Some people are better at talking than they are at writing.
And the web is built on the written word.
I've worked with CEOs, business leaders and community influencers that are incredibly passionate about what they do. The people that build companies and organise movements. The thinkers, speakers, makers and doers.
These people already know who they are - they don't have trouble introducing themselves at networking events. But their online presence isn't working for them to the extent it could.
Social posts go ignored.
Brilliant ideas remain on notepads, never to be shared.
World-changing stories of success go untold.
These leaders want to take their business, and personal brand, to the next level. They want to be known for their unique ideas, and be the first name that comes to mind for their particular domain.
They want more sales, more leads coming in, and a body of public work that shows how much of an expert they really are.
But the challenge persists; writing is a chore.
Writing is something they know pays dividends, but takes a lot of time and energy, so it forever gets pushed back.
Thought leaders aren't always natural writers
Leadership character types are fascinating: the introverted tinkerer, the seductive speaker, the passionate preacher, the strategic thinker. Each leader has a different way of doing things and different language they communicate in.
They've got some amazing qualifications and experiences under their belt, and have the ability to lead a team and execute grand visions. But when it comes to getting these things written down, it just doesn't quite work.
Sometimes it's a unique sense of grammar. Sometimes an uninspiring pile of jargon appears instead of a moving piece of narrative explanation. Or it just never happens at all.
I've been both the buyer and the supplier in this scenario. I've felt the urge to download my brain onto an outside party, just to get some coherent thoughts out of an enthusiastic but scattered mind. And I've wrangled the ramblings of loquacious luminaries, turning passion into precision prose.
So these are the issues we're solving at Expert Machine.
The Expert Machine system
We're creating a system where experts can become true thought leaders and industry influencers without having to force themselves to write.
We help with research to find out what their audience are looking for. This informs the content strategy we use to develop future articles.
What do they get asked the most? What do they want to be known for?
We conduct short, easy interviews and let our clients talk about these pressing issues. We then some additional research, writing and editing.
Then we provide high-quality, SEO-optimised copy for them to publish online, either under the company name or their own. It's a data-driven sort of ghostwriting.
It's all made as easy as possible: the ideas come first.
(One day, in the not too distant future, we're going to help our clients write books, too. It's an exciting project - get in touch if you're interested.)
Why writing matters to business
John Collison of Stripe, the $36b payments company, sums up how excellent content is a deep part of his company culture:
We’re always shocked that the returns to writing well are really high. And it feels like the world hasn’t fully internalized that.
When you have a 3000 person global company like Stripe, you’re going to need to do lots of asynchronous communication. Obviously not everything is going to the entire company, but generally documents have many more readers than they have writers. It behooves you to put time into your communication. We have always been shocked to the degree that people underestimate and underemphasise crisp, written communication.
We try to do that both internally in artifacts and externally.
We often talk about this, on say the marketing side, where one of our principles when it comes to the marketing at Stripe is that we speak up to the reader. You’re not trying to dumb things down for someone who isn’t familiar with something like this. You are speaking to an intelligent person who is busy, but knows what they’re talking about, knows what they’re doing. And it’s your job to kind of help educate them on this. We certainly made that a big part of the culture early on. I think like any culture, it’s self perpetuating. I think people for whom that’s important tend to be drawn to it.
That pretty much sums it up.
So the vision is this: a process that helps thought leaders get their expertise in front of the right people. No technical hassle, just a service that helps them grow their voice, their personal brand, and their business.
The future of thought leadership.
Send a message if you're interested.
—Michael, Expert Machine