How would you go about assembling an Expert Panel?

bernard

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I'm looking to assemble an Expert Panel for one of my sites, that will contribute comments on various articles, do product testing and write guides/do video.

These will most likely be professionals or semi-professionals in the field (fitness related).

Have you done anything like this and what would recommend?

My initial plan is to:

1. Make my website look as professional as possible

I'm having someone do a redesign with particular focus on front page and About Us. I will also get some professional photos taken of me sporting logo gear. This also indirectly includes getting as many pageviews as I can, so they can see it is a serious site.

2. Reach out individually

I plan on reaching out to bloggers in the field and ask if they want to be part of the Expert Panel. Doing so I can fine tune my outreach and recruiting skills. I will offer a combination of marketing benefits, money and maybe even links (in case they seem to be SEO wise). Since I don't really have a social media presence, that will probably make it more difficult. I just want to get a few known names onboard here.

3. Post ads in Facebook groups

I plan on doing this once I have a few well known names on board, I will go to the facebook groups and post ads looking for contributers. Here I hope to get up and coming professionals, influencers and bloggers, who will work cheaper and who will want the branding and exposure. I will offer them money as well.

4. Recruit from a "Write for us" page

Finally, I will add an "Write for Us" page where individuals, not SEOs, can find my site and read how to contribute. There will be various requirements to avoid guest post one hit wonders.
 

Potatoe

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Luckily you for, the fitness niche has some of the most clout-driven, insecure, "PLS NOTICE ME!!!" people on the planet. You'll have almost no friction convincing them to contribute to your project if you can put together a remotely-decent following and signal-boost their name/content in the slightest. This works for people with thousands of fans, and even millions.

I used to do posts about a YouTuber who had about 1m subscribers and he'd promote every one of them, even though it was mostly just an embed of his own video with a paragraph or two of text. He'd post his video to his socials, then later that day he'd post my post about his video. He sent over a lot more traffic than he received, but there's a certain ego boost from seeing his name on an ARTICLE from a WEBSITE.

Maybe you could have a section where you cover some of the HUGE names in your area of fitness, and then sprinkle in content about the people you're trying to attract. Show them that you can put them "next" to the icons in their field (and even position them as an EXPERT), these people sometimes have some pretty weird ego stuff going on that drives them to seek out this career in the first place, and you can absolutely play with that to get way more than you have to give.

So, the more you can play up the fact that working with you will bring them ATTENTION, the more eager they'll be.

Remember it's almost all about appearances. If your site looks legit, looks like a really impressive platform, makes them look good for being featured as an expert... it doesn't really matter if you get 10 visitors a day, or 10 thousand.

They usually want to "help people by spreading fitness and positivity and well-being" which is often another way of saying "I want a ton of people to watch me be hot on social media."

Take the average person's addiction to posting selfies and getting that endorphin rush from likes and attention, now imagine the top 0.1% of people who fiend for that, and give them an easy path to getting their fix, and you're set.

You know what they're looking for (attention, validation, clout, and ahem to help people live a healthier life). Show them how you can give that to them.

Send every one of them a t-shirt with your logo, it'll cost you about $20 a pop. Get them to wear it for their profile pic on your expert panel or w/e. Fuck it, send a mug too, a shaker bottle.

Random thought, maybe make a quiz/questionnaire for them to take to see if they're "qualified" - invite them to take it, like those adult sites that have quizzes like "Do you PINKY SWEAR to wear a condom when you meet up with these HOT MOMS in your area? Our moms are so fertile that you need to promise, ok?!" (or so I've been told.) Like 5-6 questions about your area of fitness, maybe some opinion stuff, things that nobody will get wrong but it'll make them feel like they "earned" it, like you're helping them. I'd be curious to ask them which fitness influencers inspire them and stuff like that too, that would be a cool angle for content + outreach to those bigger figures later. Actually, having experts answer short surveys can give you sooo many lanes for clicky and shareable content down the road. Happy to help brainstorm some more specific ideas about that.

Lots of these people don't even have websites, so don't focus too too much on outreach to bloggers unless that's specifically what you're looking for, cos you'll miss out on a lot of people that way. There are 1,842,534 "fitness professionals" with at least 10k followers who are all trying to get more popular, who aren't really doing anything all that unique or special, who don't really have any solid qualifications besides looking great so they need help taking that next step and being called an "expert" by a legit website is a hell of a lot easier than any formal education in kinesiology or nutrition.

If they're on IG, look for people who can do the "Swipe up" thingy, you can get some hot traffic that way when they promote the content they contribute to your site. If it's on FB, you know the drill. You can hop on TikTik and spend 10-15 minutes a day <3'ing any fitness-related videos and soon your feed will be absolutely chock full of fitness infleuencers looking for attention. Imagine one of your experts tweeting that they're proud to be the latest addition to your expert panel, and all their competitors and haters just seething at it, and wanting to be featured next. You can also have an "expert of the month" to get them competing against one another.

This is cool, there's so much fun stuff you can do here, I'm excited for you. There's still so many micro-infleuencers who have built powerful little communities, who still don't realize the value of the platforms they've created, who are just happy to be approached by someone that isn't a bitcoin casino or tummy tea. This stretches way past the fitness niche, too, for anyone else out there...
 
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Did you consider sharing profits generated with them and making them part of your internal team?
 

bernard

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Did you consider sharing profits generated with them and making them part of your internal team?
Yes, but I think that is a very complicated thing to do and you really have to think hard about how to structure such a deal. I've rarely seen it work in reality, because if I have an asset that is earning, and has a value, should they buy their way in? With money, time or Youtube videos?
 
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Bernard this is a great idea but hot damn hard in terms of execution. I'm actually in the process of doing something very similar with a round table of experts.

A website with traffic is mandatory but you really need a clean social profile. The fitness influencers out there love attention but they love getting paid more. I've found outreach without a good brand behind you leads the influencers to gouging you in price/what they want in return.

I am curious on how the facebook ads would work though. I have no experience with them so I can't speak of them.

I've tried to recruit writers with contacts in the fitness world but that hasn't really helped either. I plan on creating a better author page with the experts I have writing for me to create better trust factor.

I have other ideas planned but maybe my strategy is not ideal.
 

bernard

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A website with traffic is mandatory but you really need a clean social profile. The fitness influencers out there love attention but they love getting paid more. I've found outreach without a good brand behind you leads the influencers to gouging you in price/what they want in return.

Yes, but it's a bit catch 22 isn't it.

You're unlikely to get a strong social brand in fitness without some good looking people promoting it or at least some high level fitness bloggers writing for you and those people, as you say, are usually well aware of their commercial value.

I'll figure something out though. Having a site that looks great should be a necessary minimum.
 

CCarter

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It'll depend on how you are monetizing the website and getting money. It can get complicated since it's your on-site traffic. If it was an expert that was sending traffic through an affiliate link from off-site that's easy, because you got an end result: a lead, SAAS sign-up, or product/service being sold. Traffic where the person originated from before going to your site is simple with the affiliate link. Crediting them is easy.

Here, if it is display or Adsense type of monetization that's too much work. You would have to know how much money EACH page is making from your various display networks then calculate whatever percentage you negotiated with each expert (programmers will need to be involved), I doubt any display network is publishing that type of information.

I don't have anymore display, Adsense, or affiliate sites anymore so I've been out that game for awhile.

If it's a product/service sale, sign-up, or lead, then you can track the last page the user visited then clicked through to the sales funnel and credit the expert cause they are smooth as baby shit with converting users into a sale from the content they created. BUT this will require programmers at some level to monitor the cross-referencing.

Maybe you can run reports from Google Analytics or your analytics software against the previous page before the sale funnel. Matomo (former Piwik) has an API I can hit to know these metrics.

It's probably easier to partner up with experts and give them a share of the company to grow the operation, with the option to remove people if they are no longer contributing.

Since they are doing a ton of work: writing, shooting videos, guides, product test, and more it might be easiest just to pay them straight forward.

It's pretty much like authors: are they employees, sub-contractors, or part owners of the company.

I personally think it would be easiest just to pay them one-time for each content/video.

When things are over-complicated from the beginning it always falls to shit.
 

bernard

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It's probably easier to partner up with experts and give them a share of the company to grow the operation, with the option to remove people if they are no longer contributing.

Since they are doing a ton of work: writing, shooting videos, guides, product test, and more it might be easiest just to pay them straight forward.

It's pretty much like authors: are they employees, sub-contractors, or part owners of the company.

I personally think it would be easiest just to pay them one-time for each content/video.

Thanks, yes I tend to agree.

What's unsaid here is "what will it cost", because if money was no concern, the choice here would be fairly obvious, just pay as you go.

Which means this is really more a question of negotiating and trying to calculate the expected value of their contributions.

I have no idea what the going rate is for a personal trainer/influencer to do a "product test" is. I mean, a real one, not a lame 10 second recommendation. I suppose I could begin with figuring out what their hourly rates are for personal training.

I could also offer a yearly small retainer fee to keep their name and credentials on my site, with some requirements for minimum necessary production each year. It could be a bonus based on how well the site does.

My question probably is more about how to make the offer financially enticing enough to make them want to have their name associated with the website, without having to pay huge monthly fees.
 

secretagentdad

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Dude just treat them like partners.

Get partners, expect a partner level contribution. Adjust stakes based on commitment.

Influence is weird. You can’t really hire rain makers to be your junior.
 

bernard

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Dude just treat them like partners.

Get partners, expect a partner level contribution. Adjust stakes based on commitment.

Influence is weird. You can’t really hire rain makers to be your junior.

Yes, I am also not against doing that.

I just have no idea how to go about it.