Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You’re a marketing person who’s been asked to create new content for your company. Unfortunately, you’re not a subject matter expert and the people and files you need access to in order to create anything close to compelling are too busy – or just plain disinterested – to help you out.
Or perhaps you’re an extremely busy leader or SME who has no time to write new content as requested, especially because you:
- Believe that enough sales content already exists
- Don’t see the connection between content & sales/engagement/goals – you just don’t see the value
- You hate writing… that blank screen is too ominous and your ideas are too ambitious
- You seriously just.don’t.have.the.time.
I see these situations all too often. Those who understand the power of content & storytelling for business building simply don’t have access to the needed information in order to do their jobs well. And those who hold the knowledge and stories can’t make the time to create content because, well, they’re busy. And they’re NOT content producers – they’re CEOs, engineers, doctors, coders, etc.
And so what my clients end up with is stalled, stale, uninspired marketing and ultimately content that lacks impact.
So, is there a better way? How can this get easier? Here are the 3 places I start looking for stories within an organization, that don’t:
- Record Everything
Client calls, staff meetings, software demos, employee training, these are the times and places where key information and insights are being shared. Record this audio with a dictaphone, your smartphone app (i just use my iPhone when I’m in person or GoToMeeting audio when we’re on a conference call).
This is the ultimate in multitasking as you know how transcripts of key people, processes, and problems being defined and discussed.
- Ask To See Their Sent Mail
The key people in your organization are typing out the kinds of content required for compelling storytelling and content marketing every day – in their emails. They are answering questions, giving instructions, asking & receiving important insights from customers, explaining key concepts, and more. Every. Single. Day. The sent box of your leaders, department heads, client services folks, engineers, product designers, customer service reps, and service delivery folks are a goldmine for content marketers and producers.
- Call Them
Set up a meeting with key individuals and ask them questions in an interview style. They don’t need to prepare, they don’t need to write anything down, they just need to talk to you. About the things they do everyday and are passionate about. Record the audio. (See #1). Boom. You’ll be surprised at how much information you can collect in 30 minutes in a well-structured and facilitated phone call.
And I know, they’re busy. Often realllllly busy. But these calls can happen when your subject is on the road, at the airport, waiting for an appt., anywhere.
Make it easy and fun. Set the expectation bar low. Don’t make it sound like it’s a pop-quiz, just a conversation. Because SMEs live in their world, they forget how much they know. They often forget that the basics are crucial for impactful communications but when you get them on the phone answering questions, they’re in their element.
It can really be as easy as 1-2-3 to collect the right inputs for your content creation needs. Always start with a smart content strategy so that you’re not wasting the time of these busy folks and to help continually show them the importance of content in your organization.