Blogging is a key part of a company’s content marketing strategy, at least it should be. From the effectiveness of compounding content to sales enablement perks, a business blog wields powerful influence for success.
What some blogs end up missing is the inclusion of subject matter experts (SMEs) who can provide their knowledge and expertise to build a more robust content marketing platform.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand you can wave to suddenly make SME contributions appear. It’s especially difficult to entice input if you have a bare-bones budget to begin with. Yet, it can be done—and successfully.
There’s no magic wand you can wave to suddenly make SME contributions appear.
In my previous job at a startup, the marketing department consisted of two people: the director of marketing and myself. We didn’t have an extensive budget to pay for writers to supplement the blog page, which, being this was a startup, was itself in a stage of infancy. Another previous job presented the same problem—lack of funds to recruit writers. In both cases, we not only required talented writers, but we also needed authors whose recommendations would carry some weight.
In the end, I was able to maintain a rotating list of 15-25 writers, all SMEs in their respective fields.
How did I do it? I implemented a very practical strategy.
3 Steps to Securing SMEs
Step 1: LinkedIn became my best friend. I spent a lot of time scrolling through posts on my LI groups and looking at profiles, connections, and article posts. I made notes about the number of followers/connections they had, years of experience in a particular field, publications they’d contributed to, frequency of posts, engagement on groups, etc.
Step 2: I’d send them a message on LI introducing myself and either mention a mutual connection or an article they’d posted. Flattery will generally get you everywhere, but if the article was actually beneficial to you and your organization, trust me—they want to know.
LinkedIn became my best friend.
Step 3: Once I established a “digital conversation,” I would ask to connect via phone. Real-life conversations are key to fostering a better sense of rapport and connection. You already know they are an expert in their field, so be prepared to discuss something they have worked on or wrote about that could be helpful to your audience. You can also take this time to expand upon the benefits of contributing to your blog site. Share complimentary metrics, such as readership, time on site, and subscription stats.
A Matter of Consistency
The next challenge is getting guest bloggers to write consistently, which is important for adding to the authenticity and credibility of your blog presence.
Here are a few tips I suggest:
- Make sure they know published blogs will receive plenty of exposure—you’ll share it on social media and other content venues, and encourage them to circulate within their own network as well.
- Creating a blog series is one way to ensure commitment to several pieces. Plus, a series keeps readers coming back week after week—which is good news for both you and the SME.
- If you have a specific topic you are interested in having them write about, prepare an outline so they don’t have to do all the work. SMEs are busy, so make the process as easy as you can.
- Another option to simplify SMEs’ lives is to consider a co-writing or ghost-writing situation. Interview them to get precise details, then enlist the help of an established writer to put their knowledge into words.
The next challenge is getting guest bloggers to write consistently.
An added benefit of the above is that when you come prepared with topics that fall under their interest and expertise, and you provide either an outline or a co-writing proposal to ease their burden, they are likely to be more trusting of your capabilities and willing to contribute.
Good for the Blog, Good for the Biz
Partnering with SMEs not only strengthens your content's credibility, but it also raises your company's position within your industry. You become the "go-to" for solving prospects' problems, based on your ability to provide specific solutions for their individual needs.