I wish I had a dollar for every time an architect told me: “I just want to be an architect, not a writer.” It usually comes on the heals of a discussion about blog posts and marketing. It’s also why I developed a system of interviews to get beyond that objection.
If you’re an architect or you work in the professional services world (architects, attorneys, accountants, doctors, engineers, etc.) you can understand where they’re coming from. They’re busy. They have 53 things on their to-do list and marketing, especially writing an article or blog post, isn’t one of them.
It’s so easy to put business development and marketing tasks off. Unfortunately, that’s where things can really start to come unravelled.
If you depend on a consistent flow of projects to sustain your business, you have to commit to consistent business development and marketing efforts.
When I started consulting with architecture firms across the country, it didn’t take long to figure out that that consistent effort was the biggest hurdle most firms faced. Whether they’re small firms where the person in charge of marketing wears several other hats, or they’re a larger firm that has a marketing manager, the struggle is real.
That struggle led me to develop a system to help those firms get over the hurdle.
If you read “My Prescription to Help Architects Succeed Using Social Media Marketing,” you got a peak at my full system of content and conversation-driven social media marketing. You also know that one of my top 3 rules for social media marketing is that you must create useful, helpful content for your Ideal Client.
As I describe in ‘my prescription,’ one of the cornerstones of just about every successful content-driven marketing strategy is a plan to engage the entire organization. The marketing team, or the person wearing that hat, cannot be the soul producer of your blog posts, YouTube videos, or Instagrams.
I began this article talking about architects not wanting to be writers so how do I reconcile that with the idea of engaging everyone in your firm to create content?
To be honest, for some time that was my big conundrum. It was the reason some marketing strategies fell apart. That’s when I started interviewing subject matter experts to help these firms.
The system I developed involves recording interviews with the people in your firm that know the most about the topic at hand. Using those recordings you can produce an article that draws on the expertise, the personality, even the actual words of your team. When it’s complete, you have an article that showcases your firm’s knowledge and expertise in a unique voice that helps your Ideal Client connect with the culture of your organization.
Here’s how the system works:
note: This system is designed to be implemented in-house, but we also use it effectively in remote scenarios as a service to some of our clients.
Review “My Prescription to Help Architects Succeed Using Social Media Marketing” for a more detailed description of why and how you need to develop it, but you need a list of topics. What are you going to cover in your articles? Once you have your list, take inventory of the personalities and expertise in your office. Who is the best person or who are the best people to talk about each topic. Add the names next to the topics on your list.
Again, review “My Prescription to Help Architects Succeed Using Social Media Marketing” for more on creating your calendar. For the purposes of this article, let me just say that this is a vitally important step. I suggest you create a calendar that’s shared firm-wide. Set the date and time to meet with each of the people you’ll interview on your specific topics. Limit your interviews to one hour. Schedule them a week in advance of the day you plan to publish the article on that topic.
It’s important to understand that consistency is key. Don’t schedule interviews and articles every week if that’s a pace you cannot sustain. There’s nothing wrong with starting slow and working up to your eventual goal.
Do you have a favorite talk show or interview show? Maybe you’re a fan of Terry Gross on NPR or Steven Colbert on ‘The Late Show’ or Howard Stern or Megyn Kelly on FOX. Whatever your bent, you understand that not a single one of those hosts sits down with their guest before the research is done and a list of questions is created.
When you prepare to interview the subject matter experts in your firm, it is not enough to simply select a topic and set a date on the calendar.
Do your research. Understand the topic you’ll talk about. How does it relate to your firm’s work? How does it relate to your community? To your competitors? To your Ideal Client?
Your favorite interviewer leads the conversation in a particular direction. You have to do the same. Don’t just sit down and say “Tell me everything I need to know about community centers.”
People love to talk about what they’re passionate about, but your goal is to produce an article that helps your Ideal Client in some way. (Review the “You Need Content” section of “My Prescription to Help Architects Succeed Using Social Media Marketing.”)
Think about the story you want to tell in your article. Structure your interview questions to lead the conversation along that path.
Now it’s time to write. Between your research and the information you gleaned from interviewing the experts in your firm you’ve probably already created your rough draft. Make your final edits, then press publish. It’s that simple.
Ok, of course it’s not “simple,” but I believe the system I’ve outlined may be the best way for you to leverage the culture, the personality and the expertise that exists throughout your entire organization. It’s a way for you to engage and empower your entire team AND a way to take much of the pressure off the shoulders of the marketing team.
My hope is that you’ll implement this system to produce better quality content on a more consistent basis than you’ve ever done before. Remember, that consistent business development and marketing effort is what creates the consistent flow of projects necessary to keep your firm running.
If you have any questions about my process or need help implementing the system in your firm, click this link to schedule a call with me.