The internet runs on content — relatable and engaging content the public can easily find, understand, and apply. In today’s information age, consumers have endless information at their fingertips 24/7/365. They expect more from companies than ever before, and rightfully so.
If your organization isn’t producing engaging and helpful content for potential customers and partners, you will miss out on one of the most effective tools for reaching both current and potential audiences.
But what constitutes good content? Expert knowledge? Humor? Clear and concise information?
Yes, to all of the above.
The best-written content is easy to digest and well-informed. Spend 30 minutes researching any subject, and you'll quickly find plenty of examples of objectively bad content. Whether it's dense paragraphs full of technical jargon, articles with unclear or meandering topics, or crowdsourced information littered with incorrect facts, the internet is home to plenty of low-quality content.
Producing quality content can be intimidating. Maybe content falls on your marketing team's already full plate, which has little to no writer support. Or perhaps you're not quite sure what topics your audience will find interesting. Maybe your organization doesn't have experience with search engine optimization (SEO).
Whatever the reason, we have an easy trick for any organization to start creating well-informed and engaging content. People have used it since the dawn of time to learn new things. Are you ready? Drumroll, please…
Let’s dive into what we mean by this.
Technical Expertise versus Clear Communication
We all have that person on our team who seems to know the answer to any question. They're incredibly knowledgeable and unmatched in their expertise. Still, maybe they struggle to communicate it to someone less familiar in that area — a customer, potential investor, or commercial partner.
It's no fault of their own. Content creation requires an entirely different skillset. Technical experts don't often have the time to keep up with writing styles and trends or learn best online writing and SEO practices. They're kept plenty busy by their day-to-day jobs.
When many companies start generating their own content, they typically make one of two fundamental mistakes. They either task their subject matter experts with writing a blog post, resulting in dense information their audience may have trouble following. Or the company hires an outside writer with limited knowledge of the company and subject to write an article with little to no expert support. Sure, this results in more easy-to-read articles, but they often include misinformed facts and don't speak to the expertise their personas expect. Both outcomes can ultimately hurt a company's credibility.
Bridging the Gap Through Conversation
The best way to avoid these two content faux pas is through conversation.
Don't expect the subject matter expert to become an expert communicator or a writer to learn rocket science (or whatever your organization does) overnight. Organize an interview between someone on your marketing team and various subject matter experts in the company, then talk!
Your team should go into the interview with a general outline of the article and questions to ask the technical experts. This will not only save time, but it will also allow your technical team to correct any potential misconceptions or inaccuracies right off the bat.
When it comes time to have the conversation, be sure to record the interview so your marketing team can use it to generate content. Once you have the recording, we recommend transcribing the interview and copying it into the outline before sending it to a writer. Even if the writer isn’t present during the conversation, the outline will have all the relevant facts, expertise, and insights to shape into a coherent and engaging story.
Finally, when the writer finishes their first draft, your subject matter experts should review it to ensure technical accuracy.
Benefits to the Conversational Approach
Finding time to interview the experts on your team may take some work — and in some cases, harmless bribery — but it is incredibly worth it. Here are a few reasons why:
- The conversational approach helps get the expert's voice and insights into the article without writing down everything. After all, a conversation takes up less time than writing an entire blog.
- Writers will inherently avoid getting lost in the details that experts love to discuss. Experts are specialists. Trained writers break down complex matters into digestible pieces of information. Allowing the specialists to inform the content while the writer gives it shape will result in more balanced pieces.
- You can use conversations in several different ways. A creative team can use one interview to generate multiple forms of content with a quality recording and transcript — a podcast episode, a short video, or even numerous written articles.
Have the Conversation
Journalists have conversations every day to capture the stories that shape our world. In a world where content is king, companies can utilize the same practice to craft their own stories.