No matter what you sell, you need content to educate people about your company and persuade them to call, click, email or buy. With so many firms publishing the same type of content, however, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
One way to stand out from the crowd is to hire subject matter experts (SMEs) or interview them for your publications.
What are subject matter experts and why are they more important than ever for marketers? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Subject Matter Experts?
A subject matter expert is someone who has highly specialized knowledge in a particular industry or field of study. SMEs often work on large projects in the information technology, engineering, and legal fields, but you can find them in almost any professional setting.
Copywriters and journalists also consult SMEs when drafting articles, reports, case studies and technical or scientific content.
Here are just a few of the ways subject matter experts use their expertise:
•Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals often serve as expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases.
•Workplace safety experts use their knowledge of OSHA guidelines to protect employees against work-related accidents.
•Data analysts rely on SMEs to help them identify trends in large sets of data. SMEs can also help data analysts better understand the metrics that are most important in a particular industry.
•Manufacturing companies often hire outside engineers to optimize new product designs or turn manual assembly processes into automated ones.
•Many companies hire software developers to solve complex problems or help them choose new software packages based on custom business requirements.
Increasingly, SMEs are also playing a significant role in content creation and SEO.
Why Are SMEs Important for Content Creation and SEO?
To drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into paying customers, your content must be both interesting and accurate.
Google is increasingly valuing E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) when determining search rankings, so having SMEs involved in your content creation can really boost SEO.
Readers can be even more discerning than search engines. If a reader catches you in a mistake, they’re less likely to buy from you. Working with subject matter experts can help you avoid costly errors and ensure your content is as relevant to readers as possible.
How Can SMEs Help With Content Creation?
SMEs can help you with the following types of content:
Articles: A subject matter expert can review your draft and make sure the content is accurate. You can also contact SMEs and ask them for quotes to incorporate into an article. Incorporating quotes from experts shows your readers you’re willing to go the extra mile to deliver high-quality, authoritative content.
Case studies: A case study is a great way to show prospects how your firm’s products or services have benefited your existing customers. Case studies usually describe a problem a customer was having and explain how a company’s product or service solved that problem.
They combine business facts with storytelling to create a compelling narrative that can be shared with potential customers. Working with a subject matter expert can help you make the case study as persuasive as possible without compromising quality.
White papers: A white paper can help you explain product features and benefits to prospective customers. Subject matter experts provide valuable input to ensure technical jargon doesn’t get in the way of helping prospects understand your value proposition.
Buying guides: If your company sells high-tech products, working with a subject matter expert can help you publish high-quality buying guides. These guides educate readers and help them understand why they should purchase one product over another.
These are the 4 most common content types that SMEs work on. But, SMEs add value to any type of content where E-A-T is important.
SMEs for SEO
Search engines prioritize unique content. A SME may be able to help you come up with an interesting angle for an article or alert you to a new trend in the field before everyone else starts covering it, helping you drive more visitors to your website.
A lot of content optimization tools guide SEOs to create content that covers topics and search terms that already appear in content ranking well in Google for a given search term. That can lead SEOs to create very similar content to their competitors. SMEs let you add truly original content by leveraging their unique knowledge and skillset. That can set you apart from the pack, and on its own may boost rankings.
SMEs are a valuable resource for companies that publish medical, legal, technical or scientific content. Even if you vet your freelancers carefully, a generalist may struggle to explain complex topics to a lay audience. SMEs can read through each article and make sure that every detail is accurate, enhancing your site’s authority.
Google (and other search engines) ultimately want to serve the best content to satisfy a searcher’s query. It makes sense that expert level content is more likely to do that, and Google uses various ways of measuring how effective your content is at helping its users.
Working with SMEs also creates opportunities to add expert bylines to your content. These expert bylines can help you attract backlinks from other sites. Because SMEs have expert insight, they can help you create truly unique content rather than rewriting what’s already out there. And, other marketers want to link to authoritative sources so having bylined, expert level content can be hugely beneficial in driving links.
All of this adds up to a much higher E-A-T score. In SEO, E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. While not officially a ranking factor according to Google, empirical evidence suggests that higher E-A-T does help you rank better for competitive search terms.
How to Position Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert
Here are some tips for becoming a subject matter expert:
- Commit to continuous learning. No matter how much experience you have, there’s always something new to learn, especially if you’re in an industry characterized by frequent change. Sign up for professional associations, attend workshops and take online courses to keep your knowledge and skills as current as possible.
2. Start developing your own ideas. The more you experiment with new developments in your field, the more innovative you can be. You’ll also gain new knowledge and skills that you can share with others.
3. Build a strong social media presence. If you don’t already have accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, sign up as soon as possible and create profiles highlighting your credentials. Once your accounts are all set up, spend time sharing content and having discussions with other people in your industry.
4. Start sharing your expertise. Networking via social media is great, but it’s not the only way to share your knowledge and skills with others. Consider running a workshop, presenting at a professional conference or teaching a class in your area of interest. Starting a podcast or an educational YouTube channel is also an effective way to spread the word about your expertise.
5. Create a writer biography (bio). Not only does your bio explain your credentials, but it also provides a quick summary of your accomplishments. Your bio can be shared online, helping you promote your brand even when you’re busy doing other things.
What Crowd Content Is Doing to Connect with Subject Matter Experts
Crowd Content works with expert writers across a variety of subjects to produce high-quality content for businesses of all sizes. We regularly work with SMEs in specialized fields to ensure every piece of content gives readers a positive impression of our clients.
If you have a limited budget, we can incorporate quotes from experts or have SMEs review your drafts before you publish them. To find out how to work with one of our expert writers, visit the Crowd Content website.