You see it all over the web and in up and coming marketing strategies. The importance of using subject matter experts, how to become one, how to tell if one is legitimate, and so on. But for all the data out there, few businesses really take advantage of SMEs. Perhaps this is due to a lack of understanding, not knowing how to utilize those skills, or simply not seeing the value to incorporating them into a business plan. But with more knowledge comes better comprehension and the ability to see just how beneficial subject matter experts can be. What do subject matter experts really do, why do they do it, and how can they benefit your digital media presence and company as a whole?
Defining Subject Matter Experts
As the term suggests, a subject matter expert is one who is considered a figure of authority regarding a particular topic. Whether due to education, experience, or some combination of the two, they are truly well-informed about their subject, and are regarded as such by others.
A skilled subject matter expert will continually research and stay current in their field. They will familiarize themselves on all sides of a topic: new developments, varying opinions, potential controversy, and most importantly, how their subject affects the general public.
But What Do They Actually Do
Subject matter experts are called upon not just for their knowledge and experience, but their ability to implement them. Perhaps they will be used to consult on a new product, or help to create new material, or very commonly, used as content writers.
Great subject matter experts also help serve as a bridge between a business and their customers. Truly understanding a company’s mission can help them make information more easily accessible and understandable to the everyday person, while staying true to the ideas behind that mission.
Why We Need Them
Defining and understanding what SMEs do is simple enough. But why are they necessary in the grand scheme of a business? Perhaps being well informed on a specific matter seems simple. If you are a business owner, you might read this and think, “This seems too easy. Am I not a SME on my own product? Could I not do all of this myself?” While it is probably true that no one understands your business as well as you do, you might be forgetting some of the most significant responsibilities of a SME.
Subject matter experts spend exorbitant amounts of time to maintain their expertise. Staying up to date on new developments, continually researching their topic, paying attention to what is trending, writing articles, and interfacing with clients all take up time and effort. If staying well informed on a subject were a person’s main responsibility, they would likely be highly effective at it. But you might find that being an effectual SME on top of all your other responsibilities is harder than you would think.
As a business owner, time is one of your most valuable resources, and you are probably spreading it thin as is. Do you personally have the time to devote to this responsibility while still effectively running your business?
Another important aspect of SMEs is establishing and maintaining a sense of authority. In general, the public is more likely to listen to and respect the opinions of someone they know and trust. With a combination of experience, knowledge, and marketing presence, an outside subject matter expert can become that person. Furthermore, a talented SME will be viewed more like a trusted resource and less like a salesperson.
Although you may regard yourself as a subject matter expert on what you offer, if you have not positioned yourself as such in the eyes of the buyers, you are already at a disadvantage. Generally speaking, consumers are more likely to listen to someone that they see as an unbiased and qualified source as opposed to someone who is trying to make money off of them. As opposed to publishing content as a nameless entity, working with a subject matter expert gives an identity for your market to connect with, and in turn, connect them with your business more sufficiently.
Do you think you can provide unbiased, trustworthy information about a product or service that you also sell? How do you think the general public would respond to the knowledge you present? How likely are they to connect to you and your business?
Not only do subject matter experts have experience in their field, they also have experience in how to relay their knowledge through a many forms of media outlets. In this digital age, there are a myriad of new ways to communicate with the public. And there is technique and nuance to each of these methods- from writing print articles to the art of hashtagging. It is not enough for a SME to just be a receptacle for knowledge; they must also be proficient in communicating that knowledge in an effective and genuine manner.
How well informed are you in the different processes of marketing and conveying information through digital media? Are you willing and able to expend the effort to learn?
As you can see, there is much more to being an adept and competent subject matter expert than you might have originally thought. It is a great deal for any one person to take on, especially if they are already preoccupied with all the responsibilities of running a successful business.
The Five Lines Difference
At Five Lines Media, all of our developers and writers are experts in their own fields, and consistently improving their knowledge base. We are constantly researching and learning more to not only meet the company’s needs, but also the customer’s.
Our body of work speaks for itself. We have many happy clients that keep returning to us for content and advisement. Not only do they notice a difference in their digital media presence, but many business owners continually learn new things from the knowledge and experience shared by our experts. Take a look at any of our clients’ websites and see what a difference informed, well presented, and expertly written content makes.
If you are interested in increasing your digital media presence, please contact us with any questions or business needs you might have. It would be wise to think twice about embarking on any such changes on your own. After seeing all that is involved, hopefully you see that it is best to leave being a subject matter expert to the experts.