Bill hates writing. Ask Bill to write a blog post and get ready for a hundred excuses (or a lot of unanswered emails). The thing is, Bill is a really smart guy. An industry leader even. We all have a Bill at our company.
So how do you get the wealth of information Bill possesses from his brain onto your blog? You have to get creative and help Bill create content in the ways that he feels comfortable doing it. Here’s how…
If Bill knows a lot about a particular topic, it’s probably because he’s passionate about it. If he’s passionate about it, he’s likely to talk about it. A lot.
Asking A Question Is Usually A Good Starting Point
By asking a question, you’ve now forced Bill to think about the topic and explain it.
From my experience, most experts like to share information on the topic they’re knowledgeable about — many feel more comfortable talking about the information than writing about it. You’re likely to be surprised by the information they offer. A five-minute conversation could easily become not only topic ideation, but a first draft.
Turn your conversation into an informal interview. Keep asking questions; get him to elaborate. Ask Bill to dive deeper into each part of the process he’s describing.
After taking notes on the nitty-gritty, get him to explain how this fits into the bigger picture — how it aligns with the mission and goals of the company.
Ask how it benefits the company’s customers or stakeholders. Bill knows what he does is valuable. Have him tell you why.
You know what’s easier than writing? Pressing record on a camera (or phone). Explain to Bill that your audience wants to hear from him, and wants to see his face. Set up a camera, and have Bill talk to it just like he’s talking to you.
Have him list the steps of his process or describe his area of expertise in easy-to-understand soundbites. Let Bill share his wealth of knowledge. Depending on his area of expertise, maybe he can describe “the next big thing in Web development” or provide “five tips for optimizing your landing page,” or “creative ways to reward employees” or even, “how to manage client expectations while keeping them happy.”
Now post Bill’s video on YouTube and embed it on your site – optimized, of course. Share it across all of your social media channels. Use a transcription service so there is a text version as well. Highlight the best parts.
Let’s say your business specializes in marketing for financial firms, and Bill is your CFO. Get him on video explaining what the fiscal cliff (or any other current hot topic) really means for micro-businesses. Ask him to make it unique; to offer information that hasn’t been covered extensively.
Summarize the best parts into a pitch. Share it with finance reporters and industry bloggers. You’ve given reporters a story lead without them having to do extensive research; their audience will appreciate the free education. Bill feels good because he now realizes people benefit when he shares his knowledge; and you just got your brand’s name in front of a new audience.
Now Let’s Go A Step Further
Take the audio from Bill’s video and turn it into a podcast. Get it on iTunes and PodOmatic. Give it an attention-grabbing title and be specific in the description — let your listeners know what they’ll learn by listening to the podcast.
Don’t falsely advertise. Be realistic. After all, you want them coming back to you for more information, right? Which leads to an important point — include the company website in the description and have Bill provide it at the end of the podcast.
For video, provide it in a closing slide. This part of the process is best if you have a blog that is informative and educational. You’ll turn your audience off if you come off as “too salesy.”
Now that your video and/or podcast is complete, you have material to link to in future blog posts on related topics.
Bill is very active in both his local community and in his industry. He sits on several boards, he attends charity events, and has been to more luncheons in the last year than you’ve been to in your lifetime. And those trophies on his shelf? They’re not fakes.
We already know that once you get Bill talking, he won’t stop. Ask him about his experience with these industry and community organizations. Maybe you have more than one Bill at your company (you probably do). Tell the story about what your company and your people do to give back to the community.
Take Advantage Of Events And Special Occasions
Next time Bill goes to an event for his industry organization, have him interview one of his peers about a hot topic. Not going to happen? Send him an email asking him how the event went with a couple of questions. Boom. Blog post = done.
The group gets free coverage, Bill feels good because he’s done his part in helping to promote both his volunteer organization and his company.
He’s multi-faceted. He’s a finance master by day, and a photographer and videographer by night.
Ask him to take photos around the office or work events to include in your blog posts, on your website, and on your social media channels. People love to look at images, especially when they tell a story or give a feel for a company’s culture. Same with video.
By involving your “non-writers” in the content creation process, you’re keeping up-to-date on what your team members are up to. You’re also educating the rest of the staff on what’s going on across departments. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
By featuring or talking about other members of your staff, you’re also showing your audience that your company knows how to work together. You are truly weaving content marketing into your company’s DNA.
Next time you’re at the water cooler (or on IM) with Bill, strike up a conversation. Be engaging. Pry the information from him — with a smile. You’ll be amazed at what can come from it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.