At SEO.com, our Holy Grail of content marketing is to get our clients to actually start blogging. See, it’s our clients who are the true experts on their industry, and the content they write themselves is often the most relevant and likely to attract readers, who then convert to customers. But our clients are very introverted about their expertise, at least when it comes to sharing their knowledge online. Our content marketing initiatives include a lot more than just writing blog posts, but having our clients participating in their campaigns by getting their own experts to write is ideal. Today, I want to make the case for really getting serious about having the experts just over your cubicle wall to start becoming blogging extroverts. Here are 3 reasons to get your in-house experts blogging today:
Experts Write Authentic Content Effortlessly
You can’t fake expertise; you either have it or you don’t, and that comes through in your writing. Not only does an expert have a vast reservoir of experience in a broad range of topics within her discipline, but she’s able to dig into the deeper details of the subject. Deep content has a richer keyword-makeup, and it’s information-dense, which makes readers who care about the subject want to share it. And even though some really really smart people in say, the IT field, may have trouble relating their particular expertise to lay people like this humble English major, they still fill blog posts with information-rich, detailed content that appeals to other experts in their field.
Experts that blog naturally do the things to attract people to your blog, the types of things online marketers are constantly trying to reverse-engineer, like tapping relevant social media niches, engaging in industry-specific forums and other communities, and linking to relevant content from key influencers. Writers and marketers like me, even with all our experience, have to work really hard to get into that kind of headspace when writing on new topics because we aren’t swimming in that particular pond 24/7. Experts are in that headspace all the time, and it makes them the ideal content creators for their companies.
It’s that headspace that we try to get into with SEO.com’s clients. By interviewing the subject-matter experts at a company, we get insight and understanding of the industry we are working with. Then we can target our content marketing efforts to the audience that our client’s want to be addressing. Our client’s want to spend their time doing business more than anything, and while their internal blogging efforts are often hyper-relevant and influential, they aren’t able to do the range of content creation and marketing that we can. If we want to write more like their experts do (and we do), we have to do our homework.
Professionals Know What’s Trending
It’s an expert’s job to know what’s happening right now in his field and how it’s changing. Trending topics are terrific for driving traffic to your site, partly because people are interested about them and talking about them right now. But they’re also good traffic drivers because the topic space that they inhabit online hasn’t been oversaturated with derivative copycats yet. Your experts give you a competitive advantage in online content spaces where few other players may be competing yet! You may have a real opportunity to net a big chunk of the audience if you’re getting there first.
If all your experts did was write blog posts on new developments in the industry and how your company is responding with new products and services, you could probably fill a pretty decent blog publishing schedule. The value of having people writing for you that have their finger on the pulse of your customers and competitors is in valuable.
Your Experts Are Already Connected
The more specialized your industry, the smaller the number of competitors, but there’s also a much smaller professional community with which to interact. If your experts are already active, they’ve likely built up professional networks with some of the major influencers (heck, they may be the major influencers) in their field, and likely already have connections with them. They are already steeped in the insider conversation of industry elites, and that can turn into valuable, sharable content if you can get them writing. That conversation is ongoing in social media, and you can even use your expert’s personal networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and elsewhere to help promote their own writing.
Using the influencers you have in your own company (We have people like Greg Shuey.) is a way to harness their reputation and knowledge of the wider community to help spread the content that they create. It’s a mutually beneficial cycle. Your company benefits from the traffic and truly authoritative links these superstars attract, and they benefit from your company’s content marketing and SEO initiatives in promoting them as reputable experts.
How To Get Your Experts Writing
There’s a reason that we often struggle helping our clients building a company culture of blogging from scratch; there are a lot of road-blocks to getting those experts to blog. For one thing, their time is highly valuable, and they may not feel they can fit writing for the company into their busy schedule, even if you try to provide some incentives. That’s why I think that—even more than offering gift cards or other prizes as incentives to blog—you should find ways to build the time to blog into their schedule, possibly even reducing their work-load to make room. And even though a company blog is only one facet of content marketing that we help our clients set up, it can really be a good resource for the reasons I’ve already stated.
Some of them may already be writing on their own. In fact, the experts in your company may already have a following in the online spaces where they participate. Get them to shift some of that energy to your company blog, and use “rel=author” to help connect the content on your blog to the authority they already have. The author tag helps connect content to the expert’s Google+ profile, which can show up beneath search result links to their writing, increasing the credibility of the link and encouraging more people to click through and read.
The best way to inspire others to write is to set a good example. Sing the praises of those who jump on the bandwagon and give them feedback to help them improve. If you start blogging and extolling the virtues of authorship to your colleagues, those already inclined to get themselves out there are more likely to try it. And those who may not be as confident in their writing ability might simply need a little nudge to get started and refine their skills.
Most of all, remember that building up a culture of blogging takes time. You’re not going to reach critical mass overnight, but you will start to build up your company blog over time. It’s definitely worth the time and effort to build such a culture, as you’ll see from the traffic it begins to drive and the outlet that it becomes for your company to participate in conversations with customers, the industry at large, and even competitors.