SME Content Marketing: How to Get Experts to Write Regularly
If you’re in a technical B2B business, you may be tempted to have your subject matter experts (SMEs) produce content for your marketing. After all, your SMEs are thought leaders, and your blog’s readers could benefit greatly from their insights. But blogging isn’t always an SME’s highest priority. Many would rather do the work they love rather than spend their time writing about it. You may get them to start a post, but find it challenging to get a complete draft on schedule.
So how can you get that unique knowledge out of their heads and onto the page? Here are some strategies for motivating your experts and make the process of SME content marketing as painless as possible.
6 Strategies to Motivate SME Content Marketing Writers
When working with SMEs, remember that their time is money. You’ll need to do everything you can to help make blog writing as easy as possible, so ask your SME what resources they think would help most. Writing for your blog detracts from time they’d normally devote to their primary responsibilities, so think carefully about how to best use time. If you decide that growing your blog is worth it, here are some tips on how to help your SMEs to deliver completed drafts.
Thoroughly explain the importance of online content to your SMEs.
It’s not just flattery. Everyone needs to know why what they’re doing is important. So remember to explain that SME content marketing is a powerful technique, and that writing posts can make your organization far more successful. Review the content of each post with the SME before they write a first draft. What are the key takeaways of a post that readers should walk away with? What are the next steps you want readers to take after having read the post? You can give your SME an outline for their post that offers guidance, details key points and reiterates a post’s importance.
Build a support system for your SMEs.
Your SMEs might not be great writers. This can be especially true of technical fields or with SMEs who don’t spend their days writing. If this is the case, they may need an editor. The editor can help them develop the topic or outline, edit drafts for grammar, or rewrite sections for readability. You could also have a copywriter write drafts for SME review. Be patient with your SME, and get professional writers and editors to help them when needed.
Integrate writing time into your SME’s schedule.
Let SMEs earmark time specifically for writing. It will show your SME how important blog writing is and help them use their time more efficiently. You might devote a large block of time to writing, editing, and rewriting, or give them an hour or two every day to work on the project. Schedule their blog writing time consistently, which will help get them into the habit of writing. If an SME is worried about taking time away from their primary responsibilities to write, you may need to designate some blog-only time.
Break down the writing process into manageable parts.
Writing is a process. And if your SME is unfamiliar with blog writing, they may not know how to break post creation into manageable parts. If that’s the case, work with the SME to create a writing schedule, and work in iterations to produce multiple drafts. After an outline is created the SME can start research. They might start on a section that comes naturally to them, or on one that’s easy to write about. Encourage them to make incremental progress. They can always go back and read their work later, which will help them spot valuable edits.
Once a first draft is completed, have a review process. Suggest edits to the draft, then send it back to the SME, who can work on a second draft. You can let a copywriter or editor work on the second draft for you. Repeat this process of drafting, editing, and updating until you get a final draft. Have an editor proofread the final draft and have the SME approve of the copy that will be posted on the blog. This iterative process will break blog writing down into easier parts.
Designate a writer to interview your SMEs.
One of the best ways of transferring knowledge from an SME’s brain to the page is to interview them. Asking interview questions can focus the thought process, and an interviewer will normally ask questions that gather the information non-experts need to fully understand the topic. Then the interviewer can write the blog post on the SME’s behalf. This is the best option to go with if your SME simply doesn’t have time to write, or if you absolutely cannot get them to write the post themselves. Happily, many SMEs find dictation easier than writing, and few will object to being interviewed.
Outsource to a thought leadership marketing firm.
If you’ve tried all of these tips and your SME is still having trouble writing for your blog, it may be time to let an expert help. You firm may also choose to hire an SME specifically for a client. First Page Sage is an SEO services and thought leadership marketing firm that can investigate the best keywords that will draw traffic to your blog, interview your SME, and publish new posts on a regular basis. From topic and keyword research to draft iteration to the final review process, we can handle all the work of SME content marketing for you.
Finally, you may decide that while you want to share your SMEs’ expertise with the world, having them write posts isn’t a profitable use of their time. Letting First Page Sage handle every aspect of blog content creation for you frees your SME up to work on their primary responsibilities. Giving an interview takes far less time than writing and editing a post. We can ensure that each post is SEO keyword-optimized to draw the most traffic possible. That means even more people will read a post, and that more people can benefit from your SME’s wisdom. If you’d like First Page Sage to work with your SMEs, contact us.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.