How to Position Your Staff as Subject Matter Experts

Posted by Taylor Kennedy in Branding, Public relations |


Does your hospital or health tech expertcompany want to have the reputation as being the best in certain areas? Perhaps your hospital is renowned for orthopedics, or your startup’s CTO has special insights on interoperability?

Positioning a staff member as a subject matter expert (SME) will earn your company credibility among your target audiences. That’s because people want to do business with experts. In other words, would you want to go to an OB/GYN who knew the least about women’s health?

Your SMEs also will serve as the “go-to” person to answer questions from the media, if you brand them correctly. Following are tips for positioning your staff as subject matter experts.


To maximize effectiveness of subject matter experts, choose ones that matter to your target audiences. Let’s take a look at an example for a health tech company focused on helping radiologists: No offense to the developers who created your SaaS, but the radiologists probably prefer to hear from a DO than a programmer.

Make sure the SMEs are experienced and/or hold some type of management position (vice president, professional services team, etc.). They also need to know about the mission and business objectives of your IDN or HIT company. Each month may be different, but generally, you need to find SMEs that can allot 2-3 hours/month to carry out their duties.


The value of your subject matter experts comes from being able to use them in a variety of ways, such as media relations, content marketing and public speaking.

Prior to any kind of interviews, each SME needs to go through a media training session, in which they will learn how to succinctly respond to reporters’ questions while working in your key messaging strategy.

Use subject matter experts in content marketing to add credibility and authenticity. They are likely already keeping up with what’s going on in your industry–for example, MACRA, Affordable Care Act, telehealth, etc.–so it shouldn’t be too hard to have them provide insights on those topics.

Similar to media interviews, you should have SMEs go through presentation training before you send them out in public. Tradeshows, conferences, TED Talks and symposiums are ideal venues for you to showcase your SMEs because they can talk in technical detail with audiences or attendees.


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