Find a way to work with subject matter experts – or face content mediocrity

Paul Geraghty

The promise of inbound marketing powered by great content is highly compelling. Attract inbound prospects that you can continue to educate, convert into leads and revenue, and do it at a lower cost than outbound. So what’s the catch?

Prospects are looking for information that helps them understand a topic and the challenges they may face. To be successful, marketing teams must create a wealth of explanatory and ‘how to’ types of information and materials so they can continuously publish new content to attract the attention of potential buyers.

“Just hire a writer who knows the industry”

Simply hiring a writer to create content, even one who knows the industry, simply won’t cut it. Generating volumes of either high level and/or recycled content that doesn’t speak directly to the challenges faced by the people you want to engage won’t produce Inbound results.

Don’t get me wrong, we need good writers, but they aren’t a panacea for uncovering the specific challenges that customers and prospect face – particularly in segments such as capital markets.

“Get the subject matter expert in a room and jot down their thoughts”

The next piece of well-meaning advice acknowledges the pivotal role of subject matter experts (SMEs). The key to success is absolutely about getting customer insights from inside the heads of the subject matter experts in your firm.

However grabbing them for a 30 minute meeting and furiously jotting down a stream of consciousness from them is usually a recipe for disaster – both in terms of content quality and the buy-in you get from the expert for the final results.

Use a structured process for engaging subject matter experts

SMEs such as product managers and experienced sales people are busy and sometimes impatient people – so putting in place a structured and repeatable process to get input from them in a fast and efficient a way is crucial.

Of course, there’s more to developing great content than just getting the right input from SMEs, but without their input and buy-in your content program is doomed to mediocrity.

What best practices can you recommend?

This Introduction to Inbound Marketing provides practical tips for creating great content in conjunction with Subject Matter Experts.

Paul Geraghty

Paul specializes in uncovering customer insights and developing propositions and messaging. He has over 20 years of experience in Capital Markets, and leads the Capital Markets Practice at BPM Works. Paul’s career includes VP Marketing Americas at Thomson Reuters and Product Manager at Reuters.