Insights & Opinions… from the MAC4 team.

To Develop Rich Content, Pick Up the Phone

Content marketing is booming. Businesses know the value of generating white papers, articles, blogs, case studies, and other assets to demonstrate themselves as thought leaders in their industries.

But content marketing requires getting content from subject matter experts (SMEs) – and that can be a challenge. The fact is, everyone’s schedules are packed, and SMEs can be reluctant to add in one more meeting just to talk to a marketer or a copywriter. “I don’t have time for an interview” is an all-too-frequent refrain.

When faced with SME resistance to an interview, it can be tempting to put together a list of questions and email them to a SME with the note “We need your input for a marketing asset – can you provide your feedback on the questions below?” The assumption is that asking for information via email represents a lower barrier than requesting a call. And it does.

But don’t do it.

Here’s why: successful content marketing depends upon getting rich, detailed content. That is precisely what you will not get via email.

It’s simply a matter of numbers. As a copywriter, I know from experience that if I send five questions to a SME, I will get a maximum of three sentences in response to each question, for a total – if I’m lucky – of 300 words.

It’s hard to build a solid content marketing asset from 300 words of raw information.

But if I get that SME on the phone and ask the same five questions, he or she will easily talk for twenty minutes. Since people speak at approximately 150 words per minute, that gives me around 3000 words of information.

I can build a rich, compelling marketing asset if I have 3000 words of information to draw upon.

Email is a fantastic tool for many types of communication, but recognize its limitations: a SME will never send you an email response that is thousands of words long. So when it comes to content marketing, only use email to set up interviews with your SMEs. For the actual content, pick up the phone.


Author: Paula Marolewski


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