What kind of expert is best?


Years ago, when I was a fledgling writer, I would get frustrated to read guest columns in my favorite magazines by non-writers. You know what I mean: fitness articles by Gabby Reese or business columns by Donald Trump. As a writer, I argued that teaching a writer a topic was easier than teaching a subject-matter expert how to write. I assumed I could research and write about fitness or finance with less effort than Gabby or Donald, since they weren't trained writers.

Of course, the Web has taught us differently. Now, everyone's a writer and everyone has a voice. Some of my favorite blogs are written by experts, not writers.

I've also learned, as a magazine editor, how important it is to publish pieces from subject-matter experts. There's room for writers to become experts and room for experts to become writers. Both types of writing have value and both types attract readers.

Bill Inmon looks at a similar situation: balancing business and technology expertise. When developing data warehouses and BI systems, do organizations need business people with technology skills, technology people with business skills - or both? There's no single answer, but if you read all three articles in the series, you'll find a range of options. Which one works best at your company?


About Author

Alison Bolen

Editor of Blogs and Social Content

+Alison Bolen is an editor at SAS, where she writes and edits content about analytics and emerging topics. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

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