In thirty plus years of professional writing, I’ve learned that there is a huge difference between a subject matter expert and a writer.
The best content involves both.
You are the subject matter expert
As a business owner, you’ll know your market, your products and services. You’ll understand your sector, your customers, your opportunities and challenges. That makes you a subject matter expert. Hurrah!
If you run an arts organisation, you understand your artists, your punters, your stakeholders and your funders. You’ll know where it’s at, dig? [can you tell I’ve been hanging out with that genre of artists commonly known as jazz musicians?]
Expert at business does not equal expert at writing
Being an expert on your organisation is not the same as knowing how to write about it, particularly if your aim is to generate leads, attract business or consolidate your brand.
For example, I know how to hammer a nail, but that doesn’t mean I’m good at building. I leave building to builders.
And when it comes to writing, it makes sense to get a writer in da house.
What the writer brings to the table
Most of the work I do on web content for clients involves applying writing skill and web content know-how to their excellent first draft. Taking their raw material, I address:
- word choice
- point of view
- images and other media.
On the technical side of things, I also pay attention to how people will find your website. I’ll think about your structure, links, metadata, site accessibility, useability and all the other little things that Google likes to see done properly.
What you (the subject matter expert) contribute
Guess what the subject matter expert brings to the table. Did you say ‘Subject matter expertise’? Top marks if you did.
You should also bring:
- some idea of the customer problem that your content will solve ‘People always ask me how to configure their swizzlestick widget. It’s really hard for most people to understand.’
- something you want to achieve ‘I want to be able to link people quickly to this post so I don’t have to explain over and over and over again how to configure their swizzlestick widget.’
- what you want your reader to do (also known as a call to action) ‘I want people to purchase my eBook.’
- some idea of what people call the thing you want the blog post on. What words will they search in Google?
- a rough draft, which could be bullet points, or a full blown essay.