Public Relations Should Be Kept in Your Firm’s Mix

Welcome to the AccountingWEB series “Marketing Today and Tomorrow” by Sally Glick, CMO, principal, Sobel & Co., LLC. You can see all of her articles here.

There was a time when a marketing director used the word “media” and everyone assumed it was in reference to business journalists or other members of the press. Today, media is instantly connected to “social media,” which is an effective and efficient channel for sending a message – whether through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, a blog, or some other platform your firm prefers.

However, the good old-fashioned press is being overlooked as a legitimate way for your firm to receive some great exposure and to help build its reputation. This media includes your local business papers, online news sources, daily newspapers, local magazines, and especially trade journals. News is also transmitted by radio, TV, online broadcasts, cable networks, and other electronic sources.

When the press quotes you, cites you as a resource, or even covers your firm in an article, this positive reinforcement is beyond monetary value. When a journalist or reporter speaks to someone from your firm about a critical topic, it serves as an objective endorsement of your firm’s status as experts. Unlike an advertising campaign that you control and pay for, press coverage is not self-serving, and it sends a more trustworthy message to the business community about your value.

There are many ways your firm can build meaningful relationships with the local press. Start by being proactive, reaching out to the press instead of waiting for them to come to you.

Remember: The one universal necessity that all reporters have is to gather credible information in a timely manner. Whether they are pursuing a story or just confirming facts, they need to get the job done well and with speed. There is always a deadline for the press, and today’s journalists are busier than ever before, not only writing stories for print, but also for their organization’s website. Many write blogs, as well, which only adds to their growing responsibilities as members of the press.

Knowing this, you can make yourself and others in your firm available whenever there is news to share. This can range from emerging tax regulations to business challenges; from local fiscal issues to those with national and international implications; from simple information to issues with complicated and complex details. The more you proactively share with the press, the more likely they are to turn to you for help.

You can also produce a press kit, complete with details about the senior partners at your firm, their areas of expertise, and your firm’s specialty services. Or you can be much less formal and simply e-mail or call the local reporters when you have news that their readers will care about. Remember: They need to fill the paper with relevant stories, so if you have something they can use, be sure to share it.

Finally, when you are hosting a roundtable, seminar, or conference, invite your local press as your guests. Give them access to resources and, in return, they may cover your event!

About the author:
Sally Glick, CMO, principal, Sobel & Co, LLC, brings the experience and insights she has gained during her more than thirty years in the profession. She has spent her career working as a marketing consultant assisting a wide range of CPA firms across the country. At Sobel & Co., she has responsibility for the firm's marketing communications and its focus on business development.

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