In a world full of rainbows, butterflies, and an unlimited supply of Reese's peanut butter cups, content marketers would always be able to write about topics they know and understand. But in the real world, we have to write about topics that are far outside of our area of expertise. Sometimes, we even write about topics we have absolutely no interest in.
During my time at Impulse Creative, I've written about topics ranging from bankruptcy law, rare coins, hurricane shutters, septic tanks, insurance policies, human resources, and telecommunications. Oh, and sometimes I get to write about inbound marketing.
Content marketing means stepping outside of your comfort zone and writing about topics you know nothing about. It also means getting to learn something new every single day.
The next time you're asked to write about a topic that's unfamiliar to you, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Research, research, research
The first step in writing about a subject you know nothing about is to do research. What information is out there already? What are other people writing about? Is there anything big going on in the industry?
During the research stage, spend a lot of time reading. Do Google searches on keywords that are relevant to the industry and business. Make a note of credible and helpful websites that you can turn to for information in the future. Also, don't be afraid to look at social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Businesses share a ton of great content on social media, and you'll likely stumble on some really helpful information.
There's a good chance that you'll get inspiration for content such as blog posts, eBooks, or social media. Write down those ideas, and keep them in a safe place for later. (Trello is a really great tool for this.)
Figure out who you're writing to
Understanding your buyer personas is an important step in creating any sort of content, but it's especially important when you're writing about a niche you're unfamiliar with. If you don't know what you're audience is looking for, how can you give it to them? Creating buyer personas is a great way to identify your target audience, understand their pain points, and learn what they're searching for. Once you've mapped out your buyer personas, you'll have a much easier time with coming up with topics for blogs, eBooks, website content, and more.
Find subject matter experts to talk to
If you work at an agency, talk to your client about what their company does, hot topics in the industry, and where they go to get industry-related information. Find out what questions customers frequently ask them. Clients don't expect you to know everything, and they'll be more than happy to provide you with any information you need.
If you're doing marketing for a company in-house, find someone within the company that knows a lot about the industry and product or service. This could be a member of the sales team, an on-site technician, or even the CEO. Sit down with as many people as you can, and ask them the same questions as above. Pick their brains, and don't be afraid to reach out to your coworkers for topics.
Writing about niches you know nothing about isn't easy, and it's certainly more time consuming than writing about things you know and love. When you first start out, expect to make some mistakes, but as with most things, the more you practice, the better you'll be.