Connecting people together

How working with Subject Matter Experts can unlock more powerful content for your online community.


Consistently delivering high-quality, engaging, and valuable content for your online community can be key to establishing your community as a thought leader. As a Community Manager doing this by yourself, can often be seen as a hard task to do and keep up with.

This is where tapping into Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can be crucial. 

In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of SMEs, why they are essential, and how community managers can leverage their expertise to create compelling content for their online communities.


Understanding Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are those colleagues and contacts who understand the intricacies of the subject area your online community focuses on, and they have a deep understanding of your members’ needs, interests and preferences. Through their extensive experience, continuous learning, and active participation in different networks, SMEs possess valuable knowledge and insights that you can tap into.


The Role of SMEs in Content Creation

To stand out with everyone vying for the attention of those seeking solutions, you only have limited time to draw attention towards your community. So, your content must:

  • Hit your target audience and draw new members to your online community. 
  • Encourage your current members to click on links to content that is generated and interact with it.
  • Build trust with your membership, keeping them engaged and interested.
  • Move those who are lurkers / readers in your membership into more active participants.

Your subject matter experts (SMEs) can play a vital role in achieving these goals. By collaborating with them, you can ensure that the content you produce is accurate, engaging and focused on driving conversations.


Ensuring Accuracy and Credibility

SMEs possess subject specific knowledge and understand the appropriate terminology and jargon that is used by people in the subject area but at the same time not alienating newcomers to the subject. This allows them to create content that your members can relate to. They can also ensure that the content is accurate, and if required supported by reliable sources, so that it instils confidence and trust in the content when members are interacting with it.


Enhancing Content Quality and Depth

High-quality content is essential for establishing your community as a thought leader. SMEs bring their expertise and insights to the table, ensuring that your content is factual, reliable, and trustworthy. By incorporating references, expert quotes, and reliable data provided by SMEs, your content becomes more compelling, authoritative, and valuable to your members and keeps them coming back to the community. It helps them to keep up to date on the subject area which is one of the compelling reasons why people join an online community.


Effectively Catering to your members needs

SMEs provide invaluable insights into your community and offer thoughts and questions that are important to the subject, and you may not be aware of.  

By collaborating with experts who share your members’ interests, your community and its content becomes a key place for members to access comprehensive, up-to-date, and well-researched information that addresses their needs. 


To Wrap it up and Key Tips for Community Managers

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can be an invaluable resource for community managers looking to create compelling content and engage their online communities effectively. By collaborating with SMEs, community managers can enhance the quality, accuracy, and relevance of their content, establishing their community as a place for thought leadership and the latest thinking.

Tips for engaging the SMEs

  • Identify experts within your subject area who are known to be active in online communities and professional networks, and those who possess valuable and insightful knowledge. Reach out to them and establish relationships to leverage their expertise.
  • Discuss and agree the content creation process with SMEs to ensure accuracy, depth and credibility. Collaborate on article writing, interviews, webinars etc. to deliver valuable insights to your members.
  • Invite SMEs to actively participate in community discussions, Q&As, Hotseats, Webinars and AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions. Their expert contributions will enrich the conversation, provide valuable insights and boost community engagement.
  • Encourage SMEs to share their expertise through blog posts or case studies. This not only positions them as thought leaders but also strengthens your community’s reputation as a reliable source of information.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of SMEs by promoting what they have to offer the community. Show gratitude for them sharing their expertise using shout-outs and testimonials where possible. 


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