More content, more customers.
Well, not precisely, but inbound marketing research indicates that companies that blog 15 times per month generate 1,200 leads per month on average. The secret to boosting your company's sales could be in publishing high-quality content more frequently.
However, if your marketing staff and resources are severely limited, what's a marketer to do? The answer may lay in your colleagues and industry peers who don't have a background in content marketing. That's right, subject matter experts could be the secret to helping you create more content and revenue in less time.
Why Subject Matter Experts Can Create Great Content
Do subject matter experts always equal great content? Definitely not. But in many cases, their content is awesome. Google and your audience both love relevant, in-depth content. Your future customers want to read blogs that are written from a place of knowledge and experience. By collecting your experts' knowledge, editing it, and publishing it, you may be able to establish your brand as an expert resource.
In this blog, we'll share 12 ways that you can rely on your colleagues and other industry experts to help you create more content, and quickly.
1. Build a Content Culture
Your CEO? Research Director? Customer Service Representatives? All of these individuals have a new job title, and it's "content creator." One of the most effective ways to create more content fast is to add more contributors.
You can approach converting your colleagues in a number of ways, all of which will be more effective if you have leadership support on your side. You could:
- Host monthly "content jams" or company-wide blogging sessions
- Provide on-staff experts with topics and deadlines to write in their own time
- Provide a "minimum" number of articles due each month to staff
The submissions from your colleagues probably won't be perfect, especially in the beginning. That's okay, and to be expected if they don't have a background in writing or marketing. It's wisest to plan some heavy editing, polishing, and feedback to get their contributions up to snuff. However, turning your colleagues into content creators is an easy way to boost your editorial calendar.
2. Co-Create Content
Co-created content is a brilliant way to turn expert opinions and feedback into a quick-and-easy blog post, eBook, or other forms of content marketing. The process is simple:
- Ask a question
- Make sure you have permission to use the experts' answers
- Compile answers into content, with attribution
- Notify your experts when the article is published
- Watch the links, Tweets, and Facebook shares roll in
It's incredibly easy to use HARO or LinkedIn Groups to pose a question to experts, which can easily be converted into a blog titled something like "31 Experts Share Their Insight on Marketing." Perhaps best of all, these posts practically promote themselves.
3. Reward Contributors
There's a lot of reward in creating content. Your on-staff experts who contribute to your blog and social media could see an uptick in recognized thought leadership, speaking invitations, and more.
However, if your team has the resources to establish more immediate rewards for your staff contributors, it may be well-worth your time. Provide an Amazon or restaurant gift card whose contributions yield the most leads, traffic, or customers, to show that their hard work is appreciated.
4. Be Flexible With Roles
Realistically, some subject matter experts at your organization could be simply too busy to author 1-2 posts each month. However, marketer Meghan Mahoney highlights that there's room for different roles in your content workflow.
Even if your experts can't contribute writing, they may be able to infuse their expertise into some other component of your content marketing process, such as:
- Idea Generation
5. Play to People's Strengths
Maybe your engineering director is super brilliant, but a terrible writer. They know more about your product than anyone else, but their emails are almost indecipherable.
That's why content marketer Doug Kessler recommends that you play to people's strengths, stating "non-writers won't become writers overnight, but they might give a great interview." Perhaps your engineering director has a brilliant idea for an infographic. By allowing flexibility in how your subject matter experts create content, you may receive more submissions.
6. View Experts as Sources
Your colleagues, professional contacts, and peers? Pretend you're an investigative journalist, and they're your sources. Pawan Deshpande, CEO of Curata, believes that viewing your experts as content creators isn't always the most effective approach.
Your super-knowledgeable boss may not always have time to write the "shell" of a blog post, but he certainly has time to answer a basic question. Piecing together quotations and opinions from experts can add authority and interest to your content.
7. Use Quora
Do you need someone with niche - and I mean REALLY niche - expertise? If your LinkedIn searches are proving fruitless, marketing manager Dustin Christensen recommends taking to Quora, a popular question-and-answer forum.
Becoming an active Quora user won't only drive traffic to you own blog, it can allow you to connect with super-smart subject matter experts who just might be down to be quoted or featured in an interview. Christensen has even found that Quora research typically results in his company's "most engaging" content.
Some on-staff experts simply don't have time to create content. In a Twitter chat dialogue posted by Content Marketing World, in-the-trenches marketers acknowledged the value of ghostwriters - which can consist of people from your marketing team, freelance writers, or an agency.
Even the busiest bosses probably have time to submit a few insights on a monthly basis. A really talented writer can take these abstract sentences and thoughts, and polish them into incredibly relevant content to be published under your experts' names. In many cases, using ghostwriters can be a pragmatic solution to real-world problems.
To learn more about your options for sourcing ghostwriters, we recommend Content Marketing Services: Agency vs. Freelancer - Which is Best?
9. Foster Competition
Once you've educated your colleagues on the value of content marketing and thought-leadership, what if their contributions are lagging? Inbound marketer Chris Martin recommends fostering competition, by splitting your office into two teams and sponsoring a monthly traffic contest.
If these teams choose to contribute more than the minimum number of articles or promote their work heavily, that could increase their chances of winning a great prize at the end of the competition.
10. Establish an Idea Bucket
You know you've achieved what HubSpot calls a "content culture" when your on-staff experts are eagerly contributing ideas to your editorial calendar. Even if they don't have the time to create the posts, feedback can improve the relevance and variety of your content.
Make it easy for experts to throw ideas into the pot by creating a formal process for idea submission, like an "idea bucket." This could involve sending an email or Slack message to your content marketing manager, or it could be a shared Google spreadsheet or Evernote account.
11. Reach Out to Guest Bloggers
Do you keep up on your competitors' blogs? You definitely should be. As you read industry blogs and publications, keep your eyes peeled for prolific guest bloggers or subject matter experts who are heavily involved in authoring content for other blogs.
Drop these authors a note, with a polite invitation to author a post for your blog. Provided you've got positive authority and a strong professional reputation, there's a good chance they'll say yes.
Guest blogging is a sticky topic. It's definitely wise to avoid awkwardly-written or promotional content that doesn't add anything new to your niche. However, you shouldn't eschew guest-authored content that can offer value to your blog and audience.
12. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Content marketing managers are often pretty organized people. They have editorial calendars, key search phrases, and well, ideas about what they want their content to look like for the next quarter. However, this approach isn't always the smartest if you score a coveted interview time slot with a subject matter expert.
Manya Chylinski recommends that you close your interviews with a very open-ended question, which could include one of the following:
- Where do you see the industry headed?
- What should people be asking about this topic?
- What are some of the biggest risks facing the industry today?
By allowing your subject matter experts to speak their mind, you can gain some fascinating insight with the potential to dramatically reshape your content marketing strategy.
If your content marketing team is running at full capacity, rest assured. You may be able to increase your efficiency without sacrificing the quality of content. By figuring out how to leverage experts to help you create relevant, high-quality content marketing at a breakneck pace, you can improve your site's authority and marketing results.
Have you managed to create a content culture at your organization? How?