As Marketing teams know only too well, getting Subject Matter Experts to help produce content has always been a challenge. The first major hurdle is completing the interview that’s necessary to mine all the great thoughts SMEs have inside their heads—valuable information that can impress prospects and prompt customers to want to do more business with you.
Rightly so, SMEs need to focus their time on customer situations—whether it’s helping to close deals, design solutions, or provide technical support. But for the long-term health of the company, SMEs should also spend some time helping Marketing communicate the company’s expertise to prospects and customers. That’s what brings in more revenue down the road!
So how does Marketing get more time from SMEs?
The key is to win buy-in and receive ongoing support from senior management outside of the Marketing department—including those who the SMEs report to. Company executives need to champion the value of communicating SME expertise and advocate on your behalf in convincing the SMEs to spend time with content generators. You will likely need the head of Sales to help you in this endeavor.
Convincing SMEs and their managers to contribute to written pieces may also require some sort of incentive program. Bonuses or spiffs could be based on how many marketing pieces SMEs contribute to. Perhaps more effectively, however, consider promoting the concept that publishing content is a great way for SMEs to further their careers and bolster their industry reputation.
How so? White papers and articles with an SME’s name as the author will go a long way toward turning them into true experts. Even if a piece is published without naming the author, the SME can still refer to it in their portfolio.
This concept may be foreign to your SMEs, so it might take some time to sell. But just think of how much a portfolio of written pieces will help an SME the next time they go through a job performance review. By pointing to all the content that they have helped produce—and which is helping communicate the company’s expertise—SMEs will be in a stronger position to earn a raise.
How’s that for an incentive!
If you have questions about getting SMEs to help your Marketing team produce content or need help writing about your customer successes, I would be glad to help. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.