How to Find Subject Matter Experts Using Slack & Other Web Communities

Whether you might be involved together with your E-A-T rating, the current BERT replace, actual or imaginary “LSI keywords“, or, like me, you are just trying to publish the best damn content on the web, this blog post will teach you about using Slack as a tool to improve your online marketing through finding subject matter experts (SMEs).

Many of the ideas here apply equally well to online forums, IRC communities, and other types of online communities.

Successful non-branded SEO campaigns are often about creating amazingly useful, well-written educational content.

But creating great content is not easy.

Your content needs to be:

  • Accurate.
  • Well-written.
  • Timely.
  • Useful (often including illustrations or images).
  • Formatted for easy consumption.

It should have the right tone and vocabulary level and must be titled and described in such a way that it is both findable and compelling to open.

These are the same sorts of traits that a publisher might’ve suggested for a book a century ago.

Table-stakes editorial and publishing is hard enough, but it is futile without having experts in the topical area to help author and advise on the content.

Unless you are doing SEO for yourself as a small business owner, you are almost certainly not an expert in the topical area you are trying to rank for.

Even if you learn what your audience is learning, and have the dedication to understand the world of the person you are hoping will find your content helpful, you are unlikely to have the sort of mastery that a topical expert who isn’t also an SEO, writer, or marketer will have.

Slack and other online communities are a great place to find experts in topical areas who may be new to creating content about their topical area but are true specialists in their arenas.

Slack is also a great place to find trending topics, interesting insights, and links to other content in the space – newsletters, podcasts, forums, influencers, conferences, and presentations.

Raising the Bar on SEO Author Expertise

There are certain types of SEO content that may not require true domain expertise.

For example, a fine roundup of the top 12 food trucks in Denver could probably be created by someone not from Denver and who happens to not care for food out of trucks using a ranking system based on aggregated Yelp + Google Reviews and Instagram Mentions in the past 12 months – or using some other heuristic. The expertise in this type of content is in research, data gathering, and analysis.

Other types of SEO content, though, requires primary knowledge of a topical area.

For example, despite the recent interest in AI/ML among SEO types, most marketers tasked with creating great content that would be of interest to the longstanding AI/ML community should seek out experts in the community to help create the content.

It is blatantly obvious when a non-expert tries to write something for an expert audience.

To succeed at SEO through non-branded educational content, brands and websites must attempt to raise their editorial standards to that of a magazine or newspaper.

This starts with developing relationships and making connections with experts in the community of people interested in the topic you are publishing about.

Not all experts are suited to be a byline author. It might be the case that you hire an expert to be an advisor on which topics to cover, to work as a fact-checker or specialized researcher, or for other behind-the-scenes work.

Simply hiring an expert and conducting an interview, then turning the answers into web content can be a step in the right direction.

The purpose here is to get the information from the expert rather than trying to use the expert’s credentials or name as a validation point on otherwise questionable content.

How to Get Started Using Slack to Find Subject Matter Experts

The most important thing to remember is not to spam.

Don’t be pushy, or aggressive, or dive right in.

Just find some communities, lurk and observe, slowly join conversations and contribute – become part of the community you seek to understand and engage with.

These tips generally apply to all web communities, from IRC to Slack to Reddit.

1. Find Communities

Find a couple of Slack communities related to the topical you are publishing about.

Slofile is a great tool for finding Slack communities. There are also many lists of communities such as this list of 2,000 Slack Chat Groups from Standuply.

Of course, it’s also great to just use Google with searches like “Slack Communities for [Topic/Location/Podcast/Reddit/Community] + [XYZ]”.

2. Lurk & Observe

Spend a couple of days or perhaps weeks simply hanging out.

Read the conversations, try what hyperlinks are posted, lookup the Twitter accounts of the influencers talked about, strive to determine what web sites are influential for the viewers.

It’s necessary to get a way of the group earlier than interacting. Understand what kind of content material will get posted wherein group.

3. Join Conversations

Try to be useful.

If you see a query for which you’ll be able to present a hyperlink that solutions it, accomplish that.

Be pleasant. Ask a query or two.

Engage authentically and with good intentions.

4. Use Hiring/Jobs Channels

Many Slack communities have a #hiring or #part-time-jobs channel or comparable. Check that out and create a submit for a part-time SME creator.

Be clear that you just aren’t essentially searching for somebody with writing expertise – you might be searching for somebody who deeply understands a topical space.

If there isn’t a hiring space, contemplate direct messaging a number of the extra insightful group members concerning the alternative.

Tips for Working with Subject Matter Experts

Here are some suggestions to assist you to work easily with material specialists:

  • Make the phrases of the settlement clear. What precisely do you count on them to ship, and by when? What precisely you’re going to do with the content material. Is it OK if this content material is revealed on another web site?
  • Check for plagiarism for any creator you don’t know and belief. I choose Copyscape for plagiarism checking. Many SMEs who don’t come from a publishing background won’t perceive widespread journalistic requirements round plagiarism.
  • Use Upwork or the same service to handle the connection, particularly originally. This means you will have the belief and safety of utilizing escrow and different advantages.
  • Edit the content material your SMEs produce. They’re not skilled writers! Add subheadings, bullet factors, illustrations, enhance the titles. Provide suggestions so that they see what modifications you make and what you need to see.
  • Pay pretty. Great content material shouldn’t be low-cost. You aren’t paying for the SME’s time to write, you might be paying for the time it took them to grow to be an knowledgeable.
  • Develop relationships with belief on each side. You don’t need to be searching for a brand new knowledgeable each time you want a brand new weblog submit revealed in a topical space. Instead, you need to develop private relationships with long-standing SME contributors.
  • Help unknown specialists grow to be influencers. They find out about a topical space, you recognize about on-line advertising and marketing, and dealing collectively you may assist one another.

Other Places to Find Experts Online

HARO continues to be maybe the one finest instrument for getting mentions and hyperlinks in main media and print publications, particularly for somebody simply beginning out and with out connections.

HARO will also be used to discover specialists in particular topical areas.

The drawback – or in some instances the benefit – with utilizing HARO, is that the individuals who reply are making an attempt to be discovered.

This means the people who find themselves overtly promotional, those that try to enhance their very own visibility as a result of maybe they’ve obtained a ebook within the works, are those you will see that.

There could also be a time and place for this, however the subject material specialists who’re naïve to the world of media and publishing are extra seemingly the higher long-term companions for expert-written content material a few topic.

Web boards stay a incredible place to discover specialists. There is probably going no higher repository of normal automotive upkeep data on this planet than is discovered on internet boards.

Reddit and different area of interest social media communities are additionally an amazing place to search for SMEs.


You most likely want to begin working with specialists in order for you to create one of the best rattling content material on the net.

An effective way to discover the specialists you want is to grow to be part of their group and interact with them on their phrases, on their platforms.

Instead of hiring knowledgeable search engine optimization or marketer to write content material, search to rent specialists who can create actually beneficial content material.

While working with material specialists, don’t cease studying every little thing you may concerning the topical space.

After years of learning, studying, studying, modifying, and writing you may ultimately attain the knowledgeable stage inside an trade.

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