It’s About Time: Six Tried-and-True Ways to Extract Content from Your SMEs

Creating content is one of the tasks that organizational leaders need to accomplish, but they rarely find the time.

Time is our most scarce resource. We are all guilty of stating that it is not a priority, which is exactly what makes capturing content ideas from in-house managers and experts a major challenge for almost all marketing departments.

According to a survey by Harvard Business School, business leaders work an average of 9.7 hours a day, an average of 79% on weekends and 70% during holidays. Up to 72% of working time is spent on meetings and 32% of meetings last an hour (38% is even more).

That said, it is difficult for CMOs and corporate content teams to gain knowledge from their experts, even if they appreciate their efforts, and it is almost impossible!

For many years, I have been looking for in-house marketing teams that strive to develop original, high-quality content specific to their organization, written by their leaders, and targeted at their customers. CMOS and content teams often resort to appeals (“I’m taking you to lunch!”) Or threats (“our customers are desperate for guidance!”) Even posting to a blog.

The consequence of such coercion is something like this: The CEO, product manager, or employee at the PPE level burns the midnight oil after resting his “ real job ”, only to arrive at the CMO table in the morning with pages and pages of prose and inconsistent flow of consciousness.

Does that sound familiar?

With so much technology at our fingertips and better communication and transparency than ever before, our marketing teams can and should do better. We can find a way to regularly produce quality content streams written by specialized internal sources.

Here are six proven ways to get content from your managers and in-house experts.

  1. Abstract day

Depending on the size of your organization and the amount of content you need to generate, Abstract Day is one of the most effective methods for extracting content from your experts (PMI).

Think of it as a quick date. Choose a day and schedule in-house specialists every 30 minutes. During their time interval, experts go to a conference room – or jump into an ongoing Zoom meeting – to give an idea of   the content they have or to make themselves available for an interview on their subject, problem/challenge. , business innovation, or other relevant news. Gather expert best practices, a timely ride, and any other information needed to finally write the post or article during the interview. Repeat monthly, every six months, at the frequency that is best for you.

Tip: The Abstract Day method is most successful when the result (article overview, blog, white paper) is emailed to management for approval before publication. Give SMEs full rights to make changes (of course, by following the review, so you can see). Advise SMEs in advance when they register for Abstract Day, so there is no fear.

  1. Adaptive reuse

Take a PowerPoint of a sales or customer offer for a small and medium-sized business. Turn it into a post or article. Submit your content to the expert for approval. Request reviews through the audit trail and publish.

  1. Calls have already been scheduled

Your in-house experts and executive team are very likely to change all the time to call customers, prospects, or even news or commercial media. Call or join them for a presentation/sale where they are likely to deliver and capture the best content for the customer!

  1. Research

Do you have a subject in mind? Do the necessary basic research. Find out what your competitors have to say on the subject and send your SME a list of five specific questions that highlight your organization’s points of view, best practices, or suggestions. Just schedule 15 minutes with the right specialist and write the content.

  1. The voting note

Present the voice note to the manager or specialist who cannot disturb you or your team for even 15 minutes. (This idea comes from my friend John Bonini, marketing director at Databox and author of the blog Some Good Content.) Send an email to your small and medium-sized businesses with the same five specific questions from point 4 and ask them to post their answers while on the train or in the car, to or from the office. Here it is! You have your original ideas – in your own words.

  1. Writing, lunch, and learning workshop

For adventurous executives who want to write their own content, but are not sure how, or if they need more guidance, offer a 30-minute seminar on food and writing (the latter is essential!).

Ask your freelance writers or in-house content team to give you an intensive course (using visual aids to keep them awake) on how to write articles for trade magazines or blog posts. Describe how the content of a 2021 university newspaper differs (the last time many of them wrote something) and let them start a draft of the article/article around your idea.

Provide examples of content that your company has posted in the past two years; outline mutual success and ROI.

Tip: writing seminar is the most effective when it is followed by a 15 to 30-minute session in which the expert can share an outline with you or your team before writing begins. This avoids having to send drivers painfully after they’ve spent all their time writing – or getting stuck posting something that makes you cringe.