Anatomy of the Perfect SME

May 13, 2015


Subject matter experts (SMEs) play a vital role in any organization’s content marketing program. These wizards serve as our source for the raw material from which we spin our content gold, and our relationships with them are among our most valuable assets.

When many content marketers set out to select the SMEs to contribute to their content, they just look for the smartest guy or gal in the organization. But raw smarts are only one part of the picture.

The secret to finding the ideal SME is looking for five characteristics — the five parts of the idea SME’s anatomy.

The Brain

Your ideal SME is a widely respected expert in his or her chosen field. Look for the SMEs who speak at conferences, who publish papers, who serve as the “go-to guy/gal” for questions in your industry.

The Heart

Your ideal SME has a true passion for what he or she does. This is a person who delights in “geeking out” over his or her role in creating your products or services and the many ways in which you help customers.


The ideal SME is not shy about asserting his or her perspective, even if it goes against widely accepted concepts. These folks may have had respectful differences of opinion with others in your industry — even others within your organization — and they stick by their points of view, even in the face of disagreement.


Ideal SMEs are generous with their expertise. They are on a mission to make the world a better place by sharing information that improves people’s lives, and they appreciate the role that your content plays in achieving that.


The ideal SMEs are in it for the long haul. They understand that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and they are just as enthusiastic about the twentieth blog post they contribute to as they were about the first.

Which characteristics would you add to the list?

Join me for our next VIP Webinar, How to Work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), on Wednesday, May 27!

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