No matter the format, message, or style of online content, everyone’s striving to reach the largest possible audience. Making that a reality depends on creating something that answers an audience’s most pertinent questions, is presented in an engaging way, and maybe even offers some new ideas no one’s hit on before.
As content marketers aim for these goals, one ingredient can distinguish popular content from something that barely gets noticed: the input of a subject matter expert (SME). Partnering with an SME can strengthen content’s credibility and value, yet knowing how to connect with such an expert requires skills that aren’t inherently part of a marketer’s usual wheelhouse.
Locating the right people, getting prepared for an interview, and drawing vital information from them depends on accessing your inner journalist and sharpening up your outreach and interviewing skills.
Content’s Newest Ally: The Subject Matter Expert
It’s not a stretch to say an SME will offer immense benefits to a content project. When a well-known name is attached to a project, whether it’s a downloadable ebook, video, or series of articles, attention will inevitably result. Just as a popular novelist can earn pre-sales purchases months before a book is even published, name recognition can lead to an automatic buy-in from a community of enthusiasts.
An expert can also serve as a source for up-to-date knowledge and news on an industry. He or she will be able to convey the biggest challenges, the latest breakthroughs, and future concerns around a particular subject. This kind of information will allow you to shape the direction, message, and format of your project.
Then once you’ve completed a project, an SME can also play an important role in helping spread the news about it with his or her social media followers. With a well-known expert, your content promotion efforts have the potential to reach a huge community of enthusiasts, fellow experts, and industry leaders. Awareness of your content, and your brand, can reach an unprecedented level of exposure when you take advantage of the social channels an SME can bring to the table.
The Place Where Journalism and Digital Marketing Overlap
Realizing that subject matter experts are important to content creation and promotion is one thing; tracking them down for an interview is another. In journalism, conducting an interview is a standard practice that should be adopted by the digital marketer. A subject matter expert’s insights and perspective can take an article from being one-dimensional to a complete and nuanced portrait of a topic or event.
Taking on some of the fundamental tactics of a journalist entails researching who would be the best choices of experts, reaching out to them, scheduling a time to speak, devising some effective questions and then conducting the interview itself.
Embarking on these tasks requires some planning and having clear ideas of what will need to be covered to create a meaningful conversation. By using a journalist’s tactics to achieve a content marketer’s goals, you’ll be able to strengthen your content and ensure it will resonate with its intended audience.
As any journalist could tell you, conducting an interview is much more than just asking questions. The best interviews require thorough planning and shouldn’t be done in a lockstep Q&A fashion. Being able to ask spontaneous questions or ask an interviewee to elaborate on a statement can help ensure the discussion is a meaningful one.
Expertise + Creativity + Promotion = Content That Conquers
When a journalist interviews an expert on a topic, the goal is to gain some pertinent facts for an article. When a brand hires a celebrity to endorse a product, the goal is to gain attention and credibility. And when a content marketer partners with a subject matter expert, both these goals can be achieved, while also gaining the advantage of some promotional muscle that will deliver your content to a broad, receptive audience.
Knowing some good outreach and interviewing skills will lay the groundwork for a variety of benefits when it comes to content creation and promotion. Now that SMEs are increasingly part of the process, the ability to think like a journalist is becoming a necessity for building successful content marketing projects that will shed light on an issue and generate some great traffic.