FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Tips for Selecting and Working with Subject Matter Experts

Thursday, October 12th, 2017 by Lauren

Be ready for big answers when interviewing your SME.

Be ready for big answers when interviewing your SME.

It’s time to attract leads with another top-of-the-funnel gem. You need a compelling, thought-leadership-filled B2B ebook or white paper that people will leap to download. And that asset must enhance your brand and further your core message—which calls for more than a pretty cover, good landing page, and clickbait title. So, you look to your organization’s subject matter experts (SMEs) for help.

The best SMEs are mind-bogglingly busy. If you’re lucky, an SME will generate a great idea and ask you to help make it happen. But what if you’re the one driving the process and generating the topic? How do you find the right SME and make the best use of her time? Let’s face it. We (your creative team) and you (experienced marketing managers) know that working with SMEs can be awesome—or awful. Here are some simple ways to work with SMEs that can tip the scale toward the former.

  • Pick the right topic: Think about ways to link your core message to topics that will interest potential leads. Industry-specific trade journal sites can help you learn what’s hot. Make a quick list of potential topics, then zero in on one that you can readily address in-house. Gather as much source info as you can—don’t expect the SME to do that on a project she’s supporting but not driving.
  • Find the right SME or SMEs: Ask your colleagues which SMEs in your organization can probably help. Your best option may be the person with the least bandwidth. When you check to make sure he or she can help—emphasize that the process will take very little time.
  • Prep the SME: Explain what you’re trying to achieve with a one-paragraph description of the topic, and a short list of questions you and your creative team will ask. Don’t waste a significant portion of allotted interview time explaining your goals. Ask the SME to share any interesting source material he or she has, keeping in mind that a busy SME is unlikely to spend much time gathering new material.
  • Tag team: For efficiency and focus, you definitely want a lead SME—not bunch of contributors. But if your preferred SME has only a short amount of time available, consider engaging another person, such as a savvy salesperson or someone from the product team, to give a brief background interview on the topic. This “mini-SME” can supplement the big ideas you’re hoping to get from your in-demand thought leader.
  • Minimize reviews: When you’re ready to review your thought-leadership piece, the SME will probably still be crazy busy. Nailing the first-to-second draft portion of the process keeps things moving. When you provide the draft to the SME for review, give a time limit. Suggest that he or she comment through tracked changes and comments instead of a phone call or email. This encourages specificity, reducing the likelihood of slowing the project with back and forths.
  • Stay focused: Keep the draft and reviews aligned with the project’s original goals. If your SME wants to go in too many new directions after seeing the draft, suggest that the topic could be expanded in a future asset—like a blog post. Remind him or her that readers are more likely to absorb shorter, more focused pieces.

At the Content Bureau, we work with SMEs and people like you every day. And we love it—interviewing rock star SMEs is a great privilege. Talk to us about how we can help you capture and convey the insights of the thought leaders in your organization.

Tags

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, Uncategorized

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

STYLE GUIDE THROWDOWN: CMS VS. AP . . . Or, Editors Amusing Themselves: A Play in 20 Acts

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 by Lisa S. and Chris

To: Content Bureau Editing Team From: Lisa S. Subject: Hyphenation joy Hi, all— I was poking around after renewing my subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style/geeking out on CMS 17, and found this handy cheat sheet. Enjoy! ________________________________________________ To: Content Bureau Editing Team From: Chris Subject: Blog post idea Hey, have we done a blog post with a fight […]

Tags

, ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

How to Write Good: Using a Team Approach to Perfect Copy

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 by Ruth

My son sent me this list the other day and it made me laugh. How to Write Good* The passive voice is to be avoided. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; […]

Tags

,

Posted In

How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Marketing in the Time of Chaos

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 by Laurel

Seriously, Nivea? The times, they are chaotic—to say the least. The importance of social media in our daily lives means that  public response to events of all kinds—political, artistic, market-based—is swift and loud. What does this mean for marketers and content creators? Recently, a client asked for my opinion on a marketing campaign they were […]

Tags

, ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Who Hires and Manages the Content Marketing Agency—Corporate Marketing or the Business Unit?

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 by Stacy

Like many creative services companies, the Content Bureau works with tech and financial services companies that have corporate marketing departments wielding lots of centralized control; and we also work with companies that are almost completely decentralized—where the individual business units can produce whatever marketing content they want. Which of these organizational structures leads to the […]

Tags

, , , ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Three Summer Activities to Keep You in the Game

Monday, August 7th, 2017 by Laurel

It’s August and officially the dog days of summer. Everyone is either leaving for vacation, on vacation, or just back from vacation, and nothing’s really getting done in the office. But instead of waiting till work shifts back into gear, here are three things you can do right now that will help you personally and professionally. […]

Tags

,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Avoid the Pitfalls of Online Research for Stats and Surveys

Friday, July 21st, 2017 by Chris

With just a few keystrokes and clicks in Google, a world of research, statistics, and studies are available to bolster white papers, bylined articles, and blog posts. Unfortunately, the explosion of online content has made sourcing this research a needle-in-the-haystack exercise. Unless the stat you want to use is in a news article from a […]

Tags

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Earning Trust in a Post-Truth Age

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Eric

We used to say the truth was slippery. If we could never quite grasp it, still we believed it was out there somewhere, swimming the currents of events, perspective, and time. And as slippery as it might have been, getting at the truth mattered. These days, by contrast, truth is not only more difficult than […]

Tags

, , , , , ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Don’t Fear the Editor: An Expert Support Team in One Professional

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 by Lisa S.

You’re a marketing expert, not a writer. In any case, whatever your job title, odds are good that you don’t exactly look forward to handing your writing over to an editor. Maybe it’s the memory of a particular red-pen-wielding third-grade teacher, or a particularly embarrassing typo in an important presentation. Or maybe you’re just a […]

Tags

,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Naming Matters: Eschew the Fancy “E”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Laurel

  I was traveling on a train recently and I found myself staring at the station sign at Bay Pointe, the name of a new housing development. Is it pronounced “bay point” or “bay point-ee” or “bay point-ay?” I wondered. Who decided on that spelling? What’s the deal with that Fancy E? Adding that superfluous […]

Tags

,

Posted In

How to Write a Great…

Related posts