I have a three step formula I use so that I never run out of blog content.
Step 1) Record
Step 2) Transcribe
Step 3) Polish
Let me explain how this works
Many of us who are charged with writing blog posts are marketers, not the Dynamics ERP/CRM software or industry experts. Unless you are very lucky, those experts would never consider writing a blog post; they are too busy being billable. This is not a problem; you just need to follow this formula.
First, identify the people in your company who have the information locked in their heads. While they likely won’t write about it, they usually are very willing to talk about it.
Then, approach that person (or that person’s boss) and explain how important it is for you to get approval to have brief interviews with them on a regular basis. Use a lot of flattery and some subtle references to how marketing brings in the sales that pays their salaries, etc…
Schedule a time, choose one topic, record their thoughts, transcribe and polish the text into a blog post.
You can use this record/transcribe/polish strategy with consultants, salespeople, executives, clients, partners and industry experts. Here are a few tips:
1) Stick to a time limit: I tell my experts I will ONLY take 10 minutes then I stick to that even if there is so much more to ask. This way they don’t run in fear when I ask the next time.
2) Stop taking notes: I use an app from www.speak-write.com to record and transcribe my conversations with the experts. This way I am not distracted by taking notes, and I am sure not to miss a single important word.
3) Get them away from their desk: If you do the interview at their desk they will probably be itching to get back to their email and casting furtive glances at the screen. Go to your desk or a conference room to limit distractions.
4) Give compliments: People get nervous with a microphone in their face. As they are talking make reassuring comments about how smart they are and how great the information is. You want them to relax and keep talking.
5) Have questions ready in advance: Don’t just ask your expert what they want to talk about. Have one specific topic with questions prepared in advance. For example, “What are 3 features of the software that our clients love during training?”, “What types of reports does an engineering company need to get out of Dynamics SL?”, “What questions do non-profit prospects ask over and over again?” Ask them to explain in detail, using lots of good rich industry terms and buzzwords if possible.
6) Be a little annoying: If you don’t understand something, perhaps an acronym or an industry term, go back and ask for clarification. If you hear a good point that got glossed over or explained in a complicated way, stop and ask again. You want your article to be clear and detailed for your reader.
Using this interview method, not only will you have better content for your blog posts, you will get others in your company involved. I like to send a companywide email at the end of each month listing our blog posts and thanking the person who provided the content for each one. If you want to foster a little friendly competition among the experts you can give statistics to show which blogs were the most popular or develop some kind of incentive program.
As marketers, all of us who work at Microsoft Dynamics partner organizations have access to a treasure trove of content ideas right within our own companies. You just need to know who to ask.
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing
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