3 Tips for Turning Your Content Writers into Supply Chain Experts
Follow these steps to equip your content writers with all the institutional knowledge and background information they need to create top-quality content.
Content drives consumers to your website, convinces them of the quality of your products/services, and ultimately helps convert those leads into customers. So, it goes without saying, the people writing your content are pretty important to your business.
Some companies rely on various employees, who are known to be good writers, to create their content. These people often struggle to fit writing into their full-time job, or don’t have SEO- or marketing-writing expertise. And if your business needs someone to produce many different kinds of content — like blog posts, emails, reports, articles for industry publications, and other marketing collateral — some non-writers will struggle with the versatility necessary to create it all.
Given that content is the backbone of a content marketing program, hiring a professional writer is crucial. Some companies, however, are nervous about finding content writers who are fluent in the technical language of their business. Or, they’re worried about the time it will take to get someone up to speed on all the ins and outs of the company and industry.
But here’s the thing: Great writing can’t be taught, but subject matter can. And it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. In fact, here are some best practices for turning your content writers into supply chain experts.
3 steps to make content writers supply chain experts
1. Teach them what they don’t know.
It’s easy for a content writer to conduct his or her own research to learn about industry topics, trends, terminology, and other concrete facts and news. But it’s less likely they’ll pick up on all the things that go unsaid in industry media and resources. That’s where you can help.
Provide your writer with information on all the landscape’s inner-workings. Consider answering these questions:
- Who are the key players in this space and why? Who are the most respected voices, and who are otherwise people to watch?
- How does this space make money?
- Who is the target buyer — demographics, pain points, strengths and weaknesses, etc.?
- What ideas are considered old-fashioned or taboo and why?
- What ideas are commonly accepted? Which are starting to become more accepted?
- What regulations or governing principles are relevant in this space?
- How does a company in this space measure success?
- What other internal politics or tidbits about institutional history would be helpful for someone to know?
2. Give them a watch list.
This goes hand in hand with the previous step, but it’s worth elaborating on. You want the writer to know the key players in the space so s/he can become familiar with the content and media your prospects are consuming.
Provide your content writer with a list of the thought leaders in the industry and where they are active (blogs or LinkedIn Pulse, for example); your competitors and their business partners or clients; and industry publications or media outlets that professionals in your business and your clients read on a regular basis. Who are the space’s must-follows on Twitter? Are there podcasts or newsletters that everyone in your line of business subscribes to? Do all of your industry peers receive some kind of publication?
A good writer will glean a lot of information from studying these people, businesses, and publications. They will also understand where the bar is set, and thus be able to strive to achieve that or exceed it in terms of value and quality.
3. Share your data.
The most successful writing teams I’ve ever been a part of have been well informed about business performance. Though writing is largely a creative process, it’s important that writers understand how their contributions are affecting the organization as a whole — whether that’s good news or bad news. They will feel more invested in the success of your organization, for one, but also it will help them adjust what they’re doing to accommodate what’s working and to eliminate what’s not.
You don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of financials, but some general information about how the company is performing is helpful for general knowledge. Otherwise, provide your writers with a regular report on the metrics you use to analyze the success of your content: pageviews, downloads, time on page, etc.
Follow these three steps, and you’ll ensure your writers are fully equipped to create informed, well-written content.
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