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When it comes to designing and executing communications strategies for professional services firms, we have numerous tools at our disposal – from social media to blogs, media relations to conference outreach – to ensure clients’ key messages repeatedly reach their targeted audiences. And in today’s changing professional services and consulting markets, relying on just one of these aforementioned strategies is no longer enough. In this blog we’d like to delve into the rising importance of one of our areas of expertise: conference relations for professional services firms.

Why Conference Relations Should Be Part of Your Communications Strategy

If you’re contemplating a media relations or social media program for your professional services firm, you should see conference relations as part and parcel of that. At Stern, we see a communications strategy in a holistic way: it’s not just about getting out there in the third party press, or posting top-notch content on your owned platform. Those things drive awareness and help build and solidify relationships, but there’s no substitute for direct introductions to partners and clients at the biggest events in your industry. And while there are key differences between media relations and conference relations (notably time, with the latter requiring far more time investment than the former), we draw on the same skills of cultivating relationships and crafting messaging for conference outreach as we do for media outreach.

What Are the Key Differentiators for Your Firm?

If you work with a professional services firm – whether in law, accounting or management consulting – ask yourself a question: “why do my clients value my services?” It could be that your offerings are so unique and specialized that you alone can do what you do. But in a rapidly changing market for professional services, with AI potentially automating vast numbers of current occupations and clients seeing services are more commodities competing on price alone rather than value, firms will probably need something more. There’s no one answer here, but one very important one is “relationships.”

Conference Relations for Professional Services Firms: Why Are They Needed?

Media coverage is essential to help give your spokespeople and ideas a broad voice, but as anyone who works for a law, accounting or consulting firm knows, in this industry relationships are key. Speaking opportunities are in the room with the right people – and build the relationships and trust so essential to client partnerships.

Increasingly, firms will have to trade not just on “know-how” but on “trust,” as a report on the professional services industry from the Financial Times put it. That can be in the broad sense of a positive public image (which media relations and content creation are good at advancing), or in the more personalized sense of one-on-one relationship-building. Conference relations for professional services firms serve the purpose of not only getting your insights and expertise out there in the wider world, but can connect you directly with potential clients as part of the networking opportunities that typically accompany events.

And that’s the crux of the matter addressed at the beginning of this blog. In a hyper-competitive landscape, face-to-face communication is key, both with opinion-makers and with those who might need your services. It’s why we’ve also referred to conference relations as “direct engagement”: we’re directing you right to the source of business growth.

How Conferences Can Drive Business Development for Professional Services Firms was last modified: January 8th, 2024 by Brian Sherry