You're Not an Industry Expert, So How Do You Write Credible Content?

 That message is down there somewhere, let me take another look.

That message is down there somewhere, let me take another look.

"A writer doesn't need to be an industry expert in order to write credible content. "

If copywriters and content marketers had to be experts in every field they wrote about, they'd be some of the most hireable people on the planet. Luckily for them, they don't, because a writer doesn't need to be an industry expert in order to write credible content. 

This post is inspired by Benji Hyam from Grow and Convert, who did a great case study on creating industry-specific content with little industry experience. My own thoughts on this (and they're brief) have to do with what I think the copywriter (or content writer's) role is.

Your role is to articulate 

That's about as complicated as it gets from my point of view, but let me explain. As a writer — this applies to marketers in general, I think — your expertise lies in identifying the message that will resonate with customers, and then articulating it in the most effective way.

Your role is NOT to become an overnight expert in artificial intelligence. Your role IS to understand the message the people who are experts, wish to communicate. 

You can think of it like going to see your family physician. You arrive for your appointment complaining of knee pain. The physician says that, in her experience, it's likely that you've damaged something and will need surgery. She won't then ask you to hop onto the bed so that she can open you up and fix it, no, she'll refer you to a knee surgeon.

Everyone involved in a project, whether it's a product launch, a VC pitch or whatever, has a role to play. We get that, right? Nobody expects the Executive Assistant to lead on TV interviews, so why do so many writers and marketers freak out about this?

You're afraid you'll lose the job

"Do you have experience with AI technologies?" It's the sort of question writers and marketers get all the time. What a potential client is doing by asking this, is looking for assurances. They're not asking you whether you're an expert in AI technologies, but often that's how it's perceived. 

Writers and marketers are afraid that if they say no, that they'll lose the job — and so they fake it. They scrabble for some tenuous link to a chatbot they once talked to back in '99.

My advice: Don't fake it. If you have legitimate experience, then great, show it off. If you don't, say that you don't, but explain that you're a really effective communicator, and give other examples of when you've turned complex information into credible content. 

Even if it's well-written, if you're not an expert, it's not credible, right?

Wrong. It's all a matter of how you label and pitch that content. It's something Benji mentions in his article, and I'll repeat it: Rope in the actual experts. Use quotes from them and publish the content with their name and their byline. 

Remember: As a writer, your role is to identify and articulate. Once the people who know the thing inside-out are happy, it's their name that goes on it. You've played your role.

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