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Unlocking Collaboration: Empowering B2B Content Creation through AI-Driven Strategies

In the world of B2B marketing, creating content that both makes sense to people and captures their interest as they move through the buying journey is like a mix of creativity and strategy. However, things get a bit tricky when marketers need the help of experts who know all the technical details required to create content that informs and converts. These experts, known as Subject Matter Experts or SMEs, hold the key to creating content that actually works. But getting their time and knowledge can be a bit like solving a puzzle.

Think of it this way: imagine you're trying to make a cake, but you need a secret ingredient that only someone else knows. You're the one who knows how to put all the ingredients together, but without that secret ingredient, the one that you don’t know, the recipe won't be as amazing as it could be. It’s the same situation when it comes to creating marketing content that needs a SME’s input. What’s more, this situation becomes even trickier in fields where things are really specialised and not easy to explain.

So, getting the perfect mix of marketing magic and technical know-how to bake this amazing cake, can be quite a challenge. As a B2B marketer, you want your marketing to be like a well-run restaurant kitchen or a cool dance where everyone is in sync, but sometimes it feels more like dancing to different tunes.

I experienced this at Technically Write IT. I’ve been with the company for just under two years now and when I first started working there it was content heaven. Because we’re a knowledge management company, we had so much content to work with as a marketing team. But, as we worked through this content, we came to the realisation that we are struggling to create new, effective content in this niche industry that we are operating in.

The good news is, we fixed the problem. There are ways to make the process of creating effective content in a B2B company smoother. It’s a delicate process of nurturing a supportive relationship between AI tools and subject matter experts, and today, I am going to show you how to do that – how to get the right information from your experts using AI tools, mix it with your marketing skills, and create content that really hits the mark.

Zia Reddy talking about AI strategies for creating B2B content.

Photo Credit: @CreativelyContenting

The Challenges of Collaboration in B2B Content Creation

As B2B marketers, our role is to blend the knowledge held by subject matter experts with our marketing know-how. The goal is to come up with marketing materials that not only make sense to the audience but also help us achieve our marketing and overall business goals.

Yet, the road to creating this kind of content is far from easy. Both the marketing department and SMEs face limitations in terms of resources. SMEs are usually hired by companies to do their specific jobs, and most of their time is spent on tasks they can bill for. This is especially true in fields like consulting. This creates a bit of a puzzle for marketers: how do you collaborate with SMEs who have limited time and still get the content you need using your own limited marketing resources? On top of that, there's a bit of tension because the main role of SMEs and their departments isn't to create content – they're not there to "do the marketer's job." So, it's not uncommon for a sigh or an eye-roll when an email arrives or a question about content comes up in a meeting.

Unlocking Collaboration for Effective B2B Content Creation

Understanding this, we at Technically Write IT, took a moment to step back and analyse the situation. Our goal was to get a better understanding of the various challenges needing our attention to fix the issue at hand. The challenges we found was quite illuminating:

1. Resource Constraints in the Marketing Department

We realised that simply flooding the marketing department with more content creators wasn't a practical solution. Similarly, simply churning out endless amounts of content would also not be the most effective way of addressing this situation. Resources have their limits.

2. Expertise Focus of the Marketing Department

While we in the marketing department understand the different services that Technically Write IT offers and their impact on businesses, our strength as marketers lies in marketing. We're not the experts who actually implement the services. However, that technical and specialised perspective is crucial for creating a compelling hook in our content.

3. SMEs' Time and Energy

The subject matter experts we rely on have limited time and energy they can allocate to company matters. It's a finite resource we need to be considerate of.

4. SMEs' Expertise vs. Marketing Focus

Our SMEs excel in their specialised subjects, not in marketing. So, the content they provide, though rich in knowledge, often lacks a marketing spin. It's on us as a marketing team to refine it to match our marketing goals.

Several conversations, brainstorming sessions, and meetings later, we decided on four aspects we would focus on to find a solution to these challenges:

1. Focused Content Creation

We realised we needed to be more precise in what we create. This involves aligning content topics, types, and audiences for a more tailored approach.

2. Varied Content Tools

We saw the need to explore different methods and tools for content creation. Thinking outside the box might lead us to more effective ways of communication.

3. Streamlining SME Contributions

It was evident that we should make it as easy as possible for SMEs to contribute their expertise. Reducing obstacles in their way is key.

4. Effective Stakeholder Expectation Management

A stronger focus on managing stakeholder expectations was required. We needed alignment between what's expected and what's feasible.

Implementing the Solutions: A Closer Look at Our Journey

Let me walk you through the steps we took to achieve these four goals:

1) Focused Content Creation

To make this happen, we embarked on a thoughtful reassessment of how we create content, considering the different stages in the sales journey. What does that mean? Well, think about it like this: as people move through the sales process, their reasons for consuming content change. At the top of the sales funnel, they generally aren’t even aware of the problem they're facing. So, the content that we create for someone at this stage of the sales funnel should focus on making them aware of the problem they are facing. But as they move closer to making a decision and move down the sales funnel, they're already aware of the problem and aware of us as a solution. That's when our content should show them why we're the best choice. What’s more, the type of content we create should also change to match the different stages of the sales funnel. Case studies are, for example, more effective when targeting people at the bottom of the funnel than people at the top of the funnel.

Armed with this understanding, we collaborated closely with the heads of various departments to understand which services they plan to focus on in the coming months. With the help of AI-powered tools, we conducted keyword and keyphrase research to understand the ongoing conversations related to these services. This gave us a window into the questions people were asking.

For example, considering our technical writing services at TWi, we turned to keyword research to find the most common questions about "technical writing." Some of the queries we found were:

· What exactly is technical writing?

· Why does technical writing matter?

· How does technical writing differ from regular writing?

· Can you give an example of technical writing?

· Will AI replace technical writing?

This valuable insight didn't just tell us what people were searching for, but it also helped us shape our content. We used this information to create content that matches what people are looking for and where they are in their decision-making journey.

2) Varied Content Tools

After successfully using AI to refine our content targeting and considering the advancements in AI software for content creation, we naturally ventured into exploring other AI tools to enhance our B2B marketing content creation efforts. This exploration was particularly crucial given our limitations in resources.

Enter AI-powered content creation tools like ChatGPT, Jenni AI, QuillBot, and Bing AI for copywriting, Biteable and Veed for video content, Dall-E and Midjourney for images, and Answer the Public and Ubersuggest for keyword research.

It's worth noting at this point that our aim wasn't to replace the role of SMEs or human creators in using these tools in our marketing department. Instead, we embraced these AI tools as complementary resources. We blended their capabilities with the expertise of our colleagues from various departments to strengthen our content creation process. This collaborative approach merged technology and human skills harmoniously.

This brings me to the next point on our journey.

3) Streamlining SME Contributions

As we touched on earlier, one of the challenges we faced was bridging the gap between marketers and subject matter experts. You see, when we hand over a content brief to an SME (you know, that document outlining keywords, the article's scope, who it's for, and all that), we're essentially asking them to switch hats and blend their technical expertise with a marketing perspective. The result often leans towards a highly technical piece, which, if time permits, needs to be reworked to fit the marketing mould and achieve the intended impact. This got us thinking: could we flip this process using AI, having SMEs tweak marketing content for technical precision?

Let's consider a case in point. Remember those questions we found from our keyword research?

· What exactly is technical writing?

· Why does technical writing matter?

· How is technical writing different from regular writing?

· Can you show an example of technical writing?

· Will AI replace technical writing?

These queries indicated a need to educate our audience on technical writing and its business significance. Equipped with this insight, we started with an article that addressed these questions. Then came the AI part. We used AI-powered writing tools, inputting these questions to generate an article optimised for search engines. This draft formed the foundation of our marketing approach, which we then handed over to our technical writing SME for refining.

In this “refining” phase, we shared the article's purpose and clarified who we were talking to. We encouraged the SME to add their personality and style while staying true to the content's goals. The outcome? A piece of macro content (the article) that is made up of micro-content bits, each tackling a specific question. This modular setup made it easy to repurpose these bits into various content formats like infographics, short videos, images, and more.

Our strategy of offering content for review, rather than expecting SMEs to craft from scratch, has some perks. First, it provides a clear structure, helping SMEs organise their thoughts. Second, it triggers memory about key points that might have been overlooked, all while keeping the content's purpose in mind. Most importantly, it's a time and energy saver for both SMEs and the marketing team. Additionally, tools like Bing AI point to sources of information, saving the hassle of manual verification. This streamlined approach makes the content review process more efficient.

In a world where resources are scarce, this method makes the most of what we have. Plus, it takes on the elephant in the room: the fear of AI replacing humans. By using AI as a supportive tool, we're not just demystifying its role, but also fostering curiosity and engagement.

So far, our journey has involved AI in shaping targeted content and collaborating with AI tools to create content alongside SMEs. But there's more to the story. To get SMEs fully engaged, we had to set everyone's expectations right. This takes us to the final piece of the puzzle.

4) Effective Stakeholder Expectation Management

Let me explain why we place such a strong emphasis on expectation management. Central to this concept is the mindful preservation of emotional energy for everyone involved. It's important to remember that our main aim here is to facilitate seamless SME participation to encourage their willingness to actively engage with the content creation process. However, it's crucial to acknowledge the finite nature of their time and energy as a resource.

Expanding on this, effective expectation management involves more than the basic aspects, like communicating target audience profiles and content objectives – like we usually do in a content briefing document. It also requires a strategic approach to our interactions with SMEs. When you think about it, every interaction that we have with them effectively asks something of them; we are asking them to invest their time and energy on our behalf. Recognising this dynamic, we implemented a refined approach to our interactions.

We opted to limit our communication to specific days and designated time slots within the week. This approach not only facilitated a natural rhythm for content creation milestones but also acknowledged the emotional investment required from SMEs. For example, by restricting our communication to Mondays between 12:00 and 14:00, it naturally followed that milestones are slated for the following Monday between 12:00 to 14:00. This way, SMEs know exactly when to expect to hear from us and they know that there wouldn't be surprise emails piling up.

By sticking to this structured rhythm, we make sure our interactions follow a predictable pattern. No more mid-week check-ins or sudden Friday requests. Once a milestone is agreed upon and the initial request is sent out on Monday, the next conversation happens on the following Monday.

A secondary advantage of this process lies in its compatibility with employee Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The milestones can be seamlessly integrated into performance evaluations, aligning with the cadences woven into this strategy.

In essence, effective expectation management isn't solely about communication clarity; it's about preserving emotional energy, optimising engagement, and creating a harmonious framework that respects the boundaries of everyone involved. Through this approach, we're not only enhancing the content creation process but also infusing an element of predictability into a dynamic landscape.


The journey towards unlocking collaboration and empowering B2B content creation has been nothing short of transformative. The challenges we faced in trying to bake that cake with the SMEs have been both intricate and demanding. Challenges that we were able to overcome by not just considering AI strategies on their own, but looking at people-focused AI-driven strategies.

As we reflect on this transformative journey we have gone through, we are met with promising results that underscore the efficacy of our approach. While the implementation of these strategies at TWi is still in its early stages, the impact has been tangible, promising a future where collaboration and content creation are no longer at odds.

Through meticulous analysis, innovative thinking, a commitment to enhancing collaboration, and fostering a supportive relationship between AI and SMEs, we have forged a path that promises to reshape the landscape of content creation in the B2B space.


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