An Introduction to Public Relations
Five public relations tips that will help you expand your reach, your brand awareness, and your client pipeline.
The modern world of public relations (PR) has become so much more sophisticated than the days of phone calls to your local reporter, and today proper messaging to the right target audience is absolutely critical to your marketing success. Some practitioners define PR as “reputation management.” Others define PR as “spreading good will.” I like to think of it as an important part of a lead-generating marketing program.
Even for small to mid-size firms, there are a few simple things you can do that will help you raise your profile or get your name and brand out in front of a larger group of prospective clients. These may not immediately produce leads, but they will help prospects remember your name when it is time to buy.
Here are five tips to help you start thinking about adding PR opportunities to your marketing strategy:
- Write and distribute regular press releases on firm news. The things that are happening in your firm could easily make it to the pages or website of your local newspaper or business journal. New hires or promotions, awards won by the firm or an associate, interesting new solutions or services, and appointments to local boards are all legitimate news stories. You just need to write them or have them produced by a professional, and submit them to the news department. Don’t forget photos to add color and more life to your story.
- Join charities where your prospects may participate and be active. Giving back to your community doesn’t mean that you can’t also get something back in return. Pick charities that you believe in, but also do a little research and pick charities where you think your target prospects may participate. Then get out, get involved and network.
- Develop and “own” your own high-visibility event. Hosting an event with your name on the marquee can be a tremendous asset to your firm, but it doesn’t need to be a black tie ball at the Ritz Carlton. It can be a simple breakfast seminar series, a 5K run or other athletic competition, or a regular workshop at your office. It should reflect your firm’s culture and tie-in with what you do or believe. It should also be recurring—annually, monthly or quarterly. And don’t forget to send a press release or a photo per # 1 above!
- Write by-lined articles for national trade magazines, and use them as a marketing tool. Nothing says “credibility” more than being featured in trade magazines – those going to your professional peers or target client audience – even if your firm does not yet have a major national footprint. Expand the reach of these articles by blogging about them, Tweeting them, e-mailing them to clients and prospects, and reprinting them for direct mail or handouts.
- Write a monthly newsletter or e-zine. A monthly newsletter is a way of getting and keeping your name in front of clients and prospects. Unlike other ideas presented here, you have complete control over the content. Many firms now find it more economical to send these via email and post them on websites, rather than printing and mailing hard copies. More important, readers prefer this electronic approach. You can also use these as the subject of podcasts or videos.
Building your law firm or accounting firm public relations program
To build your own PR effort, brainstorm with your team or hire a PR firm with this type of practical experience. Start with something that is easier to implement and maintain. As you build successes in the program, you can always expand and add complexity.
About the Author:
Louis J. Grossman is principal of Grossman Public Relations Counselors, LLC, Yardley, PA and adjunct professor of strategic communication at Temple University, Philadelphia , PA. Please visit www.grossmanpr.net for more details and contact information.
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