After many years working in large companies filled with bright and talented experts, I saw first-hand those that successfully built smart and enduring personal brands, and those that simply fell short. Those that endured became sought-after thought leaders rapidly progressing in their careers, while those that fell short remained stagnant and irrelevant.
The real shame is that those that fell short could have taken greater advantage of the resources and opportunities afforded them through these big organizations. They either never made the time, or never made the connection to its value.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” — Tom Peters in Fast Company
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.