It’s been a while since I last wrote a post here so I’ve decided to do something about it. Five months ago I started my first full time content marketing role working for a consultancy firm that supplies services for some of the world’s leading Investment banks in the city of London.
Now that I’ve been there for a while I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on the last 5 months and look back on what I’ve learned.
Getting to grips with a new subject matter
In my current role, I write about investment banking, it’s an industry that previously I knew nothing about. It’s been a steep learning curve learning about Capital markets and learning about numerous financial terminology that I’ve heard about but never quite knew what they meant. I started thinking about how you can get up to speed on a topic you’re unfamiliar with.
Reading extensively on the subject will help but you shouldn’t just confine your reading to the office. I regularly read the business sections of various newspapers during the week.
Reading will obviously help you understand the industry but it will give you more thoughts, opinions and ideas which will help you later on produce better content.
Don’t be afraid to ask the stupid question
Whether I’m writing a B2B article or a blog, I regularly have meetings with subject matter experts (SMEs) who have many years of experience working in investment banking.
When creating an article I will meet with them to discuss the topic in more detail. It helps if you think like a journalist by asking the right questions which will help in shaping the content you’re producing.
I’ve realised that you should never be afraid to ask what might seem like the stupid or obvious question. If you ask what appears to be a simplistic question, you usually get an answer that is perfect for the content you’re trying to create.
The writing process isn’t what you might think it is
Writing about a complex and challenging subject matter like investment banking means I can’t always write in the way I’m used to. Normally you would write an article in a linear way starting with a beginning, middle and end. I’ve found I can’t always write like this, a lot of the time I feel like I’m putting together a jigsaw rather than writing a piece of content.
I write a few sentences that I know will be good for my conclusion, I write a few more notes around different themes and ideas until I’ve got all the points I want. I then begin to rearrange these different sentences and paragraphs until they begin to form an article or blog. Each sentence or paragraph is very much like a piece of a jigsaw that you’re putting together. The natural flow of writing from the start to the finish isn’t there.
Don’t worry about writers block
I’ve heard people say that there’s no such thing as writers block. I’m not totally convinced by this. What I do know is that as writers we have periods where we feel more inspired and have more ideas than at other times.
I’ve realised that when I don’t feel inspired or don’t have any great thoughts I shouldn’t beat myself up about it – it’s part of the writing process. Write down anything that comes into your head even if you don’t think it’s great. It may still prove to be useful. Have a read of something about the topic, even if you’ve read it before. I’ve realised you need to have the confidence to know that ideas will come – just be patient.
Social media is a great resource for ideas
There are many journalistic skills that are useful for any content marketer. Knowing where and how to find information is a key skill for journalists. Many journalists use social media to find and track stories and I’ve started to do the same in my role.
I use Twitter and Youtube as a valuable resource to find out more about the investment banking industry. Youtube is a great educational resource and when I’ve struggled for ideas I’ve watched lots of videos featuring industry panel discussions which have really helped.
More and more businesses are looking for Content marketing people but it’s a role that not everybody understands and not everyone can do it effectively. Having the ability to write well and tell a story will always help but I’ve discovered there’s lots of other things that you learn which help in the process of creating great content.