Sometimes the idea of content production for your inbound marketing campaign can feel consuming. Not just consuming for your writers but consuming for your Subject Matter Expert (SME) who is most likely very busy with their high value regular workload. In this post we are going to guide you through creating rich inbound marketing content while using an efficient process that is a highly leveraged way to respect their time.

Click here to read the full Hangout on Air transcription

Betsy Crozier: Thank you to everyone who is joining us on this hangout today. Today we’re going to be discussing Respecting Your Experts Valuable Time with an Efficient Content Extraction Process. My name is Betsy Crozier and I’m the Content Manager of PageLadder. Today I’m here with Raleigh Leslie. Good afternoon Raleigh.   Raleigh Leslie: Good afternoon Betsy.   Betsy Crozier: For those of you who don’t know Raleigh is the Co-Founder and COO of PageLadder which is a San Diego based inbound marketing agency. Raleigh is a subject matter expert in the area of inbound marketing and someone I consider to be truly one of the best in the business and he offers a great technical perspective on the industry. So Raleigh thank you for joining us.   Raleigh Leslie: Thank you Betsy.   Betsy Crozier: If it’s okay with you I wanted to kind of address a key question that keeps coming up with clients regarding content production. A lot of times I have marketing managers coming in asking me is content production for an inbound marketing campaign, is it going to consume by staffed subject matter experts time taking them away from their high value regular workload? What are your thoughts on this problem? And do you think it exists?   Raleigh Leslie: Yes I’ve definitely heard that before and that’s the general inclination of a business owner to say, “Hey well we can produce blog content.” And it really couldn’t be farther away from the way that they should be thinking about it.   The point is that if you have subject matter experts on staff they don’t possibly have the time to write all your blog post, create all your white papers and their time is valuable so. But what you do need is their expert perspective within your content because to have a successful inbound marketing campaign, really it’s that content that’s driving it and so you do need that input from the subject matter experts but you have to do that in a highly leveraged way that respects their time. Yeah you’re still able to produce all the content you need for a successful campaign.   Betsy Crozier: Okay excellent. So it sounds like this is clearly something that needs to be addressed because there are so much value to this subject matter experts, expertise. Do you have any solutions that can kind of help leverage them as an asset being respectful of their time?   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah there are lots of different solutions to this problem dealing with tools and technology and specifically tools in the process. If you have a solid process for extracting that subject matter experts, expertise out of them efficiently with not as much time as it would take them to say write a whole blog post on their own then you can gain a lot of leverage by using tools and processes for that. Specifically do you have anything in specific that you are [inaudible 00:03:00]?   Betsy Crozier:  No. Yeah so for example I know you’re talking about, at one point we talked about using an interview process with them. For someone who is looking at do it in-house initially and doesn’t want to do that interview process. Are there other assets from the subject matter expert that could be leveraged instead?   Raleigh Leslie:  Absolutely. So yeah and how does that interview process even look? That’s really what I’m getting at is, is it a process, what is it? You talk to that subject matter expert for one hour, once a week and that produces four blog posts from that? Because that’s a leverageable, repeatable, scalable situation. So do you have that interview process dialed enough and prepared well enough ahead of time that when you get on the phone with that subject matter expert you’re able to wrap that call up at the end of under an hour and you’re able to leave with those little nuggets of information from them to have an editor or writer then craft those into a blog post.   Another great example, outside of just a process for using interview extracting is one that we talk about all the time in PageLadder and that’s inbox. Search your inbox, search your subject matter experts inbox and you will find a gold mine of good nuggets that can be crafted into for the content to promote your brand or the success of your inbound marketing campaign. So yeah there is lots of dealing with the process as well as other tactics, where there is nuggets that you might not even know exist but they are there. So yeah.   Betsy Crozier: Excellent. What about some like technology resources for repurposing content or using content different way than just a blog post?   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah awesome so that’s really great. Look at what we’re doing right now. This is a Google Plus Hangout. Hangout on Air specifically so it’s important to know the difference there. A Hangout would be something that you can initiate from your Gmail as to where a Hangout on Air this is actually being broadcasted publically right now on the PageLadder Google Plus business page.   People ask you know well who is on Google Plus or who is going to see that when you publish it wide? How are you going to get a crowd together? Well you don’t have to because after this has done recording this Hangout it’s going to go straight to our business YouTube channel where it’s going to be accessible for some time to come.   So you can start to use these new technologies that people still are not embracing for how cool they really are and gain a lot of leverage just like we’re here where you’re just of interviewing me and it’s going to take 15 minutes of my time but here we have something that is going to be a solid piece of content for some time to come.   I do want to show you really quickly this is another benefit of using technology Google Plus, Hangouts on Air what you can do is I can just switch over to a screen share right here and now I’ve got, I just went into Google’s, Google Hangout’s on Air so here are some more details on them. I encourage you to come and look into this. This is great for interviewing subject matter experts and you got the live streaming, you are just having that conversation. You can see these people have positioned themselves as authorities through this and it’s easy to get started.   So there is just a slight nuance in the processes of keeping it going. I went to YouTube account and started broadcast and you go and you don’t want to get held up on just being too caught on nailing the Hangout or just you know we’re having a conversation here Betsy right, so this is awesome too because there is ways to repurpose this content. We can have this whole thing transcribed and then suddenly we have a blog post.   We can extract nuggets of information on things I’ve said maybe that are moving or helpful for some people and we can take those and build them into the blog post to kind of highlight it for those people who maybe they don’t want to watch a video or a hangout but they still want to know what was said within it.   So, that’s how you can use technology to gain more leverage when you’re trying to extract good content from your subject matter experts to drive different marketing campaigns.   Betsy Crozier: That’s excellent. Going back a little bit to the article and some more traditional ways of extracting into a blog post. Do you have a strategy because I know you’ve done this for multiple clients for dealing with the positioning of the subject matter expert is an authority of the article when they are not actually writing it themselves?   Raleigh Leslie: That’s great and I’m going to try to pull up another little example here while I explain this but basically a blog article can be structured in a way to look like it as written by an expert yet maybe it’s not actually written by an expert. So you got the golden nuggets laid within it but all the technical information is right, but the specialist did not write it. So this was produced by an editor and a writer combination who used a highly leveraged interview process to extract the good information from the subject matter expert and so can you see this Betsy?   Betsy Crozier: I can yeah.   Raleigh Leslie: And I’m scrolling through it really fast here but what I want to show you is that at the end here you’ve seen other blog articles online that have these sort of bylines kind of almost at the end, not a byline but kind of author bio box. And it might not even be an author bio box but just at the end of the content it’s saying who this guy is and establishing him as an authority so that it seems like he is the one that actually wrote this article and he was the primary contributor to this article. But he did not write this article and he was able to get a highly leveraged high quality blog post out of a certain, this probably took about a 15 minute interview for him to produce this.   So of course these are quality and issue specific writers and editors we’re talking about but this is just an example how you can structure an article with something like this to gain more leverage to get it written by a write and an editor and then make it appear as if you’re positioning that expert as the authority across the web now, so yeah.   Betsy Crozier: So really the idea is you’re having your expert download their expertise but then put the burden on the writer and editor to produce that content.   Raleigh Leslie: That’s exactly right, yep and yeah if you’ve your subject matter experts writing if they have Microsoft Word open and they are writing and editing a blog post, are they experts at that? And don’t you want to have the best people doing the best work and so let’s reserve the experts time to do their normal roles within where your business, organization and let’s reserve that writing time for actual writers who have experience writing for a blog or for a white paper and for editors who know how to combine to position that person as an authority through the article or piece of content, so yeah.   Betsy Crozier: Not to deviate too far off track but you know inbound marketing content is a two part process and I wanted you to talk a little bit about the [inaudible 00:10:35] process and how the subject matter expert can come into play and the best way to utilize them and utilize their time efficiently.   Raleigh Leslie: Awesome I’m so glad you asked that because that is the most often overlooked part of content marketing or blogging to simplify it and you’re not done when you produce a great blog article. You can post that on your blog but that’s half the battle and so many people either take shortcuts or don’t do it at all or their strategy is incomplete when it comes to actually syndicating that content across the web so that it can have a chance to get in front of your target marketing persona as in the places that they are hanging out, that the forums they are on, that whatever media channel that they your personas are being active.   And so how do you do that? If you’re an expert you’re certainly not going to have the time to spend 20 minutes to an hour publishing your article across the web. You might be able to share it on your Facebook or on your Twitter but that’s not the end of the story there.   We have internal workflow at PageLadder and then we have client specific workflows even depending upon their industries that go, it’s a checklist just like an astronaut has and it says, “Did you do this with your article? Did you do this with your article? Did you send it to Twitter? Did you seek and assist on Twitter? Did you look for people asking questions related to your content and then answered it,” give them value and maybe put a link to your article in there too.   So there is ways that you can do that tons of places Digg, Reddit maybe it’s a forum, maybe it’s a LinkedIn group that you can put the article in. You don’t want to just promote your content but you want to seek to what these people, these discussions are going on and then add value to that discussion and maybe after that act can you link also to your content but you need to position yourself as an authority, provide value and then maybe you can link to that as well and get some traffic flowing through there.   And so how do you do that? If you’re the expert well you utilize an assistant and you have to have a trusted assistant. Most experts have somebody in their organization if they are a specialist that they can fall on, maybe it’s a marketing assistant who knows that person well enough to log into their accounts or maybe they are separate business accounts besides from their personal ones that they are using to promote this content, build their authority online. And you can have that assistant go down the checklist that all the things to syndicate your content to make sure that all the work that went into producing that great piece of content also makes it as far and in front of the eyeballs that it needs yet it’s not requiring your expert, your in-house staff, person to do that little leg work. Does that help?   Betsy Crozier: That does help. Real quick, what do you think is like an ideal amount of time to be spending syndicating one post? Just to give the viewers an idea of how much time commitment we’re talking about.   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah, yeah exactly and it’s going to depend across industries, it’s going to depend on how great that piece of content is. I like to think that the success of inbound marketing campaign depends on the quality of the content behind it very, very heavily and so if you’re producing crap content well who’s going to go around waving that around everywhere. You might not spend as much time with the syndication. But if you’re doing content at the level that you need to be doing it these days as things get more and more competitive in that space. It’s as much time as you can spend is of value but you have to look at things on in terms of return on investment as well.   So if I’m going to give you numbers you know you could, it takes what, a minute to send it to Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google Plus? So at least a minute but it would probably take you about 20 minutes to do some seek and assisting, you know, look across the web for blogs that are related and go to the comment section and add value and post the link.   But it’s not an unheard of to spend over an hour and then when you leave those comments and you’re going to get replies and then you should come back and reply to those because if someone is searching down the line they are going to see you there and that’s going to contribute to you being an authority and it’s going to make all the content that you’re producing as authoritative as possible.   So kind of a vague answer but…   Betsy Crozier: No I think that it helps; I think overall it shows that you know the time commitment is pretty nominal in terms of the value that you’re actually going to gain through doing syndication.   Raleigh Leslie: Exactly, yep and if you’re spinning your wheels doing it then you might need that just your syndication strategy to make sure you are really hitting it, what are your marketing person is actually hanging out.   Betsy Crozier: Okay great. Yeah I think that is going to make it sound a lot less cumbersome for the people who are already doing it.   Raleigh Leslie: You should see the results from that syndication in your website statistics. So if you’re not getting traffic back and you’re not getting people reaching out saying, “Hey you seem to know what you’re talking about then you’re not doing something right with your syndication.” So, you might want to ask a marketing agency or somebody who knows how to maybe get that a little more dialed in for you so.   Betsy Crozier: Okay that helps a lot. Raleigh, one more thing, I know what always helps when people have kind of an example to draw from and I know you have helped countless clients with their content marketing. Is there like an example that you’ve of how you have helped the client leverage, their subject matter expert or just a reasoning behind why certain industries in particular shouldn’t be doing this?   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah you bet Betsy. The best example that jumps in my head right away is with the lawyer. Whether whatever level you’ve worked with the lawyer before we know their time is expensive. They are billing by hour, you will see a lawyers time upwards of $250, $500 an hour and so if you’re a marketing company like myself and I’m coming into a law firm and I’m telling them, “Look you need to be producing two blog post a week so that’s eight blog post a month and these blog post need to be top quality.” And the first thing they think is well I can have my lawyers write these blog posts and right there is where you kind of need to take a step back and seeing the forest through the trees kind of thing. Take a look at what really is going to be the best way to get that done so that you leverage your lawyer’s time.   And so instead of having a lawyer sit down to write a blog article that’s going to be written from a lawyer’s perspective that’s not going to speak to somebody who needs a lawyers help because they are speaking in lawyer talk. The answer isn’t even hiring an in-house writer maybe because that person might be too versed in legal jargon and they don’t have the process for interviewing that lawyer and then elaborating on the nuggets that they are able to attract from them.   So the better way to do that if you have a legal client might be to count on you know the countless resources the tools you have in agencies that specialize in content production across various industries. They have proven processes that they have been running that allow them to grab those that little piece of helpful information from that subject matter expert and then use a writer and an editor to craft that into something and position it so that it’s from that subject matter experts perspective yet it only took that subject matter maybe 10, 15 minutes to kind of talk about the subject kind of like I’m doing here. So yeah does that lawyer example [inaudible 00:18:34]?   Betsy Crozier: That does. Yeah I think overall you’re kind of getting at that it’s the process that’s really going to build the strength of this. So it’s the process having an expert.   Raleigh Leslie: Exactly.   Betsy Crozier: Be the expert, the writer, be the writer. The editor, be the editor.   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah let them play their strengths, you know? Why try to convince yourself that it’s just a blog it’s not and it’s so much more than that. And when it’s a part the content marketing and blogging these interviews are all part of a much bigger strategy and if you’re inbound marketing; if you’re having success with it, this strategy is complex. And it depends on each of those little steps being done efficiently or you know that law firm or that business is going to say, “Hey you’re sucking all my experts time and we’re not getting the results.” Because they don’t know how to structure the content correctly in the first place even though they are experts in it.   So there is so many little moving pieces here but yeah you can gain a lot of leverage if you have a process, a proven process for getting leverage when interviewing or using technology like Google Hangouts to make sure that you’re attracting those nuggets from the expert’s, specialist who already have on staff.   Betsy Crozier: Yeah that’s excellent. Well I think that’s pretty much going to answer the question and probably cover it for today, unless you’ve anything that you want to add Raleigh?   Raleigh Leslie: Yeah the one thing to kind of leave with is just ask yourself, ask yourself how much time are your in-house staffed experts dedicating towards content production on your marketing, your inbound marketing campaigns. If they are dedicating a lot of time, your results better be very good and justify that. If they are dedicating no time at all, then how is your content look? Because either way both of those are problematic.   You should have them dedicate a certain amount of time that’s highly leveraged. So if they are able to do a 15 minute interview with content writer or editor who has this process and they are able to get four blog posts, totally finalize blog posts out of that 15 minute interview and those blog posts are crafted beautifully and structured kind of like the one I showed you, then you’re on the right track. And so that’s kind of how you look at how you’re doing it right now, take everything and set it into your account and I hope it helps you. That’s my best wish for this occasion, so.   Betsy Crozier: Yeah excellent. Well I think this is definitely going to add value for the listeners. Again thank you for your time and for everyone who is listening if you want to learn more about PageLadder and Raleigh feel free to subscribe to the blog, Thanks so much Raleigh.   Raleigh Leslie: Thank you Betsy.

The general inclination of a business owner or marketing manager is to say, “We can produce blog content.” And it really couldn’t be farther away from the way that they should be thinking about it. If you have subject matter experts on staff they don’t possibly have the time to write all your blog post, create all your white papers and their time is valuable. What you actually need is their expert perspective within your content.  To have a successful inbound marketing campaign,  it’s that content that’s driving it’s success. You do need that input from the subject matter experts but you have to do that in a highly leveraged way that respects their time.

Take a lawyer for example. Whatever level you’ve worked with a lawyer before you know their time is expensive. You will see a lawyers time upwards of $250, $500 an hour and so if you’re a marketing company like myself and I’m coming into a law firm and I’m telling them, “Look you need to be producing two blog post a week so that’s eight blog post a month and these blog post need to be top quality.” And the first thing they think is, well I can have my lawyers write these blog posts, and right there is where you kind of need to take a step back and see the bigger picture of the strategy. Take a look at what really is going to be the best way to get that done so that you leverage your lawyer’s time and expensive billable hours.

Leverage Time with an Efficient Content Extraction Process

One of the most effective ways to leverage time with your subject matter expert is through an interview process. An interview process will allow the editor or writer to extract the necessary expert information on each topic, that can then be crafted into a relevant piece of content. This process is effectively done through separating the roles of subject matter expert, editor, and writer. By clearly dividing and defining these roles the content strategy will play to the greatest strengths of each individual while highly leveraging their time.

  • Subject Matter Expert: This is the authority in your field who has the in-depth knowledge, content expertise, and technical information.
  • Editor: This is the team member who oversees the extraction of content from the SME and production of the content.  Generally this is the individual who guides the interview and content extraction process with the SME because they are very familiar with the target persona and can most effectively extract valuable content for the campaign.
  • Writer: The writer is responsible for penning to paper the actual content.  They use the direction given by the editor and the information from the SME to create the written content pieces. Often times the writer will do additional research to further support the information given by the SME.

How to Establish your Subject Matter Expert in Content Pieces

Since we have already established that your SME shouldn’t be spending their valuable time writing each piece themselves it is necessary to establish them as an authority throughout the article as a primary contributor.  An simple and effective way to do this is to showcase them as a primary contributor at the end of each article.

Re-purposing Content

Google Hangout on Air: These will record live through your Google+ profile  and can be set up to go straight to your business YouTube channel.  The options from here are expansive.  Embed the video in a blog post, let it build equity on your YouTube channel and Google+ page, or simply keep it private and repurpose all the content extracted from your subject matter expert to be used in a different form on a different platform.

This simple Google Hangout on Air interview took just 20 minutes of Raleigh, our subject matter expert’s time, yet provides us with rich content from a positioned authority, that can now be utilized by our content team.

Inbox Search

Outside of the process of interview extracting content we often suggest something as simple as searching inboxes.  Search your email inbox and that of your subject matter expert and you will probably find a gold mine resourceful content that can be crafted into the content that promotes your brand or drives the success of your inbound campaign.

Inbox Content Extraction

Content Syndication

Syndication is the most often overlooked part of content marketing for blogging.  Simply put, once you published your blog and produced great content, it’s not over.  It’s time to share it. The sources that you chose to syndicate your content to really depend on where you target person is hanging out and where you will get the most value.

Top Sources for Content Syndication:

    • Facebook

Facebook Syndication

    • Twitter

Twitter Syndication

    • Google+

Google+ Syndication

    • Quora

Quora Syndication

    • Digg, Reddit

Digg Syndication

    • LinkedIn Group or Forum

LinkedIn Syndication

The most effective way to syndicate your content is NOT to just paste a link to your content but instead use it to add value to discussions and then maybe if appropriate add a link to your article relevant to that discussion.

If your are taking a SME’s valuable time to produce a piece of content there is an inherent responsibility to syndicate that content to the fullest on their behalf.  If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it does it make a sound?


Ask yourself how much time are your in-house staffed experts dedicating towards content production on your marketing, your inbound marketing campaigns. If they are dedicating a lot of time, your results better be very good and justify that. If they are dedicating no time at all, then how does your content quality look? Because either way both of those are problematic. You should have them dedicate a certain amount of time that’s highly leveraged with a process. Let everyone play to their strengths, and don’t let the strategy stop once the content is produced.  Recognizing that this is more than just a blog, it’s an integral piece of a complex inbound marketing strategy and make sure that your processes are leveraged for maximum return on investment.

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Co-Founder & COO at PageLadder, Inc.
Entrepreneur, inbound marketing professional & outdoors enthusiast who finds joy in overcoming obstacles.
4 replies
  1. Zack Belcher
    Zack Belcher says:

    This is a damn good blog post. Very helpful. I especially like the hangouts on air and inbox search ideas. I also like this because the process of extracting and optimizing the content helps/forces me to get a better understanding of the concepts. Thanks again!

      • Fernando
        Fernando says:

        Ok Raleigh, here’s a question: what happens when content you’re creating on behalf of your client depends on weekly or bi-weekly access to the SME or several SMEs at your client company, but they don’t answer their calls or respond to your emails because they’re “too busy” or constantly traveling? I’m going through this situation right now and it’s making me very nervous, especially as I’m on a monthly retainer with them.


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