Discover the Combustible Content Hidden in Your Organization (by Josh Miles) | Business LockerRoom
Oct 29

Discover the Combustible Content Hidden in Your Organization

by Josh Miles

Managing your content marketing workflow begins with leveraging your firm’s expertise.

Welcome to the ninth installment of the Bold Brand Challenge. In our last post we discussed how to start building core content for your website and email list. We’ll unpack email marketing further in our next post, but this time we’ll look at how to find content marketing topics, authors, and schedules.

Who is going to write all of this content anyhow?

When it comes to content marketing, the biggest challenges marketers share are:

  1. What are we going to write about / where will we find our content?
  2. Who is going to write it?
  3. How do we manage our publishing schedules (as an often distant third concern)?

In many organizations, the marketers aren’t necessarily the subject matter experts.

You may have a lot of subject-matter experts at your company, but they’re probably not actively contributing to marketing. So how can you get your marketing team to work with your experts effectively?

Sounds great, but it’s tough to help them effectively contribute to your marketing efforts.

When you have highly-talented subject matter experts in your organization, it can be extremely difficult to get their time and attention for marketing.

Why is that? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. They’ve probably never done it before
  2. Marketing is not (typically) billable, and
  3. They already have a full plate

The key to getting your subject matter experts involved is to help them identify the combustible content that they’ve already created.

What does combustible content mean? Let’s think about the definition of combustible. Something that’s combustible isn’t exploding today, but has the potential to be explosive in the future. Now apply that idea to content marketing. It’s all about identifying and refining the content that your company has been creating all along, and converting it to a marketing-ready element. It’s probably sitting throughout your organization, unutilized, often in plain site. Whether it’s a client deliverable, an RFP response, a brief, a conversation, a personal tweet, or an email, your experts have probably been creating great content for years. Don’t believe me? Ask you your team to check their sent email box—just search by topic. Voila!

If you want to teach your team to identify great content, you’ll need to coach them:

Remember, this will be a process. You’ll need buy-in from your team to make this happen, so help them succeed early on and watch them grow! They’ll have questions and concerns, but once you start, you’re more likely to succeed.

  • Walk them through the process and help them identify great pieces of content
  • Help them promote their personal brand and showing them what’s in it for them.
  • Finding things that they’ve already done that can serve as great content moving forward.

How else could you help?

Here’s a few more tips to uncover content from within your team:

  • Interview your subject matter experts and ghost write for them
  • Capture their thoughts on audio or video
  • Ask them to take a stab at writing
    (often the path of greatest resistance, but worth a shot!)

Let’s just state the obvious: your entire company isn’t likely to help you out with this on the first try. Your initial goal should be to identify one or two key staff who can help you out. I’d recommend the technical experts who have already shown an interest in writing, someone who has something to say, or someone who has been jockeying for the spotlight. If you help them shine, you’re sure to get more volunteers.

As you start to activate your subject matter experts, take some time to formalize the topics and timings you’d like to publish. Set your expectations low to begin, but set goals you can keep pace with. For example, shoot for producing 2-4 posts per month before you try to publish multiple times per week. Once you hit your first goal, ramp it up gradually.

Our team uses a simple shared spreadsheet in the cloud with Google Apps. What you use is less important than having a tool that gets used. We call this our content calendar. Use your content calendar to outline the topic, author, publish date and any other details you wish to share with your team.

Ultimately, any great content marketing program will take time to become habit. My vision is that eventually, contributing to marketing will be a standard requirement for any professional position. It’s a big goal, but we’ve got to start somewhere!


  1. Make a list of the 2-3 technical experts in your firm who could contribute to content production.
  2. Teach your new marketing contributors how to search for relevant topics in their sent email box.
  3. Even if it’s bare bones, set up a share content calendar to track your content production.

Remember, you can do this!

If you’ve missed any of our previous challenges, check them out here.

See you next month, when we’ll talk more about how to leverage one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools in a marketer’s arsenal: email. And remember to share your questions, challenges, and successes on your favorite social networks below—better yet, ask one of your subject matter experts to help you create some content around this topic.



About the Author

Josh Miles is a caffeine and Twitter addict, and the principal and founder of Miles Design. He was honored as one of Indianapolis Business Journal's 2013 40 Under 40. Josh is also the author of Bold Brand: The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm. His expertise is highly sought after by professional services firms from coast to coast.