Does this sound 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 and 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.
We see these situations all too often. Those who understand the power of content and 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.
The result 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 to start looking for stories within an organization:
1. Record Everything
Client calls, staff meetings, software demos, employee training, everything on Zoom — these are the times and places where key information and insights are being shared. Record this audio with your smartphone or the device you have handy. There are great online transcription tools you can use to grab audio from any mp4.
2. 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 or online messages. They are answering questions, giving instructions, asking for and 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.
3. 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.
Yes, 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.
Kristy Guthrie is the Founder and Principal Strategist of Bright Light Content where she uses her flair for strategy, and for life, to bring out the best in brands and people.