If your content marketing program isn’t getting you the business you hoped it would, it might not be simply a lack of frequent, fresh content (though if that’s an issue, it certainly isn’t helping either). The quality of your content could depend on one key element: your subject matter experts.
Say what? If the term, “subject matter expert,” or SME, doesn’t mean much to you, it’s time you get SME-savvy. When you find a great SME, your content marketing program just flows; finding content is easier, and you publish it with an air of authority you may not otherwise have.
Oh, and people like it. Like, they retweet, repost and share kind of like it.
Here’s what you need to know about subject matter experts.
You probably know one already
If the term “expert” overwhelms you, it shouldn’t. While you do need someone who is an expert in their field, by definition your business must already have at least one of these.
For example, if you have a dry-cleaning business, surely there’s someone on your staff who is expert in fighting stains or keeping clothes and homes clean. If you own or manage a clothing boutique, you know what’s on trend and fashionable – or someone in your store does.
The problem is, usually the people creating your content aren’t the same as subject matter experts. That’s okay – in fact, that’s ideal! You want a copywriter who is an expert in, well, copywriting. But they’ll need to work with an SME to create content that is relevant, interesting and unique.
Out of one, many
Wrangling content (or even content ideas) out of an SME can be difficult. That said, once you get a little content, you can unleash your marketing prowess.
If you can get one readable piece (and that’s all it needs to be – readable) from an SME, you can create a lot of content pieces.
For example, let’s say you get that dry cleaning expert to create a list of household remedies or techniques for fighting stains. From that list, you can write a blog (or even several blogs, each highlighting one technique or home remedy). But let’s take it a little further. You can also break the content up into bite sized chunks, add some imagery and create a series of social media posts suitable for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And of course you know that videos get a lot of traction online, so why not turn that blog post into an informative video or a series of videos (you see where we’re going with this).
The bottom line: just one SME-created piece can keep your content marketing engine running for much longer than you thought.
Start the engine yourself
Of course, if you start requesting content from SME’s it might feel a lot like herding cats simply to get the material you need. Instead of this approach, schedule some time to sit down with your SME and ask questions. This puts the burden of time and recording on you – all your SME has to do is talk about his or her expert subject.
Ask pointed questions that will help you identify great subjects from which to write. For example, “What do most people not know about _____” might help you identify interesting angles on your business that readers will find relevant. Or how about, “How can people do this themselves?”
Don’t be afraid to scout
If you truly can’t think of an SME within your business – or if you want a variety of SMEs to tap into (always a smart idea), scout around for them! Search LinkedIn, Twitter and industry publications for sources frequently quoted. These “industry experts” can give your business credibility.
Before you contact a potential industry SME, make sure you define expectations from the start. Let him or her know you’re looking for expert advice on _____ and would like to ask a few questions.