There’s a reason so many toothpaste commercials contain the words “dentist recommended.”
We put weight behind the words of experts. Whether you’re selling pearly white teeth or software as a service, consumers pay more attention when opinions hold authority.
The question is how to find and utilize this expertise for your content marketing. Fortunately for you, the answer is probably hiding in plain sight right in your office.
Putting experience to work
While participating in content marketing campaigns may not be an employee’s primary job function, it’s a crime to let the experts on your staff go to waste. Industry knowledge, career experience, specialized education history – you may be sitting on a goldmine of expertise that can help enhance your content marketing.
This is especially true if your business operates in a highly technical field. For example, what are the odds a content writer will know more about printed circuit board assembly and manufacturing than an internal stakeholder who eats, sleeps and breathes the subject?
Even more important, what are the odds someone will do business with you if your content reads like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a clue?
By pairing content creators with the appropriate subject matter experts, you enjoy the best of both worlds: Your blog posts are produced by someone who understands the intricacies of search engine optimization and written composition yet still incorporate actionable knowledge from an authority on the topic.
You may be surprised what a 15-minute chat between a content writer and a subject matter expert can do for the quality of your marketing.
Shaping your strategy
Beyond technical knowledge, subject matter experts can add color to your copy.
“Experts can provide real-life examples and anecdotes that your content writers would have never dreamed up,” said Project Manager Eric Rubino, who often works to connect Brafton writers with client authorities. “They can introduce new points of view on topics, which help you align your conversation better with your target audience. Also, quotes can spice up an otherwise straightforward article. Because they’re often more stream of consciousness, it’s a nice way to break up content with a friendly, conversational voice.”
Not to get too meta, but see what he means?
Subject matter experts can also be invaluable in terms of topic generation.
“Ask an expert what’s on their mind lately or their thoughts on recent industry news, and you’ll get a bunch of content ideas that would have never occurred to a writer,” Eric said. “They can also point you in the direction of websites and blogs that they read so you can improve your sourcing and dig into the conversation your audience is paying attention to.”
Cutting out the middleman?
You may be tempted to take things a step further and make your expert and content writer one and the same. After all, wouldn’t having the expert put proverbial pen to paper save time in addition to money?
“These people are experts in their fields because they’re very good at their jobs,” Eric said. “As such, they’re likely very busy doing their jobs, and lack the time to sit down and write a blog post.”
It’s also important to remember that possessing expertise in one subject does not automatically translate to another. Writing is a skill like any other. To do it well requires study and experience. Even brilliant industry advice will lose its luster if it’s lost inside a jumbled sentence.
Beyond the artistry of written content, your expert may not have a working knowledge of the finer points of keyword research and writing with semantic search in mind.
Until the day that robots replace us all, pairing up experts with writers for interviews remains the best option.
Inside and out
There’s no doubt subject matter experts at your business can help you create better content. That said, don’t focus solely on internal opportunities.
“Internal experts are a great way to establish your brand as a major thought leader in your category,” Eric said. “But reaching out to and using external experts is a great strategy to show that your brand is a part of the industry community and has connections. External experts will also help promote your brand, even indirectly. If you interview an influential person with a built-in audience, that audience is likely to read what you wrote.”
Businesses are made up of people, many of them with special insights to share. Make sure your people are being heard. Your content marketing will be the better for it.