How to Begin Gathering Content from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Quick Tips / May 3, 2024

By Paul Gassett

Often, one of the most daunting tasks facing anyone who is tasked with content gathering is establishing a process for reaching out and collecting that information from company subject matter experts. The larger the firm, the more of these SMEs there tends to be. 

Where to start?

1. Establish a data collection system:

This can be as simple as an Excel document that multiple individuals can access, or it can be a data management tool. If you are unsure what makes the most sense for your organization, contact us, and we will recommend the best process or tool for you.

2. Identify a system to gather qualitative content:

Much of a sustainability or ESG report consists of qualitative stories that showcase or highlight community involvement or ways in which the organization is bettering life for their employees as well as the communities in which they operate and live. Often, it is beneficial to reach out to all SMEs in your organization with a questionnaire that will help establish items you need for the report but also may spur additional ideas for content from the SMEs.

3. Follow up:

After receiving the questionnaires back from each SME, it can be helpful to schedule a follow up interview to probe more deeply into the topics they share in their written responses via the questionnaire. These personal interviews are similar to open-ended boxes on surveys that allow the exchange of ideas that may not have been covered in the specific questions.

4. Engage professional writers:

Often, those who have formal training in journalism or public relations have the skills to consolidate and write stories utilizing the input from SMEs to bring a report to life. This applies not only to the qualitative sections of a report but also to the quantitative summaries.

Want to learn more?

Reach out to our content experts.