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How To Be A Subject Matter Expert When You Don’t Know The Topic

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Copywriters and content marketers are often required to write about industries or topics they know little about.

This can make it a challenge to position your company or client as an authoritative industry voice. You may have strong marketing chops, but what if you’re not an expert on your company’s niche?

Knowing what you’re talking about is imperative to your success. Passionate audiences can smell fakes, and they won’t hesitate to let you know when you miss the mark.

Fortunately, you aren’t the first intrepid wordsmith to find yourself in this situation. Others in the same position have succeeded. And with the right knowledge, you can, too.

The key is to make yourself a subject matter expert.

What Is A Subject Matter Expert?

A subject matter expert (or SME) is someone who knows their stuff inside and out. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “A subject matter expert, or SME, is a ‘person with bona fide expert knowledge about what it takes to do a particular job.’”

That’s exactly how a content marketer should be able to sound: like someone who knows how to help your audience get stuff done.

So, How Do You Become A Subject Matter Expert?

It comes down to three things:

  1. Understanding how to do thorough research. This means going beyond Google and Wikipedia and getting deep into the weeds. You have to immerse yourself in the industry and community you’re trying to reach.
  2. Knowing how to write in your brand’s voice (and not just your own). Creatives occasionally have trouble leaving their egos behind when creating client work. However, effectively capturing your brand’s voice is crucial for conversions. People want to engage with, and buy from, companies that sound like they know what they’re talking about.

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