Developing great content is quite a daunting task for some.
Firstly, it is time consuming. In most cases it takes research, idea construction, elaboration, review, feedback, updates, diagrams and images.
It is like studying at university or school where it is necessary to write assignments of a restricted length about a specific theme. The key requirement is to stick to the topic, try and convey a message from start to finish.
The article is supposed to have an introduction, a body and a conclusion right?
This article is not about the technical aspect of article writing, instead it discusses what to make content about and the inspiration of where the origin of content can be derived.
You will find that people are often afraid what to write about.
Getting people to contribute content from within the organisation is challenging. People often feel they are not qualified to contribute because they don’t perceive themselves as experts.
As in most industrial organisations, there are two clear areas – a sales and a technical team.
The sales team is trying to acquire new or keep existing customers. They are often the customer facing point of contact.
The technical team are the producers or specific expertise in the company that either is the product or they have the know-how to configure, install and maintain. Technical teams are often also customer facing.
By far, the most interesting articles are those that share expertise that has been accumulated through experience.
Potential customers associate expertise with the creation of content.
When we study, we reference text books by authors in submissions of work. The reason we do that is to demonstrate learning to the person marking the paper.
So, if we are already conditioned to associate expertise with text and written papers, then customers are going to associate value with what you written if it’s taken from real world experience.
But, when is someone an expert?
We are all experts in some way because we have specific knowledge.
If you know more than 99% of the rest of the population about a particular topic then you are in effect an expert on the topic. Therefore, in most people’s eyes you are qualified to advise or develop content about the topic. It is somewhat a generalisation although I’m sure you get my point.
Sales teams get into a routine of engaging a customer.
Good consultants tend to lead a decision maker from a prospect to a customer via a process of education and engagement. Sometimes the duration of time between the initial contact and the sale is quite long. By having pre-written content prepared, you can often reduce the level of engagement required whilst increasing the likelihood of winning the business.
How do you do that?
There must be times as a salesperson when you go into a meeting and repeat the same pitch over and over.
The same message is communicated to the customer because that message is usually what differentiates the product or service from a competing one.
You probably also explain the reasons why a potential customer should deal with your company over another. The point is that the content of these discussions is often repeated.
The theme of your sales content should cover topics such as why someone would use your product or service or describe how your product or service helps solve a fundamental challenge, what differentiates it from a competitive offering or a list of factors a potential buyer might consider during their investigative phase of the buying cycle.
How about writing technical assisting content?
How-to videos, troubleshooting, tips and tricks are all great technical content that are excellent for engaging your audience.
They can greatly reduce the time required to support customers, in addition to providing valuable pre sales information.
People like to self-educate themselves and by having meaningful technical content that is already prepared, it will help demonstrate what a well organised person, team or company you have.
It’s important to know how to use your content.
If you work in a customer facing industrial company, you will recognise that you spend plenty of time educating and explaining what you do, why you do something or some specific technical knowledge transfer.
Often during the engagement process, it’s normal to ask whether the customer understands everything or if they have any questions.
It’s amazing how often the answer to this is no.
And, probably the reason for that is that no one likes to feel stupid, or admit they didn’t understand and it’s easier for them to say yes, they understood everything.
After the engagement, it’s great to to follow up with an email with links to articles you have written about the topic which gives the customer a chance to digest information in their own time.
It also helps in making you an expert in their mind.♦ End