There is more than one subject matter expert at every company. Frequently, the thought leader or role of SME is assumed by the CEO, president, co-founder, or a VP. In reality, many people within your company are thought leaders. 

The way I think of it is, every member of your team is an expert in their own right. Maybe their area of expertise is HR, marketing, sales, customer service, or client retention. Whatever department they work in, job title they have, or area within your company they excel in, tapping into it and using that expertise to fuel your blog content has numerous benefits for your company and the SMEs. 

Benefits of Your Internal Team Writing For Your Company Blog 

Have you ever looked at your blog’s editorial calendar and asked yourself, “How will I possibly think of any other unique topics to write about?” When you focus a lot of your efforts on building out your blog and strategizing beneficial topics to cover, it doesn’t take long to start worrying about draining the well dry. But, when you tap into other resources and open your blog up to internal SME contributors, you create an opportunity to cover a lot of ground with your blog content. And that’s just one of the perks. 

Other benefits of having your team write for your blog are: 

  • Helping them build their portfolio of published content, motivating them, and empowering them to share their expertise more. 
  • Showing your audience that you aren’t a company with just one expert; instead, your entire team has a wealth of knowledge to share. 
  • The ability to build out your editorial calendar. 
  • It’s cost-effective

But how should your marketing team go about getting other team members to contribute and write content for the company blog? 

A Step-By-Step Process for Managing Internal Blog Contributors

Before you embark on this process, it’s essential to have the understanding that you or someone from your marketing team will be doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of management and facilitation. This will allow the marketing team to be the driving force behind these efforts and to manage the process in a way that is most beneficial for everyone. It will also make sure everything stays on-strategy since the marketing team owns that and can check the content against that at each stage of the content creation process

1. Brainstorm

Every content creation process should start with a good brainstorm session for topic ideas that you know your audience will find useful. This could be a monthly meeting with your marketing team, or if you’re a team of one, carve out some time on your calendar every month to pull ideas for your blog for the upcoming month. Make sure each blog topic idea has a few descriptive lines or even a brief outline. Doing so will help you dive into each specific topic more and identify the best internal SME for each. Also, when you send the topic idea to your SME, you’ll be able to provide him or her with enough information and direction.

2. Designate SME and Reach Out

Once you have your topics finalized, it’s time to designate which internal SME makes the most sense to speak on which topic. Keep in mind each SME’s skill set, area of focus/department, and any personal passions related to what they do at your company. Once you have an idea of who is going to byline which topic, then you can begin your outreach. 

When reaching out to your SMEs, know that like you, they are very busy, so make sure you give them plenty of time to review the topic(s) you had in mind for them. They may decide that they don’t want to speak on the particular topic you’ve assigned them to or instead that they’d like to take it in a direction you hadn’t initially planned for it to go. As long as their new idea or direction aligns with your blog’s strategy, is still applicable to your audience, and further pushes the thought leadership of your company, it should be fine. 

3. Decide On Creation Process

Not everyone is a writer. Some people need a little extra help putting their ideas to paper (or laptop), so this step is an important one. Based on the preference of the SMEs, you’ll have to determine if they’ll want to write the article themselves, or if they’d prefer to do something different, like an interview or questionnaire. Keep in mind that the process you choose, if the SME prefers it, should only help create a higher quality piece of content in the long run. So, it’s okay if the creation process is a bit more time-intensive if the end product is a piece of beautiful, strategic content. 

If your SME would prefer to write the article, give him or her a specific, hard deadline. Make sure you check in with him or her along the way to see how it’s going and provide an outline or support material/research to work with. If he or she would prefer an interview or questionnaire, make sure you identify the most critical questions to ask that will get you the meat of the article. Be specific and detailed, and ask follow-up questions if need be. 

4. Write Article

If your SME chooses not to write the article, then you’ll need someone else to do the heavy lifting. This may be you, someone else on the marketing team, or a freelancer. Whoever it is, make sure the SME’s answers are being used to drive the piece and nail his or her tone and message. 

5. Edit and Apply SEO Strategy

If your SME wrote the piece, you’ll need to perform an edit to make sure it flows nicely, delivers on-message, and is clear and grammatically sound. If you had a freelancer or someone else on the marketing team write this piece, you’ll still want to edit it once he or she is done writing it.

This is an excellent stage in the process to incorporate tactics that will help your SEO strategy. Make sure to identify any keywords (or add them into the article) and link to applicable content of yours, which will help that content rank when those terms are searched. 

6. Review and Approval From SME

The SME may have some edits, which is fine. Just make sure the edits don’t end up changing the direction of the article. Also, it’s important that the SME feels that the article reflects his or her point-of-view and tone. You want the SME to be proud of this piece and want to share it out on their social channels once it goes live. 

7. Schedule Blog Post

Once you’ve received approval, it’s time to figure out when you’d like to publish the article. If you haven’t already, add the article to your editorial calendar, set it up in your marketing automation platform, and schedule it to go live on the designated date. Make sure you create any necessary images to help explain any of the major points and to keep the piece engaging. 

8. Distribute

Making sure people actually see the article is fundamental, otherwise, what was the point? Once the article is live, share it with your team and the SME who authored it so they can share it out and get as many eyes on it as possible. Also, share it with your sales team in case it addresses an area that can help them in their conversations. Another great idea is to add the article to your newsletter and email drip campaigns so that it assists in nurturing prospects who are in a specific area of the buyer’s journey that this article applies to. You want to make sure you get the most out of your blog content, so distribution is a very important step in the process. 

Engaging your internal SMEs and getting them excited about writing for your company blog is no easy feat. But, when you have a tried-and-true process in place, you’re much more likely to see success and create an internal team of thought leaders. Just make sure you routinely check in on each blog post’s performance so you can make any adjustments to the process where needed and determine how useful your content is for your audience.