Creating Content on Industries you’re not an Expert in

by Jason Acidre on August 18, 2013 · 38 comments · Content


Content marketing has been the entire buzz since Google started to sniff out all the nasty and manipulative links over the web. Don’t worry, I won’t start with why content is so important in this line of work (yes, yes, I know that you know that content is king).

I’ve been thinking of writing this post for quite some time now, and I’ve even wrote the draft for this post while I was away for a business trip late last week.

Aside from talking content development/marketing with one of our biggest clients last week, I also sat for a very long time thinking how we’ll be able to put our ideas into easy-to-follow processes.

Since almost everyone’s shifting towards this area of online marketing, I believe that this topic is something that might be really handy for a lot of “marketers for hire” out there (especially those who have just recently transitioned their efforts to making real great content).

Obviously, most of us who’re in consulting firms and agencies have worked on lots of clients in different industries that we don’t actually know anything about at all to begin with.

So I’ve thought of some ways you can create expertly-made content on niches/industries that you have zero knowledge of.

Create content assets based on FSQ/FAQs

This is probably the easiest way to build content assets on niches that you don’t know much about.

Basing your content strategy on FSQs (frequently searched queries or FAQs in your client’s industry) is very effective, since there are so many available resources for your content already (content and information provided by your competitors).

The main key to succeed when using this approach is to ensure that you’ll come up with content assets that are far more comprehensive, actionable and informative than what your competitors have already published.

Several things that you may have to check out before creating your own content are:

  • Find the successful web pages/blog posts about the subjects you’ve chosen (use Google search). Evaluate and understand why they are ranking.
  • Make a list of the things/information lacking within their content (such as visuals, personal insights/opinions, data, etc…) – as you can use them to your advantage once you do your own version of the content.
  • Check and make a list of the sites linking to those content and people who have shared them on social networks. You can use tools like Topsy, Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to extract these data sets. Reach out to them afterwards once you publish yours.

Key: Outdo your competitors’ content.

Get insights from your clients

The first thing that you can do before running a content marketing campaign for a new client (especially those who’re in industries your team has no background in) is to send intake forms that are solely about the solutions that their business provides.

Gather as much data as you can from your clients, as these things can help you out in generating content ideas that match their expertise.

Interview your clients (if possible) and include their insights along with your own perspectives within your content. You can even make your client’s insights the basis of your content development by breaking down each answered question into different posts.

Get insights from industry leaders

I actually mentioned this tip on my post from 2 weeks ago (on scaling content marketing). Instead of interviewing industry influencers (or doing group interviews) and publishing them as an “interview with xxx” type of post, why not just ask for their take/opinion on a particular subject you’ll be writing about (to mainly validate your own ideas).

Advantages of taking this route, instead of full and exclusive interviews:

  • It’s not that time-consuming for the influencers you’re targeting to engage – as you can do this through a short and quick email or even through social networks.
  • It would be easier to get their attention, trust and respect, when they see that you’ve mentioned them in a thorough article with your own thoughts and ideas.
  • You’ll be able to demonstrate your brand as an expert/authority. Given that your ideas are validated by other industry leader(s).

Hire someone who knows and understands the field

Content is an investment that you really have to make if you want to succeed in online marketing. And obviously, the better way to get significant results from your investment is to get not just a great content writer – but a writer that really knows your client’s industry.

If you already have a solid content team, delegation will play an important role. It would be easier if you’ll assign your writers to topics that they are really interested in (or already have a background in).

Like in our team’s case, it has been really easy for our in-house media specialist (Vincent Sevilla) to penetrate a-list design websites/blogs (like Buzzfeed, Behance, etc…) since he’s really into that niche.

vincent

Create your own case studies

Research is a vital process in content development. And sometimes, this phase takes weeks to get done. So why not make the most out it by making your own case studies while you’re doing your research.

There are so many ways to gather data for case studies. It may take you some time to get the content done, but the result it can yield is definitely a force to reckon with.

Below are some of the ways that you can do to get data for case studies (while you’re on your campaign’s research phase):

  • Get actual data from other publishers/bloggers. Since they’ll be benefiting through the exposure they can get when you publish it on your site (or on other sites), the chances getting them to participate may be a bit higher (ex: Nick Eubanks did this type of case study about my blog’s evergreen content strategy and published it on Moz).
  • Consumer surveys using Google Consumer Surveys and/or SurveyMonkey. Use the collected data to create a data-driven content.
  • Ask or request existing data from your client that they are willing to publicized – particularly those that are relevant to their products/services/consumers.
  • Reach out to their loyal customers and ask if they’ll be interested to share their experiences or the results they’ve got in using your client’s products/services.
  • Make your own experiments. You can also document your research process (as well as your findings), as you can transform this as a comprehensive content/research paper.

What’s important is to be able to provide accurate information to your readers. That’s what users consume and share – and certainly what Google will most likely rank.

Further reading:

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Duckers August 19, 2013 at 12:41 am

This is one of the parts of this job I find most interesting – learning about client subject areas for content creation. Being able to absorb information when researching an industry is key, which for me is a mix of staying organised and learning to speak the same language as stakeholders in that industry (and I don’t mean that metaphorically – you have to ‘channel’ your clients, and language is key). I wrote a bit about my approach here:

http://bg-seo.com/going-native-for-client-work/

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Sean August 19, 2013 at 1:30 am

Clap clap clap*
Sometimes the obvious eludes us – really good hit with the FAQ and FQS. Good tip for start-out content marketers.

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Ron August 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Research, research, research! That has always been the way to go and I know there are those out there that don’t like to research but content IS key and if you have bad content (and I have seen it time and time again) you are not going to advance the way you want to. With researching online, talking to other and clients or potential clients you can really learn a lot about the product or service you are wanting to learn about. Great post!!

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Charles Floate@God of SEO August 19, 2013 at 4:03 am

I’ve found myself hiring more and more content writers as of recent, though I’ve found a really good service that provides quality content no matter the niche (It’s mine! No sharing! muhahaha)

The short outreach style I like, I’m always dropping emails to a few industry leaders for comments, though I haven’t used Twitter (yet) for it specifically. I actually need to work on some industry leader style outreach again soon.

I don’t use FAQs, I prefer Yahoo Answers as that kind of style, go to the industry/category you’re in and find what the community is asking about, then build posts around the questions they’re asking.
Great article (as always) Jason!

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Steven August 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

Great topic, and relevant for a lot content marketing consultants.

One of the best ways to create content is find something that worked in one industry and then adapt it to the next one. For example, in the Scandinavian travel industry you can create “The Complete Travel Guide to Scandinavia” and then if you change industry to premium car insurance, you can create “The Complete Guide to Premium Car Insurance”.

The same applies for Infographics, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, etc.

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Chetan August 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

Great post again, Jason! You never disappoint your readers!

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Sunday August 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

No one industry is the same but I agree that one can actually create valuable content for an indusstry he/she has limited knowledge of. Just a little research on what makes the industry tick would help.

Also, the idea of investing on someone who is experienced in the industry to help create the content is a a big move that should be followed.

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George Michael August 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm

hiring someone help is a good idea. But the writer must influence the industry he writes about. That’s why copywriter becomes an attractive job these days

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Davide August 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Thanks for sharing. Very informative.

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Vivek Krishnan August 20, 2013 at 5:51 am

This is something I regularly encounter. It is quite tricky to figure out content on topics you just aren’t used to. A drawback on hiring is that most writers I get are pretty new to the topic as well. The point about asking out right to industry leaders makes sense though.

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Dannie S. Harrington August 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

The best traditional publishers have always had a freelance network. So, we know it’s a good idea to leverage cost-effective resources to scale and provide more specialized expertise. But, realistically, they just author more content, they’re not really curating or providing original commentary – two highly effective methods to optimize your content. Ultimately, this is too limiting for a freelance network model to fully scale.

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Thomas Andrews August 21, 2013 at 1:44 am

Thanks for sharing this wonderful thought about the content marketing. Creating the content based on FAQ’s is the most highlighted one and definitely it will attract the industry-oriented persons.

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Cher Cabula August 21, 2013 at 6:40 am

Wow, this was an insightful read. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind when faced with this task. Thanks!

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Krystian Wlodarczyk @ seo tool by Positionly August 22, 2013 at 2:27 am

Nice article. Plain writing isn’t the hardest in regard to topics you’re not an expert in. Research is. It could be a struggle because it’s tremendously time consuming, but necessary if you want to have your job done right.

You don’t have to be an expert in a particular field, but you can have good writing skills to put things together in a neat way.

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Emma Citrix August 22, 2013 at 3:36 am

Hey Jason,
Great post.Thanks for sharing the useful tips.I’ll definitely follow them.

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Daniel Law@Big Vision SEO August 22, 2013 at 3:50 am

Couldn’t agree more with the phrase “Content is an investment”. Producing valuable content on a consistent basis is never easy to do. This is the key ingredient of building a loyal community as well as high search engine rankings.

Cheers for the article Jason.

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Fairuze @Cloudrock August 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Oh boy, this is a very relevant article for me. Mostly deal with B2Bs with no or under-resourced marketing teams, so content creation can get a bit hard.

Bookmarked.

Fairuze

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Spook SEO August 23, 2013 at 2:40 am

Thanks for sharing Jason. I can’t agree with you more about simply tweeting the industry leaders on influencers about the topic.

For my part, I usually comment on posts that they’ve written and not to mention the AMA’s in inbound. It just gets the job done as far as getting insights from the leaders.

Awesome tips though!

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Elbert August 23, 2013 at 5:15 am

Oh yeah that’s true. Getting help and lots of research and experience can make you expert if you are not expert in specific industry. But if a person is not passionate or interested about that field then he can never be an expert.

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Bilal Malik August 23, 2013 at 6:14 am

Thanks Jason. Nice ways to make content for industries.
The easiest way I’ve found on the content is that we should choose only those topics in which we are expert.
As far as industries concerned, if we don’t have knowledge then it is good to find to lacks in other articles for making points for own article. I often do this. It takes time but it gives me good results.

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Tahir: SEO Expert Inbound Marketing Specialist August 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

This was an interesting read, good post Jason!

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Semidoppel August 26, 2013 at 10:40 am

Now I know which aspect is missing or lacking the last time I have a client. I should have gathered more data before proceeding. Thanks Sir Jason (it’s been a while ^_^)

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Ron Marek August 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

For those domain developers with a little extra money and time, instead of hiring someone many programmers have created software that generates convincing looking content in a few second, but don’t just copy and paste, make sure you check it for uniqueness using the major internet based plagiarism site, otherwise goodluck to all involved in creating useful websites.

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Clive Hitchcock August 30, 2013 at 12:24 am

Researching and going beyond yourself by asking other people more knowledgeable on the field is definitely one of the ways. Thanks for the post

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Asher Elran September 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Checking on quora.com or yahoo answers can be a good place to research an industry you are not an expert in. At least that is where I usually start. Or hiring someone from odesk to do all the writing and research can be a time saving option.

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Kyle September 20, 2013 at 12:37 am

This is a very informative post especially for content people. Thanks Jason. I hope I can join in one of your seminars. Cheers!

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SEO Nottingham September 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

What i do is read books and study the topic before writing any content for my clients i’m a regular in my local book shop. Great content is King and always will be my saying is reader first SEO second.

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Alexandra Petean-Nicola September 25, 2013 at 1:57 am

I always think research is key. The more you read about a particular field, the more you know, better form and opinion and create better content. Great outlines for where you can start that research. It’s hard at first when you get put in a new domain in which you have to create relevant content each day.

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Ben October 1, 2013 at 6:16 am

Hi Very difficult to to write on topics which are not related to my field. When i started my tech related blog, i wasn’t able to write articles about tech; because i was unfamilier with all jargons related to tech. Even my spelling are grammar errors were ridiculous, but with the passage of time i learned very much about tech and now writing successfully.

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Sajid Khan December 3, 2013 at 5:46 am

Thank You Jason. Nice ways to make content for industries.

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Gary Smith December 5, 2013 at 3:54 am

Sorry to late reply, but this was an insightful read. I will be sure to keep this in mind when faced with this task. Thanks!

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Abhijit Gupta December 13, 2013 at 2:55 am

This is a very informative post especially for content writer. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind when faced with this task. All the information given here is very helpful and clearly explained .This will surely help us.

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Bruce Smith December 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Hey Jason, Great post. Thanks for sharing the useful tips. I’ll definitely follow them whenever I will work for my website. Thank you for your attractive ideas.

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Danny February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Thanks Jason :-) Nice share very useful :-)

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