Get Press When You Can!
The local media has a job to do: fill their publication with relevant information that will hold their readers' attention. If your firm is doing something noteworthy, or has information that is meaningful, do not be shy about contacting your local journalists. Most of the time, they are appreciative of your call. Obviously they are not interested in self-serving "news" about your firm, but if you have real information of value to the business community, they are typically 'all ears.' A client of our firm recently completed major construction to their facility, adding solar panels and other "green" updates. They invited the governor to a ribbon cutting ceremony, but instead of tooting their own horn, they emphasized how these changes would help the environment while also saving the business money. They spun their improvements into a meaningful story for their market. The resulting coverage helped to establish them as a business leader and to promote their company's name in a new way. When you have a similar situation, you, too, should consider reaching out to the press.
It is important for you to realize that to work with the local press you do not need to be a large firm nor do you need an expensive PR company to assist you. Reporters need immediate responses, and often using a PR firm gets in their way. If you have timely, critical information, or a perspective on a new trend in business or can offer insights on the impact of a new pronouncement, just call. Reporters are easy to reach; their e-mail address is often printed immediately below any article they have submitted for publication. You can also call the Business Desk at the paper or magazine and ask for a reporter by name. Your goal is to establish a comfort level with your firm. Once the journalist knows you are dependable, honest, knowledgable, resourceful, and quick to respond, you will have other opportunities for PR going forward. It even helps if you do not have the information they need when they call. if you can pass them on to someone else who can be of assistance, your generosity will be much appreciated!.
I recommend you build those press relationships and consider how your firm's initiatives and skills can be leveraged by the media to help build your credibility and brand.
P.S. When you hold programs or sponsor events, be sure to include the media as well.
Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.