If you have internal SMEs who are anxious to contribute but struggling to find their voice, here’s how to build a supportive content platform.
The market is excited to hear from your subject matter experts (SMEs). And your SMEs are often eager to contribute to the larger discussions in their field. But many don’t know how to get started, or they’re nervous about fostering discussions outside the company context, due to potential concerns about competition or professional views. In today’s landscape, which is hungry for expert points of view, creating a platform for your SMEs to share their insights with the world can help build your organization’s authority. It also can lead to more business. Here’s how to create a content platform that supports your SMEs and encourages them to lend their insights to grow your business.
Create an “experts” program: Start by identifying likely contributors to your program. Certain critical employees or rising stars will be obvious picks. However, unexpected people within your organization may have something to say. Your head of sales may be willing to speak to the challenges of working with customers in your industry, for example. Or a shy researcher may be excited to share his or her findings through the written word. Brainstorm and solicit participation. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious, and you’ll be well on your way to surprising insights. Once you’ve identified potential contributors, codify their participation into a formal program. Employees can take pride in taking part in the program and point to it in the larger context of their contributions to your organization.
Experiment with different formats: As you work to solicit participation from a wide range of SMEs, be creative with your formats. Some experts will shine in video interviews or podcast discussions. Others are best at short-form content, long-form thought leadership pieces, or even taking over your social media accounts for the day. Every SME will have different strengths, and marketing departments can benefit by incorporating their perspectives into a wide range of formats.
Provide support and incentives: Where many companies fail to engage SMEs is when they’re too busy with their existing responsibilities. If your company asks SMEs to contribute to content marketing without any support—on top of a demanding workload—it can quickly lead to burnout and people excusing themselves from the program. Offer support and find ways to plug their contributions into the company’s marketing and outreach. Simple services like editing or media coaching can help contributors feel more confident. Finally, consider allocating time in your SMEs’ schedules to contribute or offering them additional compensation to make the additional effort truly worth their time.
Organizations that build thriving SME contributor programs have strong strategies in place to recruit, support, and reward those individuals. Today’s content-centric marketers can make the most of these assets by finding ways to leverage them across initiatives and ensuring that experts who make the time to contribute truly benefit from their participation.