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Levity Aside, the 2022 White House Correspondents Dinner Reminded Us of Our Mission

As expected, Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” did a fantastic job presiding over last Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. True to form, Noah didn’t hold back, delivering some clever comedy that poked fun at everyone - both on the right and left. No one, including President Biden, was spared. What’s notable is that it’s been a long time since the WHCA event was attended by the President. Six years to be exact. And while it provided a great platform to lighten the mood and share some laughs, it was the message on the role that a free press plays in a civil society that Noah spoke to that stood out. His speech also reminded us of the important role our university and corporate clients have in helping national and local media find and connect with credible experts for their stories. Here are some highlights of the speech: Noah reminded us just how fortunate we are to live in a society where the media plays a critical role in our democracy. “So as we sit in this room tonight, I really hope we all remember what the real purpose of this evening is. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, we dress nice. Yes, the people eat, they drink, and have fun. But the reason we are here is to honor and celebrate the Fourth Estate and what you stand for — an additional check and balance that holds power to account. And gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one." Noah went on to focus on the importance of local media: "I’m not just talking about CNN or Fox or any of the other major organizations. I’m talking about everyone.” “Every single one of you, whether you like it or not, is a bastion of democracy,” Then, Noah went on to underscore the importance of a free press by addressing the Ukrainian invasion and the way Russia has violently suppressed its media outlets and free speech. Noah said: “If you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities — how meaningful it is — look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what’s really happening. In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth even if it makes people in power uncomfortable. Even if it makes your viewers or your readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is? I stood here tonight and I made fun of the president of the United States and I’m going to be fine. Do you really understand what a blessing it is? Maybe it’s happened for so long, it might slip your mind. It’s a blessing.” Noah then reminded us that we all have responsibilities by asking everyone in the room this important question: “Ask yourself this question. If Russian journalists who are losing their livelihoods and their freedom for daring to report on what their own government is doing — if they had the freedom to write any words, to show any stories, or to ask any questions, if they had basically what you have, would they be using it in the same that you do? Ask yourself that question every day because you have one of the most important roles in the world.” It was a very fitting end to an event that has in a lighthearted way since 1920 allowed us to laugh at our differences and come together across the aisle. I hope as you begin your week, you will remember that while the news is a business, our role in educating the public, countering mis/disinformation and speaking truth to power is something we can’t take for granted. President Biden in his WHCD remarks said it best: “I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that you, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century,” he said. “You are the guardians of the truth.” A link to the full broadcast of Trevor Noah’s remarks at the 2022 White House Correspondents Association is here: 

Peter Evans

3 min

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SEO: Why Expertise Ranks Higher

When the internet took off in the mid-90s, finding content wasn’t for the faint of heart. There were no directories or search engines and if you didn’t know where you wanted to go, you weren’t going very far. In the wild west of URLs, it became abundantly clear that we needed a better way to search. Yahoo brought us our first directory but in a list of websites, everyone’s content looked equal. That’s when Google stepped up to the plate. Right from the early days of search algorithms, they understood that people valued expert content and we needed a way to rank the credibility and integrity of a webpage. Drawing on his academic background, Larry Page introduced the concept that links could act like citations in a research paper. The original idea operated like a voting system; the more links, the higher the rank. While Google still places tremendous value on expertise, their algorithm for search engine optimization (SEO) has become significantly more complex. We know that it’s combination of on-page and off-page factors but at the end of the day, it boils down to delivering the quality content people are searching for. Source: Search Engine Land Give the People What They Want Today’s audiences want to build more meaningful connections with the institutions and businesses they engage, and that requires information. It’s not enough to put out an unimaginative website or tri-fold brochure. While these tactics may have worked a short time ago, traditional marketing often fails to deliver the level of detail audiences need to make purchasing decisions. From transparency to accountability, they have high expectations for organizations and the content they provide. They want to know how a product or service will uniquely work for them and how your organization aligns with their vision and values. Most of all, they need expert perspectives and proof you can deliver results. If you want to remain competitive, it’s essential to keep up with these rising demands for easy-to-find, high-quality content and secure you a key spot on Google’s SERP. Climbing the Ranks with Expertise Organizations, particularly those in knowledge-based industries (academia, consulting, professional services, medicine etc.), need to pay special attention to how Google is tuning its search algorithm to index information that is attributed to experts. Factors like quality, keyword research and freshness are all on-page tactics that help webpages improve their rank. With this in mind, here are just a few ways your experts and their content are contributing to your rank on Google: Meta-Tagging: Meta tags are snippets of text or rich media that help audiences understand what’s on your webpage from the Google SERP. To ensure they deliver the most relevant search results, both Google and YouTube have been updating their meta tagging and schema options to allow expert content to be indexed more descriptively. This includes everything from author attribution to expert answers the prestigious Rank Zero which highlights the best possible result to users at the very top of the page. Freshness: The freshness of content is correlated with content relevance, and it’s something Google highly values when ranking search. Not only will outdated employee biographies and profiles on your site negatively impact your ranking on search engines, but failing to deliver timely, relevant content on trending topics will also hold you back. By regularly updating your website with expert content, you’re showing that you’re an active contributor to that topic – building trust your audiences and increasing your rank on Google. Keywords: Google collects and indexes searches from users every day, so the richness of your keywords is critical to your search ranking. In many cases, you’ll find that expert content has a holistic way of providing information about high-searched topics in your industry. When an expert creates content, they not only include the targeted keywords, but they naturally incorporate latent semantic indexing as well which accounts for related terms. This all feeds into Google’s desire to surface the most relevant content and who better to do that than your experts. All of these factors are important considerations for improving your organic search rank. As a key driver in inbound traffic, improving your organic rank will not only increase brand awareness, but it also delivers higher-quality leads. And by sharing expert content on your digital channels, you’re showing your audiences and Google exactly what makes you an industry authority and why they should engage your business. Download The Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing For a comprehensive look at how expertise marketing benefits the entire organization and drives measurable return on investment, follow the link below to download a copy of ExpertFile’s Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing: The Next Wave in Digital Strategy or download one of our tailored Guides for Corporate & Professional Services, Higher Education Institutions, Healthcare Institutions or Association & Not-for-Profits.

Robert Carter

4 min

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5 Ways Expertise Marketing Supports Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is much more than merely redesigning your website or moving your files to the cloud. It’s about harnessing digital technologies to elevate your business. Specifically, digital transformation is strategically adapting your business processes to change company culture, empower your staff and keep up with rising consumer demands. Organizations of all sizes are taking on transformative initiatives to meet today’s expectations in the digital space, but research by IDG has concluded that we still have some growing to do: “IT leaders are making steady and sequential progress to becoming digital-first organizations – though not at the same breakneck speed that the technologies themselves are proliferating. For many organizations, the foundational pieces are in place, and they’re actively working on adopting newer technologies like AI and IoT. But successful digital transformation will also require equal attention to change management and workforce strategy for the entire organization.” Supporting the Bigger Picture It’s easy to get hung up on the technology but successfully transforming your business means thinking about everyone involved – including your experts. Here are five ways expertise marketing supports digital transformation: It aligns people. Most companies aren’t particularly good at telling their people that their expertise is valued and many employees don’t understand the role they play as brand ambassadors. On top of that, outdated biographies on the company website fail to share the work that these experts with the audiences who are looking for it. A well-constructed expertise marketing program helps get experts and executives aligned on how they can help the brand – and it helps marketing teams feed the content beast. It tracks data. Metrics on visitor behaviour are critical to calculating ROI and ensuring your content is working. That said, most organizations don’t have an intuitive way of tracking internal contributions to the corresponding engagement data – making it difficult to determine which people and topics are driving results. Expertise marketing programs are designed to capture essential metrics on employee contributions and ensure that leads are captured and routed to appropriate individuals and departments for prompt follow up and reporting. It enhances search and SEO. Part of digital transformation is creating a sustained online presence. By harnessing your collective expertise, you can quickly publish a large volume of quality, searchable content that boosts your owned content footprint. It also provides a way to capitalize on earned media opportunities related to breaking news and emerging trends. It drives collaboration. Many organizations corporate policies and standards tend to lack guidelines for generating and promoting individual experts. As a result, individual groups within the organization are forced to fill the void and essentially, do their own thing. This leads to a disconnected set of expensive, custom projects. Organizations with structured expertise marketing programs consistently report an increase in collaboration and organizational alignment. It minimizes risk. It’s becoming more and more important to ensure adherence to corporate brand standards and editorial guidelines, as well as regulatory standards such as accessibility compliance. By centralizing your content and utilizing a federated content management structure, you’re not only providing your employees with a common source for branded assets and templates, but you’re empowering them to get things done in the simplest way possible. This approach mitigates risk, speeds time to market and dramatically lowers costs to implement a program. Filling the Gaps with Expertise As mentioned above, digital transformation is a comprehensive business strategy with many moving parts. While expertise marketing is one component of this organizational change, it works in tandem with your other programs and complements any initiative aimed at boosts your digital presence. In fact, it’s proven to support many of the activities that organizations have yet to complete. IDG’s 2018 State of Digital Transformation Expertise marketing is a powerful tool for enabling and elevating digital transformation. By encouraging company-wide participation, it’s shown to increase internal uptake, generate higher-quality content and ultimately, drive better results in terms of ROI. If digital transformation is in your future, then you need to start thinking about your experts today.  Download the Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing For a comprehensive look at how expertise marketing benefits the entire organization and drives measurable return on investment, follow the link below to download a copy of ExpertFile’s Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing: The Next Wave in Digital Strategy or download one of our tailored Guides for Corporate & Professional Services, Higher Education Institutions, Healthcare Institutions or Association & Not-for-Profits.

Robert Carter Deanne Taenzer

3 min

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Thought Leadership 2.0: A New Approach

The term “thought leadership” has been exploited by self-proclaimed experts and overuse of the phrase has made the market weary of its practice. But before it was a buzzword, thought leadership was the crown jewel of content marketing. According to the Oxford Dictionary, thought leadership is “intellectual influence and innovative or pioneering thinking.” In practice, thought leaders leverage research and experience-based content to draw in audiences and support their organization’s reputation as an industry authority. This marketing concept has the power to transform product pitches to strategic insights and approaches into best practices, but not everyone found the same success with their programs – and there are a couple of good reasons why. This Is A Classified Project While it’s still true that thought leadership boosts customer engagement, some programs simply lack the depth needed to connect with audiences and see meaningful results. Many organizations are quick to jump on the latest marketing trend, but they don’t always have the vision to turn their expertise into a viable solution for their business. In fact, a leading research and consulting firm, Sirius Decisions, has suggested that “the purpose and process of thought leadership are widely misunderstood and misapplied, causing mixed results.” One of the most significant issues with thought leadership is that the C-Suite and other top-level teams tend to lead programs in a silo from the rest of the organization. It’s not uncommon for executives to outsource their thought leadership activities to special teams and agencies as a series of projects. This approach leads to disconnected outputs that miss the mark when it comes to audience engagement. It not only prevents subject-matter experts from elevating your content, but it also dismisses the wealth of knowledge they have about your audiences. Experts know who is looking for content, where they’ll go to find it and which topics they’ll follow. So when you exclude them from the process, you’re going to miss out on opportunities to drive market visibility, brand reputation and new customer connections. Your Experts Are People Too When you put something on a pedestal, you make it easy for people to see but hard for them to reach – and that’s a problem in the digital world. People want to deal with organizations who provide the information they need on the channels they use, and in a voice they understand. To be successful with thought leadership, it’s vital to understand these needs and take a human approach to your marketing and communications. Unfortunately, many thought leadership programs take a campaign-oriented approach and can mimic the dated marketing practices that centre around products rather than people. They come off as too formal and use “corporate speak” which makes them far less approachable. Worst of all, they often lack the authenticity audiences are looking for – so why not let your people do the talking? Your in-house experts make great brand ambassadors for your organization. By expanding your notions of thought leadership, you open the door for many voices to share your message in a manner that’s inclusive, genuine and accessible. This also makes it easier for you to maintain your online presence and insert diversity into your content marketing. Rather than repeating the same ideas over and over, your broader team of experts will be able to capture varying perspectives and insights – supporting your position as a leader in that domain. Evolving Thought Leadership While the concept of thought leadership still resonates with audiences, it’s time to make a few changes. Here are just a few reasons to transition dated thought leadership projects into profitable expertise marketing programs: Excerpt from the Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing As you can see, expertise marketing takes the best parts of thought leadership and makes it more inclusive, sustainable and agile – and all at a lower cost. On top of this, expertise marketing incorporates human connections as a fundamental component of both the strategy and execution. It surfaces diverse expert perspectives, delivers authenticity and creates two-way conversations between you and your audiences. Most of all, it can easily be adapted as our environments change and new audience needs emerge. If your thought leadership program lacks results, you’ll likely have to broaden your views on expertise and leadership. Take a closer look at all of your people and the value they bring to your business. This inclusive approach to expertise marketing will not only make it easier to manage thought leadership, but it will also deliver the long-term success you want from your marketing. Download The Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing For a comprehensive look at how expertise marketing benefits the entire organization and drives measurable return on investment, follow the link below to download a copy of ExpertFile’s Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing: The Next Wave in Digital Strategy or download one of our tailored Guides for Corporate & Professional Services, Higher Education Institutions, Healthcare Institutions or Association & Not-for-Profits.

Peter Evans

4 min

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5 Tips On Creating Engaging Expert Profiles

If you’ve ever taken part in a website project, you know that not all content is created equal. We spend countless hours perfecting the homepage, but we often forget to tell our audiences who we are. The people behind the scenes in an organization provide some of the best opportunities to create relevant and relatable content for audiences. Take the “About Us” page for example. Ironically, it’s often an afterthought for digital teams who upload some boilerplate copy and call it a day. But people buy from people and the more human you can make your content the better the user experience will be. Here are some tips to help you create that personal connection. The Old Profile  Our research shows that most employee content comes up surprisingly short when audiences conduct an online search. This is becoming a more critical element to consider, given that 78% of B2B buyers now use Google as a starting point for their online activities. While there can be several factors impacting your Google rank, the issue often comes down to a lack of quality content on employee-related pages. Many organizations resort to posting outdated headshots next to a title for their employee sections. If you’re lucky, you might find a boring text biography that fails to capture the depth of experience and expertise offered by your team. These tactics may have worked a decade ago, but today’s audiences now expect expert profiles to contain detailed biographies, multimedia and social content. This is especially true for B2B prospects like journalists and prospects looking for professional services. Any half-decent writer can make a person sound pretty important in a bio, but these audiences are looking for proof of your expertise. It’s not enough to tell audiences you’re great – you have to show them. Today’s audiences consume content differently, so it’s essential that you bring your expert profiles into the 21st century. The New Profile Here are 5 ways you can improve your employee content to better drive visitor attention, interaction and trust: Go Beyond Boring Bios: The new way to create expert profiles is to provide a detailed overview of an employee’s expertise and experience. This means that in addition to creating a detailed biography, you should also share content that shows key accomplishments that build credibility and trust: Are they an author? Have they spoken at a conference? Interviewed for a podcast? It’s important to get this information listed. Get Visual & Social: Beyond the written biography, look for ways to make content for your people more interesting for your audiences. Are there YouTube videos, Slideshares, Tweets, or thumbnails to books they have written? If so, you can leverage these assets for their profile. Remember if you are pitching media or conference organizers, this information is becoming tablestakes for journalists or event bookers who are vetting media sources or speakers. Show You Are Relevant & In-Demand: Public appearances and news spotlights can take your experts from unknown to sought-after. There are two ways to tackle this. The first is to capture any existing media releases to ramp up their credentials. If your expert hasn’t yet participated in this type of activity, publish content that speaks to emerging topics and news trends and provide quotes available to the media on newsworthy topics. This is a proven way to earn the attention of journalists and allow you to start building visibility as an industry insider. Go Beyond Your Website: While your website is ideal for hosting expert profiles, it’s not the only place to let your team shine. If you want to boost your visibility, make sure you take advantage of opportunities on third-party sites and platforms. This might include industry directories or your client/partner websites. By using the ExpertFile Platform, you can also publish your expert profiles to reach thousands of newsrooms through our media partners. Be More Approachable: It’s funny that almost every page on most websites has a call to action. However if you visit most people profiles, the journey ends there – or worse, it takes the visitor off your website and to an old, tired Linkedin profile. Instead, let your audiences get in touch with your business by including a specific call-to-actions (CTAs) within your expert profile. Depending on the size and capabilities of your organization, you might have want to enable direct connections to experts or opt to funnel leads through a various departments. Either way, the key to getting leads is starting a conversation. Download the Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing For a comprehensive look at how expertise marketing benefits the entire organization and drives measurable return on investment, follow the link below to download a copy of ExpertFile’s Complete Guide to Expertise Marketing: The Next Wave in Digital Strategy or download one of our tailored Guides for Corporate & Professional Services, Higher Education Institutions, Healthcare Institutions or Association & Not-for-Profits.

Deanne Taenzer

4 min

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How to Show Your Smarts: A Proven Approach to Expertise Marketing

If you’re operating in a knowledge-based industry, you’re in the business of selling expertise. Unfortunately, many organizations in these expert-rich sectors take an ad-hoc approach to planning and executing their expertise marketing initiatives. As a result, they often lack coordination across departments and fail to leverage valuable assets such as talent, content, technology and media channels. By following some simple rules, you will see significantly better results.  It Starts with A Conversation First we need to talk about cross-team collaboration. Expertise marketing is a team sport, so it’s vital that your star players are ready. Throughout your organization, there are a broad range of people who are eager to support this type of initiative.Don’t focus too much on roles or seniority levels. At this stage, it’s about having candid discussions with the people around you and then expanding the conversation. You could start by discussing the value of expertise with stakeholders in your organization and sharing how it would help you meet your targets. Or you could reach out to department leads and team managers to get their insights and generate ideas. Most importantly, you need to get to know people outside of your immediate circle and discover the hidden talent within your organization. Sometimes the best results come from surprising places. The ExpertFile Approach As we go through the key elements of an expertise marketing program, you might find that you’re already following some of our best practices. However, when we start working with our clients, we often find that their expert content is disconnected and scattered across various teams and channels. If this sounds like you, that’s ok – you just need a bit of help putting the pieces together. Below, we’ve provided an overview of our proven approach and its alignment with the 5 key elements of expertise marketing: Strategy & Talent: The first step is to assess your expertise bench strength in your organization at various levels. Using a range of evaluation tools and techniques, we set out to identify any hidden expertise in your organization and establish what each expert can contribute. By engaging experts to share their expertise early on, we can define a strategy and open up doors for a range of high-quality content. Storytelling: Now, we need to establish your strengths and how we can best position your experts for your target audiences. Not only do we want to create stories that highlight your core offering, but we also need to showcase your experts in the context of breaking news and emerging issues. This ensures that you are always putting out timely and relevant content for high-value audiences like journalists, conference organizers and other media professionals. Digital Experience: Once you know which topics are best for your organization, we need to boost audience engagement with rich online experiences. We audit any existing channels and develop comprehensive “content footprints” for your experts. These footprints map out the future state of your expert content – such as new webpages, speakers’ bureaus, improved expert profiles, multi-media and/or social content assets.  Search & Discovery: All the planning in the world won’t help you if your content isn’t visible. At this stage, we look to optimize your channels and maximize your reach with new and existing audiences. By publishing your expert content in searchable formats, we can make your organization more approachable and discoverable across your owned channels, search engines, social networks and newsroom platforms. Measurement: To show momentum it’s essential that we measure and track important content metrics to ensure the expertise marketing program is meeting expectations. We focus on key metrics such as expert content contributions, visitor engagement, and direct expert inquiries. And because we consider this from the onset of a project, we’re able to accurately report on your return on investment (ROI).

Peter Evans

3 min

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