One of the key components to a successful content creation plan is that you can't rely on the typical method—get a writer, send them out to do their stuff, and have them bring back wonderful material. It just doesn't work that way.
Your writers don't know what your in-house experts know about a topic. They're amazing writers perhaps, but they don't know what your experts know, and your experts may or may not be good writers. So the combination of a subject matter expert with a really good writer is unbeatable for creating growth content.
When we decided to write about subject matter expert processes, no one caught our attention more than our client ClearPoint Strategy. These guys absolutely kill it with subject matter experts. When we started working with them about five years ago, they had a couple thousand visits a month. They were doing great, but they really wanted to grow. Now, they're getting two million organic views annually with their content. But that doesn't just happen by accident. And it's not just because we're really good at writing and really good at optimizing for search engines and all of those wonderful technical things. It's about a strong partnership between Nectafy and ClearPoint—and the fact that they’ve nailed the subject matter expert process. So we wanted to talk to them and figure out: How exactly do they do it?
Here’s what ClearPoint’s founder, Ted Jackson, says about their content creation plan...
You [the Nectafy team] are helping us a lot with content on our website, but who's going to know more about strategy management, which is what our business is? Is it going to be me, who's been doing it for 20 years, or someone on your team, who's been working with us for three months or a year or even two years? We view ourselves as subject matter experts, and responsible for the content on our website. We look at your role as being awesome writers and awesome at search engine optimization, with high-quality content. So it's not just all the words that Google wants to see, but it's actually written in a really high-quality way.
When we first started working with you, we were five or six people total. Now we’re more than a 20-person organization and use five to seven subject matter experts.
Our marketing team is responsible for partnering with you on the content. They find subject matter experts in our organization—typically someone from the customer success team, maybe someone from marketing, maybe someone from sales. Sometimes the subject is very clearly in someone's wheelhouse, where they can easily talk about it. Sometimes it's a subject they might need to research a bit on Google.
Typically, someone on your end is working with someone on our end to look at the keywords that we're going to go after. The subject matter expert is given very clear direction on:
- what we're writing about
- what keywords we're trying to address
- how we're trying to come at it (the angle).
That subject matter expert will then write up an outline. I personally have a bulleted approach to doing this to keep me on track. Then, when I'm talking to a writer on your team, I can walk through that and breathe life into it.
When the written content comes back from Nectafy, it is approved by marketing and by me. I want to make sure that what we're putting on our website is high quality.
As a result of various people contributing to our blog, I'm proud of my team and they grow in stature and get more responsibility. We view being an SME on behalf of our firm as an honor, not a burden.
Whenever we publish a blog on our website, we have a zap from Zapier that sends the link to the blog out to the entire company, and everyone is expected to read that. Because everyone at ClearPoint is reading the blogs, SMEs are contributing to the knowledge base of our company. They are also helping our website hits grow.
So our content creation plan fits right into our wheelhouse—we don't need to worry about the process of writing great articles, but we do need to know the process of explaining something that we know is highly technical. That’s what the purpose of it all is, right? Not only knowing about the topic, but also understanding the purpose: Is it for customer support or for marketing? Those are two different things.
Nectafy has been really instrumental in helping us design a process that will be good for attracting people who are having certain problems, but don't know how to solve them. And when ClearPoint gives them answers, that just builds our credibility. It's really nice to see when you have a couple of pieces of content flowing down the marketing funnel—an awareness piece, a middle-of-the-funnel, and a bottom-of-the-funnel piece. When you get a prospect that way they're ready to buy your software, so this couldn't be a more important part of our business.
Design An Intentional SME Content Creation Plan
When you begin to put together your subject matter expert strategy, don't just leave it to chance. Think through how best to ensure that the right expert is talking about a topic that they know, and that they can explain it to someone who doesn't know that much about it. At Nectafy, we can help you get that process rolling—and help you create really amazing content as a result. Chat with Lance to learn more!