“We need more leads.” It’s one of the first things we hear from professional services firms looking to partner with us. Over the course of the conversation, we learn of a desire to create and amplify thought leadership, secure more and better media coverage and land more speaking slots at conferences. A common hypothesis is that by cultivating thought leadership and getting more PR results for it, leads and business growth will follow.
We are big believers in the power executive visibility and PR can have on a business. But when it comes to PR for professional services firms, merely getting “results” in the traditional sense doesn’t always automatically lead to new business connections.
When developing PR for professional services firms, don’t overlook the niche platforms
In our experience of partnering with professional services firms, we find many of our clients are looking to reach a C-level audience — the ultimate decision makers. Naturally when asked about their dream publications and platforms, they gravitate toward top brands such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, TED, etc. Absolutely, these are important platforms to reach those in the C-suite, but they aren’t the only ones. When developing a PR for professional services firms strategy, we don’t overlook publications and events tied to industry and vertical markets. Some of the most impactful results can come from these hyper-targeted platforms that often provide the opportunity for more in-depth coverage. This is especially true since while executives in specific fields or industries are often more or less perusing the Journal and Bloomberg, they’re reading their primary professional or industry publication far more regularly and closely, looking for insights and ideas about their market.
Correlate PR success to tangible business outcomes
Traditional PR results – whether it’s in the form of a media placement or speaking invitation – can be a critical measure of success. They provide third-party validation and can help establish credibility. But these measures should not be viewed as an ending, but rather as a critical piece of your business development strategy.
Rarely does the proverbial phone ring as the result of one media placement. To move customers and prospects from awareness to action, you must find ways to effectively market and leverage that placement. Put it on social media, email it directly to that prospect you’ve been talking to, consider how the topic could translate to a speech. If your company lands a speaking opportunity, your speech and the resulting video (if provided) can be repurposed for a blog post. If your talk is in-person, make sure to maximize your time there. We’ve seen many clients land multiple pieces of business by making the right contacts at a single conference. Their talks are generally well-received, but what often seals the deal is the conversations that take place in between conference sessions – meetings that can be arranged in advance if you check out the attendee list and program agenda.
One of the biggest communication pitfalls in PR for professional services firms is relying on PR results alone as a measuring stick for success. Unless you take action to integrate those results into your marketing and business development strategies, you could risk being disappointed with your ROI.
If you’d like to learn more about how to align your PR campaign to your business growth, we’d love to connect.