5 steps to extracting content from your business

One challenge for me day-to-day is helping clients extract the best content possible for their digital activity. When we think about B2B content, we think whitepapers, videos, case studies etc. However, more often than not, the most valuable content is not stored in the form of a document or a piece of collateral created by the marketing department, but actually sits in the heads of the subject matter experts. The guys and girls in the field; the salespeople; the product specialists; the analysts – these are the people that know the products, the market and the customer.

Recently, I have been confronted with two similar, but unique, challenges to getting content out of businesses and into our team to create digital content to drive interest from the market:

  1. There is the challenge of finding, identifying and building a relationship with those in the business that have the nuggets of information that you need to create high value, original content. Once you locate these people, how do you crack their heads open and get all that juicy content to pour out? How do you tap into their knowledge? How do you get them to trust you, open up to you and make time for you? After all, we are just the kids that play on Facebook all day, right? Why would they want to talk to us? So a relationship and a demonstration of value (whatever that may mean) is essential to success here.
  2. In a ‘live’ environment, such as an event – how do we get content off the ground in real-time? Assuming our agency do not have a physical presence at the event, how do we ensure that we are being fed valuable and high-quality content that we can use? When the people at the event are busy, talking to customers, or perhaps lack the knowledge of what makes good social content, how do you ensure what they send you is valuable?

Well, now that I have got you thinking about all those things, here are some basic steps to help you start extracting that content internally:

  1. Dig, Dig, Dig

It is essential to dig through the company and find those key individuals that may hold the information that you are looking for. This is a challenge, the bigger the organisation, the bigger the challenge. However, when you find who you are looking for it will pay off. People like to be asked for their knowledge and treated like an ‘expert’, so a bit of ego massaging never hurts.

  1. Keep on driving!

No-one is going to drive this but you. If you take your eye off the ball and stop talking, digging and searching everything will stop. Once you find the individuals, set up meetings, hound them, lock them in a room – do whatever you can to make it happen, because one thing is certain…if you don’t do it, no one else will.

  1. Be their guide

Many of these people will have little or no digital knowledge. You need to provide very clear guidelines around what type of content you want them to provide. In my experience, the more you leave up to chance the more room there is for error. Give exact examples of the content that you want, what you need captured, what format you want it in, word count, length of video. The closer to the finished article the content comes in, the easier and, ultimately, more productive the process will be.

  1. K.I.S.S

The old phrase ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ is as relevant here as ever. Make it as simple as possible to get the content to you. If you are trying to extract content from an event, use Google Drive, Whatsapp, or whatever it takes to make the process as simple and pain free for those involved. The more barriers the contributors see to doing something the less likely they are to bother.

  1. Single sign-off

Especially if the material is time sensitive – like for an event – making sure that you get a simple, ideally single, sign-off process in place will stop delays and missed opportunities. This is often easier said than done, but the more senior the stakeholder you can rope into the process the easier it should become. I promise it is worth it, especially if you want to be anywhere near real-time.

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