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In this edition of Ask An SEO , Zach from Wichita writes us: “How would an SEO specialist write a content brief for an industry expert with very little writing experience? Or how should my company structure our content writing process when we have an SEO person, industry expert, and content writer/editor?” Great question, Zach. Before we dig into content briefs, I have a question: Why is someone with very little writing experience doing the writing?
Writing is a skilled trade.
Sure, some have a natural talent and affinity for it. But many people would rather get dental work without sedation than have to write an article, blog post, or some other form of content for their work.
Time and again, I’ve seen that forcing topic experts to write – even on topics they’re passionate about – fails on every front.
Your topic expert tends to spend way longer than a skilled writer would on the piece.
Maybe marketing asked them to do it. Maybe they’re semi-bought-in as they like the thought leadership potential but they’re still experiencing the frustration of the writing process.
They’re stressed out and can even become resentful as this is just another task on their to-do list.
So let’s tackle this piece first. Setting Your Topic Experts & SEO Writers Up For Success
I’ve been ghostwriting for over 15 years. Here’s the first thing I always ask a new author I’m ghosting for: “How can I make this easier for you? What do you want this process to look like?” Then I’ll ask questions to figure out the best way to get their knowledge and topic expertise out of their head and into mine. Have you already worked on an outline or even a rough draft you want me to run with?
Would you like to make me a bullet list of all the important information you want to see included? Do you have 15 minutes to jump on a call and I’ll pick your brain? Want to send me voice notes? A doodle? Smoke signals? Let’s do this. The first thing you can do to set your topic experts and writers up for a productive, collaborative relationship is to give them the freedom to define their own processes.I used to create content for a polar expeditions brand. For content generation purposes, I regularly interviewed their polar experts. Most of these people worked on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions a good chunk of the year.Ever tried to interview a polar bear researcher in Russia who only gets to a payphone once a week?How about a penguinologist (it’s a real thing!) who spends months at a time circulating Antarctica gathering penguin poop and feathers for DNA studies?Here’s the thing: whether writing as polar experts, software engineers, C-level executives, SEO thought leaders, or real estate agents (to name just a few), I’ve found that every topic expert has […]