Content is king. It drives views and engagement, whether it’s in the form of articles, videos, presentations or other materials. Content is what allows you to connect and communicate with your customers.
Organizations must rely on their subject matter experts (SMEs) — to varying degrees — for the creation of original and unique content. If your SMEs can develop content according to your marketing plan in terms of priorities and schedules, great; if not, you may need to look to your marketing team or an outsourced resource to get the job done.
As the founder and owner of a marketing agency, I have been helping my clients through their struggles over content creation for over 25 years. These tips have not only helped me co-develop compelling content for use in a variety of materials, but, more importantly, have eased the collaboration process and helped me form meaningful, long-term relationships with my clients.
SMEs Versus Marketers
Even if your SMEs understand the content best, a professional marketer may offer the most expedient method of writing or editing that content into digestible pieces for your audience. That being said, you don’t need to come up with new content all at once.
I advise beginning with one to two original pieces each month. Then, if you decide to put a full plan into action — one that might consist of two to six original content pieces every month — it may be a good idea to supplement your in-house resources with outside marketers and not take them away from their primary responsibilities just to write content.
Identifying Your SMEs
You may be challenged with how to approach the creation of unique content. Many individuals in your organization likely have a talent or knack for content — usually those who can make a verbal connection between a customer need and product capabilities. In other words, they can connect the dots between a spec sheet and a marketing message.
Look for those individuals with a product marketing mentality. Every company has its own talent pool, whether it consists of executives, engineers, salespeople or other industry or product knowledge experts. Note that the source of original content is not the responsibility of the marketing department or outsourced agency; rather, they are the interpreters of the content.
The Domino Effect
Another reason original content is king is that one piece of content can be leveraged into many to have a positive domino effect. Here’s an example:
This particular project started with a technical brochure created by the parent company of this organization. The piece was accurate and attractive but did not address the customer need, and therefore, fell short of meeting the needs of the marketing team. Our client’s general manager recognized the shortcomings and wrote an introductory paragraph to explain the user need from a customer perspective, thus making the connection between technical and practical.
After a 30-minute interview between the general manager and our agency, we were able to create a relevant, original email and also develop a call to action: “See our technology in action at our regional service center.” We then created and sent the email to a qualified list of prospects, developed and posted an associated webpage, and also posted the content on Social Media.
The result? Several qualified prospects responded to schedule a time to see the technology in action within 48 hours of the email being sent!
Since this particular client has helped develop several content pieces over time, he was also tapped by a major industry publication for a feature interview. Once it was published, this article was converted into another email campaign, resulting in significant Social Media activity. Great content can not only be leveraged for multiple uses on multiple platforms but also can have a domino effect above and beyond your original intentions.
Coming Up With Original Content
There’s no need to struggle for content ideas. Here are some ongoing categories of content that you can incorporate into your marketing calendar: frequently searched terms, training, lunch-and-learn sessions, new product announcements, original articles, awards and recognition, services that are unique to your business, and customer stories.
The bottom line is that content experts with a product marketing mindset exist in various areas of your organization. They can and should be tapped to leverage existing content. Working with your marketing team, one topic can be used in multiple ways, causing a positive domino effect and resulting in good, qualified leads.