3 Painless Ways to Extract Content from Technical Experts
October 19, 2016
If you've a marketer responsible for website content (on top of proposals, presentations and all the other hats marketing wears), you really don't have time to chase people down. Trust me. I know it can be difficult to get content out of your technical experts, particularly when it comes to blogs, papers, ebooks, or papers.
As an AEC marketer without much interaction with clients, I struggled finding topics that resonated with them. Therefore, I had to count on our project team and business developers for information. However, I was met with "I'm too busy" and "I don't know what to write about" constantly.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally found what works. Here are three ways I extract quality, applicable content from the minds of very busy and often unenthusiastic architects, engineers and constructors without tons of effort.
1. Educate Your Team on How Exactly Digital Marketing Works
Most times, the issue is not that your technical team doesn't have anything to write, it's that they don't understand how spending their time on content will help your company generate sales qualified leads (SQLs).
That's why I strongly recommend explaining to them WHY and HOW content will help secure business in the future before asking for content. Once they understand that, they tend to tap into information that could help you. For example, explain how clients are typically between 60 – 90% of the way through their decision making journey before they make contact. They, then realize how solution-based content accessible online can influence their prospects' decision making before that late touchpoint.
In the AEC industry, the less fluff in marketing, the better. Be sure to share how digital marketing allows you to measure activities like never before. Once your team understands digital marketing at a high level, it is more feasible to them. This education session, we call Digital Marketing 101, typically follows with several visits to your office about topics. Painless.
2. Attend Project Meetings (with Content in Mind)
I get it. Marketers and business developers are busy people. There is no way you can attend every project meeting, but when you can, you should. I've found several content diamonds in project meetings completely unexpected.
For example, one of our projects had plenty of change orders because the scope had changed several times. From that meeting, I was able to develop a blog about how clients can navigate change orders and how to develop the project scope more effectively. The goal is to identify project challenges and solutions and use them to help other prospective clients through content. Guess who looks like the thought leader now?
As you attend more project meetings, you will see similarities between clients. What challenges do they have in common? Is it something you can help those clients solve? Write solution based content from these findings.
Ultimately, the more knowledgable the client, the better it is for your team in the long run.
3. Host Content Generation Workshop
What if I told you that you could get a year's worth of content topics in a matter of two hours? With the right participants, it's possible. I have proof!
A content generation workshop is easily the most effective, painless way to extract content from your subject matter experts (SMEs). Here's how it works:
We always start with presenting why content is important and how it will be used to generate business in a 10-15 minute lecture (the refresher or short version of Digital Marketing 101). Once the participants understand the why, we separate the group into small teams to collaboratively identify the top three client persona types, their pain points and their company's services that alleviate those pains. After identifying all of these, we start brainstorming content ideas that solve the pain points of the targeted personas.
It has yet to disappoint. It allows the marketer to ask specific questions to assigned technical experts, research a more targeted subject and organize topics in a content calendar for the year.
I hope you found these content extraction tips as painless as they are to implement. If your team is interested in DG Marketing presenting a Digital Marketing 101, a free* in-person presentation or an in-person Content Generation Workshop, please contact us!