Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: November 2015

3 Steps to Getting Blog Content from SMEs


I don't post as often as I should.

Truth is, a lot of would-be bloggers are like me. I know, because I make a living blogging (and writing in general) for people who have a lot to say but not enough time in the day to write it all down.

My first contact with clients is usually the frustrated content marketing manager. They have executives, product managers, support specialists, etc., who would make great subject matter experts (SMEs), but they just can't get them to write anything. It's not that these experts are unwilling. Most of them are pretty excited about seeing their name online. They just can't find the time.

For a time, marketing managers may try to do the writing in house, but it's not like their plates are any emptier than the SMEs'. The key to gaining SME buy-in to your content program - and actually contributing - is to make it as easy as possible for them. I've separated this into three steps.

#1 Gain initial buy-in. As I mentioned, most experts love to see their name in print. Just telling them that you're starting a new program or ramping up an existing one is enough to get their attention. But regardless of initial interest, everything will fall apart of you don't take the next two steps.

#2 Minimize the time they need to spend. The first question they are likely to ask is: What will you need from me? Yes, full-blown, well-written posts would be nice, but don't hold your breath. If you really want to get your program off to a good start, you will need to outsource the writing to either an internal or external ghostwriter.

Every ghostwriter's process differs, but I usually offer SME's three different options:

  1. Write a full post and let me polish it for them. Sometimes they come to me well-polished, but usually there's a fair amount of work to be done to clean the post up and turn it into something blog worthy. Sometimes, their style isn't my style, and I just need to accept that. At the end of the day, the post needs to be something they - and their organization - are comfortable owning.
  2. Send me a few hastily scribbled thoughts and let me flesh it out into a post. This is really popular when I write for sales leaders. They are always on the go, but constantly coming up with new ideas.
  3. Let me create a post from scratch and see if they agree with it.

The last option is the least time-consuming, and as you might imagine, the most popular. It takes a bit more research on my end, but the SME may spend as little as 10-20 minutes on any given post.

#3 Always make sure the SMEs are satisfied. The SMEs are your customers as much as they are mine. No content program can succeed if they aren't happy to have their name associated with the final product. When they start tweeting their posts, that's a great sign!

Would love to hear about your content marketing program. Have you had a challenge getting SMEs to commit? If so, how have you overcome it?

If you would like to ask a direct question, reach out to me on LinkedIn.

View Melissa Paulik's profile on LinkedIn











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