By Mary Lynn Thomas, Marketing Coordinator, May & Company, LLP
Have you been looking for a better way to get information out to clients and prospects about your firm? Press releases have always been a simple, low-cost marketing method. Today the Internet makes the process even simpler.
But by using this resource, are you indeed reaching the largest possible market for your efforts? Have you established a system that makes the process easy for you? Are you utilizing every opportunity for a press release? Maybe it is time to review and update your current system.
Research Your Media Market
Too often we think of the local media as the only contact for press releases. You may be overlooking a valuable marketing tool by not including publications in neighboring towns as well as statewide business journals.
Depending on your location, the size of your firm, and the area you serve, you should consider adding contacts within a more widely defined radius. If the publications in the surrounding towns are weekly, you benefit from the increased exposure in a smaller market for a longer period of time.
Don’t forget to include any statewide business journals in your release. This really heightens awareness and can stimulate referrals from a larger market area.
Updating Your Distribution List
Contact your state press association for a membership directory. There is typically no charge for this booklet and it contains all the information you need to update your list. Also check their website - this same information may be listed here.
A phone call to each additional publication to ask who should receive the press release presents the opportunity to form a friendship which can have other benefits for your firm. Regular press releases may cause editors and writers to call you when they need specific information or quotes for an article!
Ask for information regarding their criteria for press releases. The assurance that you will send releases in a way that makes their job easy benefits both of you.
Add these new contacts to your current distribution list – and you are set to go!
What To Send
Some obvious reasons for sending a press release include the addition of a new team member, a new certification or achievement by a staff member or partner, another service to be offered by your firm, a move or the establishment of a new office.
But these should not be the ONLY reasons for sending a press release. Consider any activity involving your firm, your partners, or your staff as an opportunity. Speaking engagements, publication in a trade or industry journal, recognition for community and civic club involvement – all these can be leveraged for use as a press release. Make a list of possible opportunities and post it near your computer as a reminder for the coming months. And remember to include a photo with each press release – ‘A picture is worth a thousand words!’
Run The Numbers
Providing your partners with a periodic report on the number of press releases sent out can stimulate ideas for even more marketing opportunities. You can also estimate the public relations value by multiplying each press release that is published by the cost of an advertisement in that particular media. Our firm uses the standard of 2 ½ times the cost of advertising to determine the public relations benefit of this form of marketing.
Marketing your firm with press releases is not only cost-effective – it’s fun! As we approach the end of tax season, take some time to review your current system, update with additional media contacts, and get ready to enjoy the many benefits of this simple – yet powerful – marketing tool for your firm!
Mary Lynn Thomas is Marketing Coordinator for May & Company, LLP, a multi-state accounting and consulting firm located in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The firm was established in 1922 and has 7 partners, with a total staff of 43. An additional office is located in Tallulah, Louisiana, and a virtual office is located in Millport, Alabama. Mary Lynn can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected] or you can reach her through the May & Company website: www.maycpa.com