PR Challenges for Professional Service Firms
Professional service firms face a myriad of challenges – industry consolidation, increasing client demands, more intense competition and diminishing loyalty of partners, for starters. All of these factors make marketplace differentiation and reputational protection— two key benefits of a targeted public relations program – more important, and more difficult, than ever.
In the realm of PR, professional service firms face some unique challenges:
- They have no steady stream of new products, per se, to gain marketplace attention.
- They often cannot share the inside story of how they are helping a client due to confidentiality agreements.
- Journalists seem to prefer to speak with clients who can offer concrete specifics, rather than “consultants” who may be forced to offer generic comments.
- Differentiation from peers can be elusive, as many professional service firms look and feel the same to outsiders.
Yet, in spite of these challenges, a hybrid of new and traditional public relations approaches can help a professional service firm to build awareness, visibility and credibility … to generate new business leads … to recruit the best talent … and to sell without selling.
Among the mix we recommend:
- Steady publicity – news releases, media advisories and press conferences on firm activities, hires, contracts, community involvement, etc., which not only generate news coverage and build awareness, but also help to build trust and raise online search engine visibility (SEO) for your firm.
- Pro-active media relations – building media relationships with the right reporters and winning you top-tier media placements, the right media relations program can help position your people as experts, gain your firm the credibility of third-party validation of trusted news sources, and extend the reach and frequency of your messages.
- Executive visibility – securing speaking engagements for your key executives and subject matter experts to gain validation and awareness, to generate additional media coverage opportunities, and enabling you to extend the reach and life of those presentations through digital and social channels.
- Thought leadership – establishing and sharing a point of view or unique insight gained through proprietary research, surveys or experience to demonstrate your special expertise and understanding of the market, conveyed through white papers, blog posts, editorials, presentations, seminars and other means.
- Content marketing/social media – repurposing and recycling speech, research, news and thought leadership assets into engaging content for your target audience … via your blogs and key social media platforms to drive prospect traffic to your website where they can learn more about your firm.
- Media training – preparing your key executives and subject matter experts for interviews and interactions with media to maximize their effectiveness and comfort.
Ultimately, successful professional service firm public relations doesn’t cost, it pays. We’ll offer more on these program components in future Bianchi Biz Blog posts.