How to position a Subject Mater Expert

A subject matter expert (SME) is someone who knows a topic, industry or line of business inside and out, backwards and forwards. They have unique insight into the current landscape and have a pulse on market trends.

Positioning SMEs as a company spokesperson and industry thought leader is a key pillar of any successful public relations strategy, and can help build credibility, increase overall visibility and support business development.

A few examples of leveraging SMEs as part of an integrated communications strategy are outlined below:

Media Positioning & Bylines

Now more than ever, reporters need sources. Newsrooms are shrinking and journalists are often left wearing multiple hats and covering several beats. All reporters need experts they can trust to help inform their stories and provide on-the-record insight – providing your SME with the opportunity to be a voice for the industry.

In addition, many publications supplement editorial content with contributed articles from credible industry experts. This creates the opportunity to reach target audiences and provide expert commentary on market outlook, predictions, trends or challenges in the industry.

 Company Blogs & Owned Content

However, you don’t need to rely on third party sources, like media, to generate visibility for your SME. Company blogs, podcasts and marketing videos are also platforms to position thought leaders while still remaining in control of the content. The owned content can be further amplified via company newsletters, social media, the website and the SMEs’ professional networks.

Not to mention, publishing owned content helps boost SEO!

 Events & Conferences

Another way to garner visibility for your organization and SME is through industry speaking opportunities, like conferences, industry roundtables, local events and more. Being a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and relevant industry associations is a great way to begin garnering speaking opportunities.

Social Amplification

Developing a thoughtful social media strategy is another tactic to position your SME as a thought leader. Using social platforms, especially LinkedIn and Twitter, can help an SME reach target audiences and provide real-time insight and commentary into relevant media stories, industry updates, trends and more.

Now that we have identified the different ways to position your company’s subject matter experts, the next step is media training. Don’t miss my previous post, 15-Minute Mini Media Training.

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