The Power of SMEJanuary 29th, 2013

The first time I heard the expression “SME” was about 13 years ago. I was working on a project at Fidelity Investments in Boston. I was the technical lead on a web development project and a project manager approached me after a kickoff meeting and asked me if I would be the SME for the technical team. I answered forcefully, yes of course I will be. (Of course then I had to actually find out what a SME was). SME is short for subject matter expert. This means you have the knowledge to represent your team and answer all questions related to your field. LinkedIn Uses the term “thought leader”. But both actually mean the same thing, an expert in your field.

People tend to ask me, what is the best thing I can do as far as writing content or social media? My first response is anything that portrays you as a subject matter expert, is a good thing and you can never hurt you. Whether you are writing a blog post or sending a tweet, if the information you you are posting shows that you have a distinct knowledge in your field, It will help you. It will drive people to your business.

Everyone is seeking experts who are leaders in their field. Whether you’re hiring a lawyer, an accountant, a plumber or a web developer, you want to make sure they know their stuff. So if you learn something you didn’t know, reading their blog post or tweet, perhaps saw a tip or an idea you hadn’t thought of, it influences your opinion. Most of all it makes a positive impression that people will remember.

Perfect example of what I am referring to occurred in my BNI Networking Group last week. The CPA in our group, Bob Champagne of Champagne & Bibeault, LLC, told us about a credit available to Senior Citizens called the Senior Circuit Breaker Credit. It is worth a thousand dollars and they can go back 3 years to get refunds from prior years. Now, in a room full of Attorneys, Financial Planners, Business Owners and Professionals in many fields, no one knew of the refund Bob referred to. Instantly Bob’s credibility increased. What a perfect blog post, facebook posting or tweet this would have been! There are a lot of CPAs to choose from, but little things like this differentiate Bob from the others who may do your taxes yet miss out on things that result in savings, and in this case money in their pocket.

So the question you are probably asking is how can you write content that portrays you as a SME? The first thing is to try and take sales out of the equation. Too much sales talk drives people away and should make up not more more than 20% of your postings. Write about what you know, give tips, ideas, and things that will benefit your readers. They will appreciate it, and hopefully this will lead them to contact you and eventually lead to business.