Tapping Subject Matter Experts to Feed the Content Marketing Beast
By Evelyn Hoover | June 21, 2018
MSPC vice president of B2B content Evelyn Hoover explores how to incorporate subject matter experts in your content marketing to provide maximum value as well as impact for your current and potential customers and prospects.
Let me guess: When you first launched your new website, everyone jumped on board, offering to write blog posts and articles, post videos and optimize content for online and social.
A few months in and suddenly the fanfare died down and you’re left with pages that are thirsty for content. But not just any content—good content that answers questions that your site’s potential visitors are Googling. You’re now wondering, what did I get myself (and my company) into? How can I feed the beast?
You know your company has subject matter experts (SMEs) who truly understand what your site visitors (your customers and prospects) want to know. But these same folks are strapped for time as they juggle customer engagements and their regular workloads. Most of them want to help, but content marketing isn’t their first priority. In fact it’s at the bottom of their list, right after “scheduling a dental visit.”
3 Ways Subject Matter Experts Can Help Deliver Content Readers Crave
Subject matter experts can help you by writing great content for your blog and website if you make it easy for them. While developing content for large technology and other B2B clients, I’ve found three ways that SMEs can be tapped to deliver content that resonates with audiences.
1. FAQs. Your subject matter experts likely interact regularly with your customers and prospects. The chances are good that many customers and prospects ask these SMEs the same or very similar questions. Ask your SMEs to write down these FAQs. Then do a quick interview where the SME answers the questions. The FAQs could turn into a written blog post or article or it could be a short video interview. If video was used, the longer video could be posted but shorter chunks with responses to each question could also be developed. These would work great for social media.
2. Presentations. Your subject matter experts are likely road warriors who present at conferences and other events. Their PowerPoint decks are basically the outline of an article. See if they are willing to write an article or blog post on their presentation topic. It broadens the reach of the presentation topic beyond the select few who attended the conference, delivering new content to site visitors.
If they don’t have time, offer to take their deck (and speaker notes) and write it up for them. They can quickly review the content and ensure it’s accurate before you post it online.
3. Customers. If you refer back to #1, you’ll recall that the subject matter experts are in touch with customers. Would those customers be willing to be interviewed for a case study on how your company’s products or services helped them solve a challenge they encountered? It’s much more powerful to have someone outside your company explain the value of your products or services than it is to have talking heads do so.
Yes, I know many companies can’t serve as references, but it never hurts to ask. Engage with your subject matter experts and see if they are willing to make the ask or introduce you to the customer so you make the ask yourself. Again, the customer story could be written content or video, depending on your budget and ability to execute a video interview.
Turning Knowledge Into Content
With a little planning, you can help subject matter experts turn their experiences and knowledge into useful, sharable content. Often times, subject matter experts may know so much, they’re not sure where to begin to narrow their ideas down to specific topics. Providing just a little guidance may be all that’s needed to unleash a flood of new ideas. Making the process as less daunting as possible will help ensure that SMEs are happy to help when the beast needs another meal.