Imagine this rather typical scenario.
You’ve spent weeks developing what you believe will be a prominent article for your company blog. There’s a fascinating and unique success story to talk about, and you scored an awesome interview with the client to weave in a few pithy quotes supporting this banner project. Senior leadership is excited about the piece and has provided a great tie-in to strategic priorities—it’s in the company’s sweet spot. Early on, you engaged with key subject matter experts on the primary trends and innovations in the industry that align perfectly, and they even provided you a few nifty graphics and images to bring some visual life to your story. Final reviews are complete, you publish the story, and presto, you’re done.
Just to be certain the story gets some play, you send a note off to the business letting them know it’s there and ask them to share it with clients and prospects. You post a few tweets to your followers about this latest masterpiece, and maybe you even post it over to Facebook and LinkedIn to pick up anyone you’ve missed.
The high from the fruits of your labor is intoxicating, but maybe over the next day or two it dissipates as you quickly move on to the next writing assignment or project. You review the metrics later and see that audience engagement was minimal and no new sales leads were tied to your story. All that hard work and that’s it—not much to show for it.
Driving new thought leadership and premium media opportunities for an organization requires a thoughtful communications plan aligned to core business priorities and goals. But you also have to partner with the best people to develop critical content, leverage in the right press opportunity, and to seamlessly showcase the deep thought leadership of your organization and its clients.
This is where a solid subject matter expert (SME) program can make an enormous difference in your planning efforts.
What is a SME?
Simply put, a SME is an individual with deep knowledge, skill, and expertise in a particular subject area or domain. There may be varying levels of proficiency or focus, and that’s a good thing as it allows you to leverage individuals in multiple ways.
When looking to build a successful SME program for your organization, there are numerous things to consider, collect, and prepare before launching. Below are key components to jump-start an impactful thought leadership program.
In my experiences overseeing public relations, I have often been approached by business leaders and subject matter experts to create and publish a press release simply for the sake of getting the company or offering out in the market. Often times the reason for the urgency has been that they’ve had a hard time selling their product or service – there may be a belief that getting a press release out to the public will suddenly reduce the sales lifecycle or close a specific deal.
While I do feel a well-written press release and a thoughtful media campaign can impact awareness and potential sales, it’s not going to be the sole tactic to drive a large increase. Instead, it should part of a broader campaign and message strategy.
To ensure the success of a press release, there are numerous considerations before the first draft is even developed. Below are several items to consider before, during, and after the development of a press release to ensure you get the most value and impact from the right business opportunities.