What are your best tips for pulling information out of subject matter experts (SMEs)?
One thing I notice in lots of content managers is the hesitancy to ask follow up questions for when experts explain something in a really technical way (that literally no one but them understands). I think there's sometimes a fear of "looking dumb" when really, the job of the content manager is to distill the expert's knowledge in a simple way that anyone (even someone "dumb" about the specifics of that industry) can understand.
What are the best practices you've incorporated into your process to get the experts to actually share their expertise with you in an efficient way?
I've had multiple clients tell me that by the questions that I ask because I'm confused reading their content they've felt empowered to have conversations and push back on internal experts to clarify things. Writers have told me they've learned more about that thing they sell in 3 months than in years of working at their company.
Another thing that will help grease the wheels is by setting clear guidelines for the interview. Go in prepared. Send questions in advance. Stick to the time limit that you scheduled the interview for. Tell them who the exact audience is for the article (so that you're empowered to ask follow up questions.) This helps the SME feel like you're respecting their time and they'll be more cooperative.
Brandon Ruffner Wow, I absolutely love your idea! I'm the Marketing Manager at our swimming pool construction company and I'm definitely passing your post over to my Content Manager. We've been working on organization and prioritization in order to improve the efficiency of our content strategy and would love to collaborate with like-minded folks like you. My email is email@example.com, feel free to shoot me a message and we can set something up! 😁
Hey Chris Greene , long time no see! Check out this course from Liz, then head to the resources section, there are a number of job description templates, resources, etc that should help!
Connor DeLaney Gosh this is such a great conversation. In Zoe's case, our brand is still relatively new, so we really want to position ourselves as a helpful guide. We see offering free, targeted resources — in addition to our blogs — as a great way to cultivate that relationship and be seen as a trusted resource.That said, we're just getting more downloadable PDFs off the ground — and, of course, LOTS of other marketing companies are already doing this, so we have some heavy competition! Time and testing will tell how successful we are. Since we're heavily focused on the education approach, though, that makes it a good match for us.
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Sam Roettgen Excellent, feel free to reach out with anything else you need in another post 🥳 We have many members that benefit from questions that are asked 🙌🏻. We appreciate you! 🙏🏻
And as someone who has done a great job of asking enough questions until he "became the expert" himself, Matt Carter , can you share what's helped you in making your interviews with Bill more efficient over time?