“Are you sure your writers will be able to use the language our customers use?”
“But you don’t know anything about our personas! How can you write for us?”
“We’re not sure you know our industry well enough.”
Are you nervous about hiring an inbound marketing agency because you think the agency won’t understand your industry? If so, you’re not alone—in fact, it’s probably one of the most-asked questions we get at Nectafy.
To answer that question, I’m going to let you know what we’ve put in place at Nectafy to learn the ins and outs of your industry. But before I do that, let’s make one thing very clear:
We don’t know your industry like you do. And that’s a good thing!
That’s right—we’re not the subject matter experts on your industry—you are. You hire us to listen to your expertise and craft it into strategic, helpful content that is meaningful to your ideal customer.
Because of that, there are a couple things you need to know before you start working with us:
1. Working with us requires a lot of conversation.
We (writers) interview all of our inbound clients weekly to learn about any given topic. Access to you and the experts on your team is a huge advantage, and we need your buy-in to make it happen. There’s a time investment here, but we think it pays dividends.
2. Our lack of knowledge about a given topic can actually benefit you.
We write about a ton of different industries—in the morning we can be interviewing an engineer about radio hardware, and after lunch we may be interviewing someone about human resources. But our expertise isn’t in these industries—it’s in inbound marketing. Because we’re experts in inbound, we can translate the information we get into content that makes sense for the reader—no matter what that information is about.
Sometimes, in an interview, I may not understand what’s being said. The thing is, if I’m not clear about it, there’s a good chance the potential customer is a little confused about the subject, too. Identifying these things helps us learn what topics may need to be explained better on your website, which, in turn, makes it easier for your clients to understand how you can help them.
How Our Writers Learn Your Industry
Here’s a look at the process we go through each time we partner with a new client to learn their industry:
1. We have a kickoff meeting. The kickoff meeting gets everyone—the client and the agency—on the same page about a direction for the new account. The writer(s) are included in this meeting so we can become familiar with the client and the industry and start working quickly.
2. We gather as much information as we can. Next we ask the new client to fill out a questionnaire and a writing style quiz.
The company questionnaire and writing style quiz are our launching points into a client’s company and industry. From them, we learn not only pertinent business and industry information, but also the client’s current writing preferences (style, tone, etc.) and what they want to sound like. We created the questionnaire and quiz as a way to quickly understand our clients’ preferences so we know from the outset “how” to write for the client.
In addition, we use the resources the client gives us—industry publications, blogs, websites, books, collateral, etc. and do our own research to get up to speed.
3. We ask you to talk to us like middle schoolers. In our interviews, some of the questions we ask are pretty, well, simple. In fact, we often ask our clients to explain things to us like they would a middle schooler. This isn’t because we can’t understand—it’s because we’ve found that this little trick helps cut away at meaningless jargon and really gets to the point of what we’re talking about.
4. We ask a lot of questions. After we’ve had time to review the company questionnaire and the writing style quiz, we’ll either plan a follow-up meeting to discuss it or jump right into content creation interviews. At this point, our marketing lead will strategize what keywords and topics are opportunities, and we’ll begin to target those. Where we begin may seem slow or simple to you, but trust us—it’s for a reason.
Naturally, we have a lot of questions—especially at the beginning of a client relationship. In addition to asking a lot of questions, we also work really hard to listen. We record our meetings with you so we can refer to the information you’ve given us.
5. We let your expertise guide our conversations. Know that we aren't stuck on an outline so intensely that we can't adjust it based on your suggestions. For example, we’re happy to change headlines and topics based on your feedback.
Don’t be concerned that we don’t know everything about your company and your industry.
What you should be concerned about is that we know everything about what we do. After all, you know about your industry—we are experts in conveying your knowledge in the best way possible. With your expertise in your industry and our expertise in inbound, we can provide valuable, lead-generating content.