Fight Night: Content Writing Skills vs Subject Matter Expertise

Content Writing Skills vs Subject Matter Expertise

If you’re a regular reader of the Paragraft blog (and with such an awesome selection of content tips, tricks and inspiration, why wouldn’t you be?), you’ll know the important roles subject matter expertise and creative writing skills play in the creation of high-value content.

But which is more important?

After all, the best subject matter experts (SMEs) aren’t always the most competent content creators, while the most creative content wizards can’t be expected to know everything about, well, everything!

Following a recent binge of the entire Rocky series (yep, including the spin-offs), in this writer’s head, there’s only one way to find out: put them both in the ring.

So, without further ado, let’s kick off fight night so you can make sure your content is the Italian Stallion of its space.


The contenders 

Subject matter expertise

In the grey corner, weighing in at invaluable to your brand’s authority: subject matter expertise!

Leveraging SMEs in your content creation is the most effective way of ensuring unbeatable informational value that positions your content as the best in its space.

That’s because subject matter experts bring, uh, expertise to your content - the clue’s in the name.

Content writing skills 

Aaaand in the green corner, weighing in at invaluable to your content’s engagement: content writing skills!

Content writing skills encompass a wide range of creative tricks, techniques and know-how.

Creative content writing skills can often be the deciding factor in whether or not you engage, entertain and stay in the minds of your readers.

The fight 

Which is more important? Ding, ding, ding…

Subject matter expertise can be leveraged in all sorts of ways. The trick is to utilise this expertise to improve the quality of your content by providing the reader with greater value, more insight and better solutions.

Of course, this expertise should also be one of a kind - after all, there’s a whole lotta information on anything and everything already available online.

As a result, to most effectively utilise the input of an SME, strive for unique perspectives, unvoiced opinions and exclusive advice that sets you apart from competing content.

The result will be content loved by both audiences and search engines: high-quality, high-value content that establishes your brand as a trusted authority within your space. 

But that’s not to say content writing skills are the underdog. 

Importantly, just because you’re a good writer, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good content writer (although it certainly helps!).

That’s because successful content marketing requires a strategic approach to writing. It requires creators to be both technical and creative - no easy feat.

The first must-have quality is flawless grammar. Accurate spelling, accurate phrasing, accurate punctuation - this is non-negotiable.

Secondly, you need to know how to write in a style that’s digestible and comprehensible to your target audience.

Ensuring an accessible level of readability in your writing is easier said than done, especially for creators who are used to writing at a more sophisticated or academic level. 

Third, you’ll need content writing skills that complement the tone and style of your brand. Your brand will likely have a defined tone of voice (and should even have a dedicated style guide), and content writers should be able to seamlessly adopt this to ensure consistency in message and presentation.

The final (and perhaps most valuable) writing skill required is creativity. Writers must find unique angles, fresh approaches and quirky concepts to breathe new life into old ideas and create engaging content that inspires readers to take the desired action.

This is particularly important for brands creating content in what we’ll call less inspiring industries, where content can often be a little more dull and matter of fact.

The scorecard

Subject matter expertise and content writing skills both go the distance and more than justify their status as heavyweight champions of top-quality content.

So, at the end of the twelfth, it’s down to the judges - which has come out on top?

Well, much like Rocky and Apollo, the two are inseparable - meaning we’re calling this one a draw.


That’s because high-value content should demonstrate both subject and creative expertise to ensure each piece performs to its full potential.

But as we’ve already touched on, arming your content team with both of these integral skills can be harder than a right hook from Ivan Drago. As Rocky proves, though, this doesn’t mean you can’t win.

Your first option is to find an SME that your team of creative experts can interview, utilising the subject matter expert as a source of thorough research and information validation. 

We’ve already taught you how to woo an SME to level up your content - check it out here

Alternatively, if you’re a subject specialist struggling to put your knowledge to paper, why not outsource your content creation, pairing your topical expertise with the certified creative wizardry of professional content writers?

As luck may have it, Paragraft can help you with exactly that.

Our convenient and cost-effective content subscription packages enable your brand to unlock the power of content marketing without having to find creative expertise in-house. Whether you want us to work to your brief or take care of all your creative heavy lifting, best-in-space content is just a few clicks away.

Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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