In a world of information overload, subject matter experts (SMEs) are more important than ever.
SMEs can help give important insights and context for your blog or marketing content and help keep readers engaged with the subject.
Their specific knowledge and expertise can be of value to your readers, but subject matter experts can also help with search engine optimization (SEO) by providing the keywords and keyword phrases that will get you found in web searches.
The good news is identifying subject matter experts isn’t brain surgery; it just takes some basic research on who’s out there sharing relevant information on the subjects you want to cover.
With more than 600 million active blogs on the market, the competition online has never been fiercer.
To stay competitive, you need subject matter experts.
We’ve put together this blog post to help you find SMEs for your business that can help improve your content strategy now and into the future.
Benefits of Using Subject Matter Experts for Website Content
Subject matter experts can contribute to your website in many different ways.
They can be instrumental in the ideation phases of your content strategy, lending their expertise to brainstorming sessions and subject ideas. Once you get to the writing phase, subject matter experts offer the most valuable service of all: subject-specific content that is truly accurate and relatable.
They can also help with promotion once the content is published, sharing it on their social media accounts or writing a post of their own about your article’s subject matter.
By collaborating with subject matter experts, you can ensure the final product is engaging, accurate, and high-performing.
1. Improve your EAT Score
One of the biggest benefits of using a subject matter expert is improving your EAT score, which measures a site’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
The subject matter expert can help you turn a keyword with low search volume into something that has higher commercial intent. They also add relevance to the subject of the post, which is crucial for improving SEO rankings.
Including an SME in one of your blog posts also increases their exposure. They’re likely already connected to other experts in their field who will see and read your content once it’s published online.
They get the benefit of leveraging your audience and online authority, and you get the benefit of leveraging theirs.
2. Earn Audience Trust
An SME can provide insight into your customers’ thoughts and questions, improving reliability and authority more than if they were written by an outside source with limited knowledge.
This can go a long way in improving audience trust, as they will know they are getting expert information from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
When you use subject matter experts, your blog can become an invaluable source of information for people interested in the same things they are—which makes them likely to share your content with their audiences, further improving your digital reach.
3. Publish Higher Quality Content
Using a subject matter expert in your content inevitably creates higher-quality content. This is because subject matter experts are experts for a reason, meaning they make sure the content you create is of the highest caliber.
Nearly a quarter of readers say bad content quality destroys a blog’s credibility. By using an SME, you’ll be creating content that is trustworthy and reliable. You can also use subject matter expert quotes or references throughout your blog post to reinforce the information and ideas being presented.
This makes it more likely that readers will continue reading what you have to say—and even share it with more people.
4. Use Correct Terminology and Lingo
One of the easiest ways to tell if a blog is credible or not is by checking for correct terms and lingo.
Unqualified writers may miss important nuances of language that are likely to confuse readers. Your subject matter expert will understand and use all industry jargon, helping you ensure that your content is accurate and relatable for the audience reading it.
As well, if industry terms change or a new term is introduced, a subject matter expert should be aware of these changes and update your content accordingly.
5. Streamline Content Creation
Subject matter experts can go a long way in improving efficiencies in your content marketing strategy.
The more qualified subject matter experts you have to help you write blog posts, the better the chance those topics are written correctly from the beginning—meaning less time editing before it’s published online.
As well, their in-depth knowledge of the subject will lessen the time needed to research, allowing you to spend more time on other content marketing initiatives.
Tips to Recruit Subject Matter Experts
Now that you understand the benefits of using subject matter experts in your content marketing, it’s time to learn how to find them.
Subject matter experts exist in all types of businesses and vary greatly in expertise and quality. While reading this blog, you may have thought of a few SMEs you’d like to collaborate with already.
If you can’t think of anyone off the top of your head, don’t worry. We can help. All you need is a bit of time, research, and patience to find the best subject matter expert for your brand.
1. Know What You’re Looking For
Subject matter experts vary greatly in their online presence and availability, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for from the start.
Some SMEs may be influencers in their space with large online followings. Others may be less visible but still provide subject matter expertise.
Before approaching a subject matter expert, consider the following needs:
- Are you looking for someone who has done extensive research in your space?
- Do you want someone with a large following?
- How important is celebrity to you?
- Does it matter where in the world they live?
- Do you want someone to consult, or write the content themselves?
- What is your budget?
- What is your timeline?
Once you know what you need, it’s time to start searching.
2. Browse Social Media
Social media is an excellent place to start your search for subject matter experts.
When using a platform like Instagram, you can search hashtags related to the topic of your choice and follow subject matter experts while engaging with their content. This can help build a relationship before you ever ask for their help.
When using Google, you can include subject matter experts and your subject/keyword in the search. For example: “subject matter experts business blogging.”
You can also check Twitter by using a similar formula. Search for people tweeting about topics relevant to what you’re promoting with a subject matter expert or SME in the search.
LinkedIn is another great space to find subject matter experts.
In the search bar, you can include “subject matter expert” and your industry or topic to help find people who are active in LinkedIn groups related to those topics. For example: “subject matter experts marketing.”
You should also look at their existing posts for ideas on how they describe certain subject matters to ensure their content matches your needs.
3. Research Professional Associations
Professional associations and subject matter experts’ groups can help you find subject matter experts for your content.
For example, the American Marketing Association (AMA) has local chapters that include subject matter expert members active in their communities.
You could join a few of these organizations to meet subject matter experts or ask other people if they know subject matter experts in their communities.
Other organizations to search can include:
- Canadian Marketing Association (CMA)
- American Advertising Federation (AAF)
- Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
- Social Media Association (SMA)
- Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM)
When reaching out to these organizations, be sure to mention you are looking for a subject matter expert post for your blog or that you need help finding subject matter experts in a specific field. If they don’t have someone that matches your needs, they may still be able to connect you with another organization that can.
4. Review Competitor Sites
Another way to find subject matter experts is to look at other companies’ websites. Many will have subject matter expert pages or author bylines that can help you find relevant experts in your field.
You can also browse competitor blogs and see who they reference in their posts. This can give you a great list of subject matter experts to reach out to, who may be willing and happy to share their experiences with your company.
Don’t know who your competitors are? Tools like Ubersuggest can help you see who’s ranking against you and why.
5. Ask Your Network
Leveraging your own network is a great way to find trusted subject matter experts.
If you’re looking for someone proficient in Google advertising, maybe you know someone who works at Google or has worked with them in the past. Similarly, if you want to write about SEO, find someone that has been working in this space for many years.
You can also ask your existing subject matter experts to recommend other subject matter experts they know or have worked with.
This approach is a great way to find subject matter experts who already trust you and are willing to share their experiences as part of helping you out. With this tactic, you stand to form longstanding relationships with SMEs in your field.
Ways to Use Subject Matter Experts
Subject matter experts can be used to provide valuable insight to your audience on a subject they are passionate about. This can come in the form of blogs, webinars, lead magnets, live events, website copy, testimonials, and more!
Here are a few more ways to leverage their expertise:
- interview them on a podcast
- ask them to write a guest post (you’ll likley have to pay)
- get help with your content strategy
- get help reviewing content ideas, such as blog post or white paper topics
- use quotes in your content to lend crediblity
- have them work with ghostwriters to produce content
- ask them to guest host a webinar (then create blog posts from the transcripts)
You can also use subject matter experts as industry influencers, building credibility and trust with the people you’re trying to reach. Remember, subject matter experts aren’t just limited to bloggers or traditional media types. Anyone who knows something special is fair game!
Just make sure to clearly define the role the SME will play in your content strategy and communicate regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The most important thing to remember when choosing subject matter experts for your brand is to find people who are passionate about the subject and eager to share what they know.
This also makes it much easier for them to produce high-quality content, so you can be sure your business is getting a good return on investment (ROI).
Frequently Asked Questions About Subject Matter Experts
How much does it typically cost to use a subject matter expert?
Subject matter expert pricing depends on factors like subject matter expertise and the number of pieces created. Each individual will price their work in different ways, so it’s important to discuss your budget limits beforehand to minimize any potential issues.
Should my blog use subject matter experts?
All blogs can benefit from subject matter experts, but they are especially useful for larger companies with smaller in-house subject matter expertise.
How do you become a subject matter expert?
Becoming a subject matter expert starts with subject matter expertise; the only way to become a subject matter expert is through learning on your own and becoming educated in your field.
Should your subject matter experts be influencers?
Subject matter experts do not need to be influencers, though some are. For subject matter experts with many followers, their brand can help your blog posts gain more views and shares. That said, the quality of their expertise should always be your focus, as that is what will keep your audience coming back for more.
Subject Matter Experts for Website Content Conclusion
Subject matter experts are invaluable resources that can improve your existing content strategy and create trust. By including them throughout your content creation cycle, you can create high-quality content your audience loves to read.
When looking for subject matter experts, be sure to cast a wide net and leverage your existing networks to find the most qualified experts. While many subject matter experts are influencers, you should always focus on the quality of their expertise rather than how many followers they have.
When it comes to subject matter, expertise is what matters.
What have you learned from working with subject matter experts?