When Creating Content, Look Beyond the Experts

SurveySometimes you put off posting new content on your website because your in-house guru isn’t available. Whether you’re waiting for her to write a blog post, or to just sit down and explain the latest project to you so you can write it, this procrastination is a bad idea.

For one thing, days can stretch to weeks and, if you’re not careful, to months, as you wait for an open spot in her schedule. Aside from her lack of time, though, the guru might not be the best source for content anyway. Why not?

Experts know too much. Remember back in college, when you’d have a professor who was a recognized expert in his or her field? And remember how you had to go to the TA for an explanation of what the heck the prof was talking about? Experts get lost in jargon and side issues and often find it difficult, if not impossible, to break things down to a beginner’s level.

Experts don’t know what they don’t know. Your developers probably like some features in the product more than others. These might be design elements they’re proud of or the features that they’d be looking for themselves, if they were customers.

Having identified what is that makes their creation “the best,” though, they forget that the benefits they see might not be the benefits that customers are looking for. Your designers might be proud of the product’s visual elegance, for instance, while customers might be looking for ease of use, or the guru might think customers want versatility of function, while customers are more concerned with price.

Use your salespeople and customer service staff to track what issues are most important to customers, as well as what information they’re looking for that they’re not finding, then provide the content that addresses those issues. Don’t assume that the FAQs your experts already wrote cover every question that gets asked, frequently or infrequently!

So, if not your experts, who should be writing content for you? Believe it or not, a new hire or even an intern might be a good choice. Someone less familiar with your products will have the same starting point as a potential customer, and will be able to identify and communicate the issues from that starting point. You’ll need to check the material — both for content and for style — before posting, of course. But by starting with the perspective of your customers, you’ll have content that reflects their concerns as well as their language, including the language that they’re using to search.

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