There is so much bad, boring or just plain unhelpful content on the internet. Great content informs its audience. It entertains. It delivers a unique point of view. Therefore, fighting against this content mediocrity in your content marketing strategy matters.
People remember stories up to 22x more than facts alone, so it’s smart for every business to focus on creating and distributing the stories that make future customers sit up and take notice. When you can create something that makes the reader stop what they’re doing—a social media post, paid advertising campaign or thought leadership article—you can inspire them to think a little deeper, which builds trust with your brand.
Leverage your thought leaders
You have smart people at your company. But they’re busy and they’re probably not writers. As a content marketer, you are the conduit to transmit their knowledge, i.e. the knowledge that your company has, to the marketplace. This process starts with taking note of the subject matter experts around you and gleaning as much of their insight as possible to fuel your content marketing.
One of the surest ways to create more compelling content is to dig deeper and ask great questions. Ask a lot of questions, because the most impactful content is informed content. Informed content is based on accurate and reliable information supported by thorough research, data and anecdotes. It means that the content provides accurate, up-to-date and trustworthy information on a topic.
Your audience always has more to learn. It behooves your company to be the one to teach them. Here’s a framework to begin to hone your interviewing skills.
Do your research
If this is your first time working with a particular subject matter expert, find as much information about them as possible. Search their LinkedIn profile and read about them on the company website. It’s important to understand their background so that you can get to the essential aspects of your interview from the outset, instead of spending time asking about how they came to be an expert in their field.
Ask forward-facing questions
Conducting a great interview requires asking questions that focus on the present and future—showing that your perspective and focus is not on the sidewalk in front of you, but on the horizon. This requires thinking about the interview before the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask your expert, “Now what?”
Ask dumb questions; they may save your content
You’re not expected to know everything, at least not by reasonable people. And the audience you’re creating content for doesn’t know everything either.
As a content marketer, you understand the language and vocabulary of your industry, but ask your expert for clarification when you don’t quite “get it.” It will save you so much time crafting a campaign or understanding a new product. If you’re confused, resist the urge to move on to the next question. Remember: You’re trying to build a brand reputation by giving your audience expertise and insight they can’t get anywhere else.
If you can’t get to the heart of what your audience needs from your content, you can’t convert.
You’re human—act like it
We, and many other marketers, have written about the best uses for ChatGPT. It can be super helpful in supporting the work but not doing the work for you. And that’s a good thing. Your content and your strategy should feel human and so should any interview you do or project you work on.
You never know what exciting nuggets you may uncover (and be able to use in your content) by asking questions about a person’s favorite book or what three items they would want to have if they were stranded on a desert island. As Stephen King said in his book On Writing (a scary way to start a sentence giving advice about content marketing, I know), “Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.” The more personality you can take away from your experts (whether it’s their passion or how they talk about their products), the more you can shape your brand personality to speak more directly to your buyers.
Even though it’s a cliche—stay curious. Being curious by asking questions that aren’t on the agenda can fuel your current assignment, whatever it may be, as well as future content. Coming to an interview prepared is the foundation for creating content that lands with your audience—which can turn into leads, conversions and new business opportunities.