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Specialization. Expertise. Savvy. Or, if you are slightly more daring, adroitness.
Becoming a "Subject Matter Expert" is always a good thing because with mastery of a certain topic comes credibility, leadership and some extra cash.
We see this a lot in the wonderful world of public relations.
Our client partners love being positioned as a "thought leader" when their industry could use one. Technology, healthcare and even the culinary world. Being a SME in your vertical creates a platform, but if you are a flack at any agency, of what subject matter are you an expert?
Being an expert at your agency is a great thing; however, what do you do when your subject becomes irrelevant? Easy. You diversify.
When I first dipped my toe in the shallow end of PR agency life, I brought with me a vast collection of contacts and experience in the church world. And then the first account I was given was with the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association.
What the what?!
The only thing I had in common with the WSWA was I had been known to imbibe on adult beverages. You know, every New Years...and every other weekend. I was nervous, but I faked it until I made it. I trapped myself in a room with a media list and learning the alcohol world.
Three months later, I scored a sizable piece of ink in USA Today. From there, I used that experience with clients in the consumer, culinary and chef spaces. To this day, I'm a SME in those areas.
Good times but it wouldn't have been if I would have chosen to stay in a corner with the subject matter I already knew. Don't be afraid to grow, to diversify, to learn.
Your career may thank you later.