Deep-Diving to Become a Subject-Matter Expert

I recently got the pleasure of working with a new account in a space that was relatively new to me. When we met with their executives to review the PR Proposal, to determine if we would be their agency of choice, their CEO expressed some hesitation in our not being able to really understand the space. I love a ‘vertical learning curve,’ so I took this as a personal challenge, as I have worked in many industries, and have quickly become a subject-matter expert in a new field.

Here are some things you can do to become a subject matter expert in a short period of time:

  • “Memorize” the company website- click on anything that is click-able. Review all news, press releases, presentations, case studies, etc.
  • Get engaged in their social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter
  • Do a Google search on the company and keywords applicable to the subject/space, and see if there is anything that wasn’t covered on their page
  • Do keyword searches on relevant keywords (i.e., re-targeting), to find out competitors, publications covering the space, and editors/journalists that are covering them
  • Do keyword searches (i.e., re-targeting) on sites like YouTube and SlideShare, to see videos and presentations, to better understand the space and technology
  • Research the competition- find out similarities and differences in the major competitors
  • Set up Google alerts on the keywords and companies, to stay abreast of any updates & changes
  • Find out who the thought leaders are in the space, and follow them on blogs, twitter, Facebook, and Google+
  • Sign up for newsletters that are dedicated to the subject matter

With the internet and social media, we literally have the world at our fingertips.

Being continually open to learning is one of the secrets to staying young. Embrace every opportunity to learn a new field or subject, and become proficient enough to be able to contribute thought leadership in the area. Learn, then pass it along, so that others may benefit from your learning.