Why you should work with outside experts to add authority.
Regular readers of our blog know the paramount importance of putting the reader first when creating content for small and midsize businesses. This means (among other things) creating content that is engaging and useful to them, which encourages them to come back for more. When it comes to sources for your content, one way to ensure this is to use real experts – people who work with SMBs every day.
If you have such SMB subject matter experts (SMEs) within your company, great. However, many of our clients do not. In that case (and maybe regardless), it’s wise to reach outside your organization and engage recognized experts in areas that are important to an SMB audience.
We are big fans of using external SMEs because:
- They often have more experience of working with SMBs across diverse disciplines than internal SMEs (With respect to internal SMEs, we have found the ones with the best insights are in consultative sales and/or implementation roles).
- The involvement of external SMEs sends a subtle but impactful message that your content is not just about marketing your brand.
- They may share the content they help create among their networks, increasing its reach.
But be careful. Here are some things to keep in mind when using SMEs:
- The best SMEs may not be well known but still have valuable front-line experience working with SMBs. They might not have big followings, likely because they are too busy with their clients to be promoting themselves. It can take time to identify them. At RSL media, we have an extensive network built up over many years.
- Be wary of so-called influencers. There are a few good ones, but many just recycle the same old stuff. You end up paying for exposure to their network but getting substandard content.
- Some SMEs have terrific expertise but are not good writers. They are often happy to work with a ghostwriter who can extract their expertise. See this post for more on getting the most out of expert sources.
Finding and leveraging expert sources can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort and you have options:
- Employ a writer with experience in the SMB space who has their own network of expert sources they can mine for quotes.
- Engage SMEs directly to produce content themselves or with a ghostwriter.
Either way, the contributions of true subject matter experts can add value, credibility and authority to your content and help you position your brand as a trusted resource for the ideas and solutions SMBs seek.