content writing expert
Debbie Ekins

Debbie Ekins

How can I write content for your business if I’m not an expert in your industry?

Have you worked with an architect before?

That was the question I got from a recent potential client on a call. 

I sat, and racked my brain to come up with any similar clients that I had worked with and came up short…

👷 Shed builders

💻 Content Marketing agencies

🎹 Piano retailers

🧑‍🏫 Online educators

🔌 Electricians

That’s just a selection of the eclectic clients that I have worked (and continue to work) with to create online content.

And the truth is, I’m not an expert in any of them🤷 

Even now, after writing multiple blogs and buyer’s guides.

Sure, I know a LOT more about them now than I did before they were clients. But the experts exist within the company. It’s not me.

And this is a scary thought for many businesses💀

If you are paying a writer to create content, and entrusting them to represent your business in order to attract potential new clients, you need to ensure that they know what they are talking about.

But I don’t believe that you have to be an expert to write great content…

😬 Controversial?

Maybe, but I don’t think so.

So, in this blog, I’m going to look at why you don’t have to be a subject expert to write amazing content.

Plus how I ensure that the content I write for businesses is representative of who they are and the best that it can possibly be (without being an expert).

How does NOT being an expert help me to write business blogs?

Not only is it not essential to be an expert in order to write business blogs, but it can actually be an advantage. And here is why:

  1. Your business blogs need to be simple…
  2. It pays to bring a fresh perspective to your business blogs…
  3. I’m like the out-of-house marketing department...
The important thing to note is that you don’t have to be an expert to write content, but you do have to transfer the expertise from someone within the business to the writer. Click To Tweet

1. Your business blogs need to be simple…

If you can’t explain it to a sixyearoldyou probably don’t understand it yourself”

Albert Einstein

Your customers (probably) aren’t six years old. But, the premise still stands.

The job of content is to take complex topics and simplify them. To make something easily digestible.

The truth is, you as the expert, aren’t always best placed to do this.

Because you know it so well – inside out – and you want to display all the nuances and complexities of that topic via content.

And, because you understand the topic so well, you might not realise what other people do and don’t understand. What is simple to you, could seem like rocket science to someone else 🤯

Again, this is something

Of course, some topics may need to be more a little more technical. And that’s fine. I’m not saying you need to dumb it down quite to a six-year-old reading level, it should be tailored to the intended audience. But it needs to be delivered in an enjoyable and straightforward manner.

And that’s where someone like me comes in 🙋‍♀️

It’s a content writers job to make the complex comprehensible.

How much do you know about swimming pool filtration and construction?

Probably next to nothing.

Which, coincidentally, is about as much as most people who are buying a swimming pool know. But, it is something they need to be aware of in order to make the right decisions in the buying process.

The challenge is getting future pool owners to absorb and assimilate complex information so that they can make the best decisions for themselves (especially when it’s not the sexy part of buying a pool).

Here is an example of a previous blog that I wrote comparing overflow and skimmer swimming pools.

If a swimming pool expert were to write this content, the chances are they would put a lot of excess information into it. Information that the potential buyers don’t necessarily know or need to know about it.

Part of the skill in writing content is knowing what your customer needs to know and removing what they don’t.

That’s why you don’t need to be an expert.

You need to know the information (we’ll get to how a content writer extracts that information) and how to present that in an engaging and simple way.

2. It pays to bring a fresh perspective to your business blogs…

I bet there are loads of things you take for granted in your business.

The majority of the time your customers are laypeople.

Even if they are experts in their own right, they probably aren’t familiar with the product or service that you offer.

But the trouble is, as an expert you forget the simple stuff. Like I said before obvious to you, rocket science to someone else.

Even I’m guilty of doing this.

A couple of years ago I did an entire talk on content marketing (at a swimming pool convention). It was entry-level, so I went into depth on what I thought were the basic tenants of content marketing.

At the end of the talk someone came up to me and said:

I’ve just got one question, what is a blog?

🤯 Uh-oh! Misjudged that one.

I went into the talk assuming everyone knew what a blog was. But I was wrong.

And this is the mistake experts often make in blogs.

It’s important to pitch at your customers level.

That doesn’t mean the content needs to be totally dumbed down. It just needs to include the perspective of someone who is unfamiliar with the product or service.

And that is where a content writer who is NOT an expert can come in handy.

3. Sales & marketing teams aren’t always the experts

In larger companies, the people that write the content are often in the sales or marketing teams (or revenue teams if you are really progressive).

And…if you think about it, they aren’t always they experts in the actual product itself.

Of course, they know the product amazingly well, but they aren’t the product developers or engineers who know all the ins and outs.

But the fact is, a lot of the information that the experts know doesn’t necessarily need to be in a blog.

Again, let’s look at a swimming pool example.

When I first started writing content I was an employee of the above swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room company (they are now a client). I was in the sales & marketing department (yes you read that correctly I was the entire department), and one day I decided to start writing blogs. 

How did I do this?

I asked a lot of questions (yes, it annoyed everyone).

I would decide on topics and then (informally) interview the engineers, becuase they knew exaclty how things worked and how they were built.

Then, I could discern the important information and use this to form a comprehensive blog that talked about everything the customer needed to know, but in a way that was easy to understand.

Some businesses will have a more formal interview process, while others will informally ask the experts.

But either way there is always an exchange of expertise.

Which really takes me to the most important part of this

You don’t have to be an expert to write content, but you do have to transfer the expertise from someone within the business to the writer. Click To Tweet

Being an expert in a topic area is NOT essential for writing great content. However, you do need to find a way to withdraw the expertise from the source.

So, how do I go about the process of knowledge exchange?

Side note: Moira Rose is Queen

How do I write amazing content without being an industry expert?

I bet you are wondering:

Debbie, how do you write content without being an industry expert?

Okay, okay I’ll let you in on the secret…

Now I’ll admit, in the past I’ve taken on clients that have no interest in contributing to their content in any way shape, or form. They’ve given me very little information and very broad direction, such as:

Write a blog on social housing

Could I write a blog on this without any further information?

Sure…

Without any further information, would it be any good?

Doubt it!

It’s easy enough to bang out any old 1000+ word article. But, if you want it to stand out, attract, and convert ideal customers (which if you are paying for it then I guess you do), then there needs to be a process of expertise transfer.

Take the above example, I’d need to know things like:

How you feel about social housing…

Why you think this is an important blog to write?

What you want potential customer to do next…

(along with some other things that we’ll get to)

This is one of the reasons why I now only work with people who are experienced in creating content. They understand what goes into creating great content, and know that informing the person writing it is a major part of the process.

So, what is the process I use to gain this expertise?

  1. I get to know you and your business…
  2. You fill in a cover sheet
  3. I research the topic for the blog
  4. You give me feedback (if necessary)…

1. I get to know you and your business…

Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean we have to spend loads of time together (I know you are busy)

In fact, we don’t always have to talk (although it certainly helps).

Sidenote: some content writers will interview for every blog, which I might need to do. But I specialise in regular, ongoing content (writing between 1-4 blogs per month), so I get to know you better and better each month. If it’s for something specific eg. a process then we might jump on a quick call if it’s going to be quicker.

I love accents, and (trying to) impersonate people. And really writing content is just another form of that.

One of my favorite things to do when writing is to try and sound like someone within your business. 

To do this I need to get to know you and your brand.

I usually do this via a combination of chatting with you (via initial consultation calls and email), consuming your previous content, and studying your brand values.

This is why brand personality is so crucial when it comes to writing blogs.

If you have a totally bland brand, with no personality or values, then it’s difficult to write a convincing blog like you.

But, either way, getting to know you getting to know you is a huge part of the content writing process.

As I said, I do this initially, but I also do this over time while working with you on an ongoing basis.

2. You fill in a content cover sheet

This is where the magic happens ✨

It’s important that we make sure that each blog topic is amazing, and to do this I need the expert’s input for each blog (that’s you btw – or someone in the business).

This is why I get my clients to fill in a content cover sheet for every blog that we do.

This content sheet covers questions about the blog including the title, objective and what action you want readers to take (among other things).

You can download the cover sheet below:

Ps. I know that this can sound like a lot of work. But ideally we would get the blogs sorted for each month in advance and these really shouldn’t take long. It’s a once a month job to ensure I create the best possible blog.

3. I research the topic for your blog…

No matter how good a cover sheet is, I’ll always need to peruse the internet for some more information. 

Sometimes this information will be incorporated into the blog (ie. statistics).

Other times it will be to inform and help me understand what is out there already (in order to improve you need to know what is out there).

You don’t really need to do anything more here. Just let me get down to it in the allocated time. If I have any questions I know where you are.

4. You give me feedback (if necessary)…

I’m pretty great 💁 (just ask my clients).

But that doesn’t mean I never need any help (you are the expert of course).

After I’ve written the blog on Google Docs, I send it over to you via email.

You then have a look at it and double-check that everything you want is included.

Hopefully, it is, but if not you can give me some feedback and we can do one round of edits to make sure it’s right.

Then it’s ready for you to publish and promote…

So, how do I become the expert?

It’s totally normal to be worried about hiring a content writer.

After all you are the expert…not me (or whoever you hire).

And I understand this fear completely…

Don’t worry. You aren’t the only one. Everyone who is outsourcing their content will have the same worries.

But hopefully this blog has put your mind at ease.

The overall goal is to transfer expertise from your brain to mine, as efficiently as possible. My process allows you to fill me in quickly, without too much time of effort on your part.

So, are you interested in me writing your blogs?

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