What will our personal BD plans for the next quarter look like? Pt 5: Building profile in the press

In the first part of this series we looked at content marketing and the part it should play in our personal BD plans. This was purely from a self-publishing perspective.   The other side to the content coin is to find external opportunities in the publications and on the websites you know your clients and targets are most likely to read/visit.

While your website and social media will create an audience for your blogs and articles, unless you are actively managing all of the elements that influence your SEO that audience is likely to be largely made up of people who already know you.  If you can get into a magazine or on to a website the sectors or geography you’re focusing on regularly read, you will be able to talk to a brand new audience …

… and that is a benefit that will only continue to grow in importance while conferences and social and networking events are on hold.

Traditionally this has been a job firms have subbed out to PR agencies.  However, the truth is that many editors – particularly when it comes to the more specialist trade press – would prefer to hear from a lawyer, accountant or patent or trade mark attorney than ‘another PR’.  As this is work you do every day and because you have a badge that says ‘qualified professional’, your approach will always be much more credible.

So where do you start?  At the beginning!  By working out where you want to be seen (or rather where you’re most likely to get seen).

In the old days this involved a trip to the local business library where you’d have to find a current media guide and then copy the publication’s name and the editor’s contact details down on your pad in long hand.  Not anymore.  Google takes care of everything; all you need to do is find 5 minutes and Google ‘magazines + (relevant sector] UK’ and everything you need will appear in under a second.

Better still you’ll only be 2 or 3 clicks away from the editor’s name and email address.

The next stage is to work out what you want to write about.  This can’t be advertising copy.  No one will entertain a rewrite of your ‘about us’ page.  Nor can it be an in-depth technical dissertation on a point of law or a footnote in an accounting regulation.  Nobody needs that level of detail and after all, surely you want them to come to you to explain what they actually want to know?

To be taken seriously your watchword has to be ‘newsworthy’.  Have a think about what’s in the news.  What economic/legislative/financial/social factors are impacting on your clients?  What trends are being reported in the sectors you’re focusing on?  What are other professionals commenting on in their blogs or articles?

If the news is no help then you can look to your clients for inspiration.  What questions are they asking you most regularly?  Have you noticed spikes in certain types of work for certain types of clients?  If a fair number of your clients are being affected by or worrying about something in particular, the chances are the majority of people within their market will be too.

Now you have a newsworthy idea you can send to the editor.  If you explain how/why what you want to write about will directly affect their readers and explain how to avoid or resolve that issue before it impacts, you should pique their interest enough to start a conversation about how you’d approach the article (or at the very least, position yourself as a potential author for a similar topic in a future edition).

If you’d like to discuss how your fee earners can add external press opportunities to their personal BD plans, please email douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk and we can arrange a call. Or find out how you can outsource your content production to us.

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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