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Writing as a Team Sport

When done well, a joint effort between a subject matter expert (SME) and a

specialty writer can result in an excellent blog or article while minimizing effort from the SME.


Professional services firms often need to demonstrate their expertise in order to turn prospects into clients. Frequently this involves creating blog posts or articles for professional journals.

The firm’s professionals usually have a more than adequate supply of article ideas. What they may lack is the time to write—billable work always takes priority!—or the writing skills to organize and develop a professional piece.

If the ideas are truly innovative and specialized, it’s unlikely that the firm can hire a writer to develop a blog or article on their own. Very few writers will have the content expertise to develop a piece that’s substantive and innovative on, for example, the firm’s own technology or methodology.

That’s where writing becomes a team sport—a joint effort between a subject matter expert (SME) (or two!) and a specialty writer. When done well, this approach can result in an excellent blog or article with the least effort from the SME(s).

The teamwork may be approached in different ways, to suit the individuals involved:

  • The SME can produce an outline, which the writer edits and discusses with the SME. Once they agree on content, often the SME can share documents which provide a foundation for an initial draft by the writer.

  • The writer can do some background preparation on the topic or related topics, and then interview the SME and draft an outline. The SME reviews the outline, makes corrections and suggestions, and the writer then expands to full text.

There can be infinite variations on these approaches, depending on the inclinations of the SME, the time constraints, and the nature of the project.

For the team to succeed, the writer needs:

  • Enough knowledge on related topics to ask the right questions

  • The agility to suit the work style and preferences of the SME(s)

The process iterates until SME and writer are both satisfied. In most cases there will be a couple of cycles of revisions. More cycles tend to be required where other levels of review are involved.

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