Many professional services firms rely heavily on relationships and reputation to grow their business. While this may be the status quo, the reality is that in today’s digital world, narrow, single-channel strategies limit growth and leave room for competitors to pull ahead. For many, the missing and critical piece of the equation is PR and marketing.
Successful PR and marketing in today’s digital landscape begins with brand reputation and storytelling – skills in the PR pro’s wheelhouse. But these stories need to reach the target audiences at the right time and place – a marketer’s specialty. In other words, PR and marketing must converge. Partnering with an agency that understands and executes both PR and marketing tactics can help professional services firms turn their expertise and success stories into significant growth engines.
Read on to discover four ways that we integrate PR and marketing strategies to help professional services clients meet bottom-line goals and stand out in a crowded market.
1. Use data to become a go-to industry resource
Regardless of your industry, you can count on the fact that people are always looking for timely data to support business decisions, stay on top of emerging trends or keep their finger on the pulse of their industry. Through market research, surveys and media or competitor analysis, businesses attain a deep and broad understanding of their market. PR and marketing teams can then use those data-driven insights to position firms as a go-to resource for media, industry analysts, regulators and, of course, customers.
Armed with research, you can find holes in industry offerings and solidify your firm’s differentiators in the broader marketplace. Moreover, understanding how a current trend curves into the future lets you stay ahead of the changes that will upend your competitors.
Success Story: Donor Alliance
Following a market research study, we helped our client, Donor Alliance, identify a need in the industry. We learned that there wasn’t a comprehensive, trustworthy resource in our client’s market targeted to those who had questions about or were considering organ donation. The research uncovered that the public had several common questions and misperceptions about organ donation that could be easily addressed. We created a blog that aggregated all the helpful information in one easy-to-find place on the Donor Alliance website. The content had clear and consistent messaging. The format made it easy for readers to find answers to their questions. The blog also linked to reputable resources on how to discuss organ donation with friends and family and how to sign up to be a donor.
Since its creation in 2015, the Donor Alliance blog has seen double-digit growth each year and now accounts for 50% of all traffic to the organization’s website. It is also consistently cited and linked to by media outlets around the globe.
2. Amplify your owned content to build brand awareness/acquire leads
Creating and distributing great content has never been more important for professional services companies seeking to stay visible in a crowded and competitive marketplace, but it’s also hard work. Ensure you get every bit of value possible out of your great content by redistributing it in multiple ways – such as via social media, your own targeted newsletter or email distribution and via media relations.
Whether it’s blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, or video content, email marketing is a great way to help you build a subscriber base and generate new leads.
Success Story: Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization
The Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization (CPPO), a trade group promoting open-loop prepaid technology in Canada, turned to The Fletcher Group for help launching an industry-specific news hub and accompanying newsletter. We helped create engaging content highlighting relevant industry news, as well as regulatory and government relations updates. We then packaged these pieces into a monthly newsletter targeted to prepaid industry decision-makers. Following two consecutive years of subscriber growth, the newsletter now boasts a 35+% open rate and a solid 22+% click-through rate.
You or your PR partner can also foster relationships with media that can help share these messages with a wider audience. Through relationships and smart pitching, a PR partner can turn your owned content into earned media, lifting your firm’s profile in the public eye.
Success Story: The ROIG Group
To showcase The ROIG Group’s expertise in business strategy and planning, we created an infographic and media guide highlighting their signature approach to defining key business lifecycles and the strategic implications of each stage. We then took this unique strategy and presented it to the media through a press release and pitching. As a result, we drove media coverage in a critical industry vertical that presented The ROIG Group’s expertise side-by-side with industry giant McKinsey & Company. This was a huge driver of brand awareness for not only the firm but for its core strategy platform. In addition, The ROIG Group is now using this marquee media piece as a lead nurture, social media staple and sales enablement tool to drive new conversations for the firm.
3. Turn your firm’s expertise into a timely marketing tool
Featuring your professional expertise at a timely moment is a credible way to highlight your business in a non-salesy way. We call this sharing “what you know, not what you sell.”
For example, can experts in your organization speak about important trending topics in the industries you serve? Or can you showcase a key differentiation between your business and its competitors? Are you plugged in to a specific industry sector where you can speak to developing news? These are all great opportunities to turn data or insider perspectives into stories that resonate with your audience and help your business achieve its goals.
Success Story: A B2B Law Firm
A large B2B-focused law firm closely followed state-wide legislative changes that they knew would significantly impact employers and their businesses. Working with the firm attorneys, The Fletcher Group created and placed content directly addressing the concerns of employers facing new regulations. As a result, employers consuming this content reached out to the firm for help complying with the new regulatory requirements.
4. Share success stories that sell themselves
One of the most powerful marketing tools professional service firms have are satisfied clients and the success stories that come with them. Sharing these stories immediately credentials your firm by demonstrating your expertise and results. It’s also a great way to break down complex topics and connect with various decision-makers, as you can tailor success stories to address the specific pain points that each decision-maker cares about the most.
There are myriad ways to leverage your past successes to drive new business – and this is true even if you can’t get permission to use a client’s name in print. For example, we routinely help clients put together “cloaked” case studies that describe the customer’s key attributes, such as business size, industry and challenges, and focus on how the firm solved those challenges in unique and successful ways.
If you can use names and logos, the door is open to a wide variety of applications. For example, use quotes and logo placements on your website, in sales decks and advertising or even for joint speaking engagements.
Success Story: We are our own great case study in this example. From client case studies, testimonial quotes and logos, The Fletcher Group continually leverages current and past successes to illustrate our capabilities and credential our firm. These placements often lead to new prospect conversations and are an important driver of our growth engine.
PR and marketing: evolving to tell your story
For professional services companies, brand awareness and creative storytelling are key to capturing market share. In today’s business environment, traditional marketing practices like advertising and sponsorships alone won’t cut it. Consider partnering with a PR firm utilizing crossover PR and marketing tactics to harness new channels for growth.
Ready to break out of the mold and grow your professional services business? Get in touch us. We’ll help you discover your firm’s differentiators, access new customers and win over your target audience with compelling content that helps your business stand out.