What Makes a Good Subject Matter Expert

Remember the Aaron Sorkin TV series “The Newsroom?” In the premiere episode, when Will McAvoy’s cable news team becomes the first to report an oil spill, the news outlet had “experts” on hand, ready to go on air with their perspectives. Ever wonder how that works and who those people are?

Reporters and media outlets are always on the lookout for quality subject matter experts. A subject matter expert is someone who has a depth of knowledge in a given field. Reporters use them to lend creditability to a story.

Knowing what reporters look for can help better position you to weigh in as an expert. To be considered a quality subject matter expert, you should have:

  • High credibility and credentials
    Reporters are looking for experts with credentials in their field of expertise.
  • Speed in response
    Journalists work on tight deadlines they are looking for an expert to respond in a timely fashion.
  • Diversity of expert
    Media outlets are looking for diversity in ethnicity as well as in gender.
  • Previous interview experience
    Reporters like it when another journalist has vetted you. Previous interview experience lends credibility, and they know you are well versed in the topic.
  • Flexible availability for interviews
    Journalists and media outlets often work under tight deadlines and breaking news stories. It is vital to have an expert who is flexible and available for interviews when needed.

For all the un-tapped experts out there, let us know if you need any help sharing your wisdom!

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