Every brand wants to enhance credibility with its audience. One of the best ways to do this is to involve team leaders or subject matter experts (SMEs) in the content creation process. By leveraging their knowledge and reputation, you can boost brand authority.
The process isn’t as simple as identifying experts. It requires developing a strategy, defining what topics are most relevant to your audience, and devising a process for content collaboration. To help you achieve your goals, we’ve put together some tips and ideas to support your efforts.
Get Buy-In from Team Leaders
The first step is to identify those leaders and SMEs within your organization or industry that will have the most impact on audiences. These should be people with extensive expertise on the topic. Ideally, it would be great if your field recognizes these people as experts. That could include those that have been speakers at conferences, oft-quoted individuals in industry publications, or those with a large social media following.
Once you identify who will help boost brand authority, you need to get their buy-in. With internal people, you’ll have an easier pitch to make. However, they may have concerns with how much time such an endeavor will take. Assure them that your content team will take the lead. In many cases, this may involve interviewing these folks and your writers creating the pieces.
For those who are external, you’ll want to target partners or others with existing relationships with your brand. You’ll then need to see if they have any interest. You’ll need to compensate outside SMEs, so ensure you have budget dollars for this.
Develop a Strategy for SME Content
Next, you’ll want to ensure you have a content strategy subsection dedicated to thought leadership with SME partners. In this, you’ll want to include:
- Goals for SME content (i.e., increased credibility, lead generation, improved content engagement)
- Key topics to address in which SMEs can speak with great authority and align with your value prop
- Content formats that you want to create — blogs, videos, webinars, whitepapers, etc.
- How you’ll distribute and promote this content (i.e., owned, earned, and paid media)
It’s critical to detail these components. Without defining goals, topics, formats, and distribution/promotion, you’ll have no guidance with this initiative. As a result, you could find it doesn’t have the impact you expect.
Develop the Process
The most efficient enterprise content teams have a process for all their projects. Content workflows keep things moving, cover all tasks, and include deadlines. Collaborating with SMEs adds more steps to the process. Thus, you’ll want to rework your approach to include them.
If you are using a content marketing platform, you can include these collaborators into workflows. They’ll then receive notifications about their part. That could be the interview, content creation, reviews, and anything else.
Process matters because it ensures consistency and helps to reduce barriers to completion.
Start Your First SME Project
With leaders identified, strategy in place, and a process ready, you are ready to embark on your first project. Let’s look deeper into the elements of delivering high-quality content that will boost brand authority.
Choosing the Best Topics
Your content likely falls into several main pillars. They are the areas you’ve determined most relevant and appealing to your audience. That’s where you should start. From there, look for opportunities to develop clusters of content topics and sub-topics that are critical to the industry but aren’t suffering from content saturation. Of course, your collaborator needs to be an expert on the subject.
Here is an example. Your company develops software to help pharmacists run their businesses. Your audience isn’t the most technically adept but is obviously highly educated. They are pharmacists and business owners. One topic that could help them would be a series on how to be a pharmacist entrepreneur. Your SME for the content is one of your executives who once owned and ran his own pharmacy.
Once you have a topic or topics in mind, what content format will best engage your audience? The good thing is you don’t have to select just one! You can repurpose content into multiple formats. In going with the example, your series can include:
- Blog posts with “lessons”
- Ask the Expert short videos
- A webinar that brings all the lessons and insights together
- An ebook that also combines all the information in the previous formats
In this way, you have content that can go on for months. Additionally, audiences consume content differently, depending on how they learn. Some want video content; others want to read. Finally, bringing it all together in an interactive webinar allows you to add contacts to your database and drive engagement.
Distributing and Promoting
When working on distributing and promoting your content, you have lots of options. It will depend on where your target audience is, your budget, and the breadth of your industry. All of these should be on your list:
- Nurture email drips: If you have a content series, you’ll want to create a nurture series that feeds audiences consumable content bits.
- Social media: Your content and events should always be on your social media profiles. Paid ads may be worth your while if you can refine your target.
- Features and pop-ups on your website: For events or gated content, make these prominent on your home page. Pop-up content offers on blog pages can help drive traffic, too.
- Earned media: Putting out a press release will provide the opportunity to get picked up by trades. Additionally, if you have relationships with journalists or publications, connect with them. Given that the SME has the respect of the industry, it’s certainly newsworthy.
- Paid ads: You may also find that allotting some budget to paid ads on industry websites could draw in a bigger audience.
Boost Brand Authority with SME Content Marketing
Once you complete your first project, you’ll have data on its performance. You’ll also learn a lot along the way that will make your next collaboration even more successful. Soon, you’ll see your brand authority get the boost it deserves. You can manage these content projects and any other with DivvyHQ, software designed by and for content marketers. Start a free trial today.