You can’t just hand us the keys to your marketing efforts and expect success.
We need you.
Of course, we need to talk about goals, sales hand offs, high-level strategy, and more; but I want to talk today about content. We need access to the industry expertise and customer knowledge you and your co-workers have between their ears – all that they know about the multifunction printers, network connectivity, document management services, and so on that you provide to your customers.
Before going further, I’ll point out that this was written during my time at Prospect Builder/Convergo. It is, however, an issue for all marketers — both agency and in-house. Marketers are great at the marketing thing; that’s our profession.
We aren’t often subject matter experts. To get into the details of content, extracting knowledge from the actual experts is crucial.
Here’s a cry for help to in-house experts’ time and attention. We need you.
OK, back to the blog . . .
I’m good at writing – better than most, worse than some. I’m even better at cutting through the clutter to identify what SHOULD be written about. What I sometimes lack is the in-depth knowledge of your industry.
I joke that I know enough about technology to be dangerous. And that’s true.
I’ve been an editor, community manager, writer, and, most recently, a marketer. The subject matter I’ve edited has been technology-related (enterprise content management to be exact). So I do know a lot about the value of information and how effective management and use of content leads to improved collaboration, effective records management and governance, better customer service, opportunity, insight, and the multitude of good things effective use of content brings to a business.
But, you would NOT want me trying to implement any type of IT-related system.
I’ve never been a copier sales rep; a service technician; a help desk person. (I’m shy and get nervous about talking to people I don’t know – I bought a Saturn so I wouldn’t have to negotiate a car price. I can’t fix much of anything – handful of thumbs on this guy. And I’m impatient with people asking stupid questions.)
Now, what I do have is the ability to research (I essentially have a history degree via my long-ago International Relations major). I know how to look at Google Analytics and other statistics and match your goals, your customers’ and potential customers’ interests, and nudge these folks into becoming copier sales leads.
My job is to help pull the examples and knowledge from the folks who really know what they’re doing. They know what they are talking about. I need access to that knowledge within your copier dealership to share that with your customers.
I know. You KNOW . . .
. . . if you know what I mean.
When it comes to working with us, this means we aren’t going to be self-sufficient. We need your input. Hell, we WANT your input.
But, I Can’t Write
I don’t know how often I’ve heard this from people who really know what they’re doing. Not everyone likes to write – there are days it drives me bonkers and the words, they have to be pried out – but we don’t need you to write.
We need you to talk to us.
I often think of a conversation I had with a gentleman I had wanted to contribute articles for years, but he always said, “but I don’t know what to write about.” For context, he had implemented and run a large document capture (among other things) for a large insurance provider. At AIIM (where I was editor), he had been a member for years, was on a variety of standards boards, had been on the association’s board, and had made a career of effectively managing information for his company.
I just told him, you don’t even know what you know and how useful that knowledge can be to people. You could write about: how do you staff for your mailroom automation, how do you decide on the mix of scanners, what was the decision-making process behind selection of the forms processing and repository software, how difficult was it to get the products to work together – and feed into your other systems, do you communicate ROI to your senior team – and how and if not, why not . . . you get the point. There were decisions and considerations he just made that he thought nothing of, but that anyone new to document imaging implementations would have found invaluable to know. (Unfortunately, I never could quite get him to commit to contributing).
You also don’t have to be a writer to wrte great content. You can read about that here: You Don’t Need to Be an Expert at Writing to Write Great Content.
But These Employees Are Busy
We hear that a lot.
- “My sales people need to be making calls and closing deals.”
- “My service reps need to be fixing equipment.”
- “My help desk staff are helping our customers.”
I get it.
We’re ALL busy. You make time for what’s important. Marketing and improving your company position – those things are important.
No one is SO busy that they can’t spend 30 minutes or an hour once a month (or once a quarter) answering questions that can then help your customers.
You say you want to grow your business.
Act like it.
Throwing more resources at cold calling, or emails, or whatever might feel good because that feels like “work” and you can see people doing it within the activity tracking dashboard of your CRM. If it’s ineffective, it is time wasted on busy work because “that’s the way we do things.”
Talking to a writer for an hour might feel or seem like a waste of time – until you see downloadable white papers, case studies, and blog posts written to target specific pain points your customers worry about. And those blogs and downloads attract traffic to your website. And leads as those Web visitors provide their email and other information to download those white papers. It’s a waste until you see customers using a FAQ to answer questions on their own. Simple questions, leaving your help desk staff a little less frazzled. More traffic. More leads. More net-new customers.
We see our clients as partners. We need to work together – and we enjoy it too. So, when we ask, talk to us. Help us help you.
Need help creating your content marketing strategy and/or content? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, reply below, or give me a call (or text, text is better, what with all the phone spam) at 301-275-7496.