“You have mastered something if you go to work every day,” says Jennifer Ransaw Smith, founder and CEO of Brand id |Strategic Parnters of Columbia, Md.
That means you, or your colleagues, are experts in their fields. If you are tasked with building visibility for your organization you will want to leverage your colleagues’ skills and experience by turning them into SMEs, or subject matter experts.
Smith describes these individuals as the “hidden gems” within a company, and says it is important to “develop an elevation strategy to leverage internal talent.”
“So many companies aren’t utilizing them to help elevate the entire company in the marketplace,” says Smith.
If you work for a large company, consider developing a year-long plan around your SMEs, whom Smith says are the MVPs of the company.
The plan should include industry specific conferences and publications. Smith also recommends color-coding the plan with each SME assigned a particular color. The goal would be to have experts speaking at conferences and publishing throughout the year.
How can you use SMEs?
Have them write for your company blog about their area of expertise. It’s a great way for your followers to better understand your organization’s work. It also makes colleagues proud of the work that is done.
Identify industry publications and ask them to submit articles. Then promote the publications on your website and with your stakeholders.
Ask them to speak at conferences, workshops and trade shows sharing their expertise. Last year the National Federation of Press Women held its annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. They invited a few speakers, but most of the talent came from within the membership. Members spoke about publishing, freelancing, social media trends, photojournalism, branding and Freedom of Information.
Hold Lunch and Learns within your company. Use your internal talent to offer training on everything from tax tips (auditors) to project management to industry successes.
Have them speak on your behalf. Reporters always need reliable industry leaders to quote in their stories. Offer your experts to them.