…
Virtually all the organisations we work with struggle getting content created – especially content that requires a subject matter expert with a technical background, and herein lies the problem. Those subject matter experts are hands-on, busy people, either selling or implementing technical solutions. They hold the knowledge and the expertise, and you’re reliant on them.
Sometimes though, it’s not just because they’re busy. Sometimes it’s because writing isn’t their main skillset. They’re more technically minded, therefore asking them to write a blog post or contribute to a digital guide is the last thing they’ll to want to do.
So, the question is: ‘How do you get the input you need from your internal content marketing team in the most effective way?’
Writing is a skill. Whilst we can all write to some degree, writing blog posts or sections of content requires planning, argument structuring, writing with good grammar, and being able to write an introduction and a conclusion with sentences that aren’t too complicated. After all, that’s why there are copywriters. But as you well know, not all copywriters can write the about the subject matter.
To solve this we use a few different techniques to garner internal support and get the end result required. Here are our favourites:
1. Get their buy-in early on
When you can show people the benefit of something, they’re much more likely to understand why they should do it. This is especially true for those that are more technically minded. By knowing and understanding the end goal and the past performance of other similar projects, they’ll see the benefit and therefore be more motivated to contribute.
Showing them stats regarding past performance (including views), downloads, and if possible, sales attributed or part attributed to previous pieces will go a long way to getting their buy-in.
Likewise, being clear on your expectations so they have a distinct perspective on how much they need to contribute will help, as well as arming them with the information they need to engage by showing them how the process will work.
Structure out the plan, be organised, show proof of past performance and be very clear on what you expect them from them. It’ll all help.
2. Brief them
For some, they simply need a brief. It’s not about the ability to write, it’s just they don’t think that people will be interested in their expertise. By briefing them, you’ll give them a clear understanding so they can see the benefit of content.
Include the following sections in your brief (which should be written out, not verbal):
- Background to the content piece
- Target audience (who are you writing for and what do they need to know?)
- What is the purpose of the content piece? (objective)
- What is the single most important thing you want to convey? (topic)
- Key points to include (breakdown of argument)
- What do you want the reader to do? (call to action)
3. Think it through for them
There are plenty of barriers to writing. Heck, we write blog posts every week and there are still other things that get in the way – and I like writing! So, for someone where writing doesn’t necessarily come naturally, a blank sheet with a suggested topic isn’t going to help.
One of the techniques we suggest is to plan the piece by providing an outline structure that can guide them through writing. The outline should contain the key argument, an intro, key paragraphs and a conclusion. At each stage, you’ll need to include the key point so that they can then articulate it in the most appropriate way with the right technical information.
This technique helps keep them on point and delivers what you need. It’s also worth noting that with this technique, you can also give them guidelines around keywords without it getting too complicated.
4. Use the interview technique
For those who are short on time or reluctant to put pen to paper, the interview technique works exceptionally well.
With this technique, you use a question and answer approach in the style of an interview. Whilst that may seem obvious, it’s harder than you think. It’s likely you may have a reluctant party, in which case you need to approach this in the right way.
Technically minded people are often very process-driven, structured and ordered. Therefore it’s important to share with them the exact process of what will happen during the interview, the outcomes and what is expected of them. This should be conveyed to them in advance of the interview so they can mentally prepare and be forthcoming.
The main purpose of the interview is to get the technical information from them so that you can create the content on their behalf. Always record the interview so you can accurately relay the information and always get their approval of the content so they’re happy to put their name to it.
5. Train them
Some people are willing but simply lack confidence in writing. As I mentioned above, technical people are structured, ordered and process driven, so they’re likely to respond well to training. It will give them the structure and process behind writing content – and therefore they’ll be more likely to deliver what you need.
These approaches are focused on writing – but not all content has to be written. You could also consider podcasts or video, or shorter written content such as presentations or webinars – where a technically minded person could really shine.