Think Inside the Box: How to Get Your Name In Front of Your Ideal Clients!
Creativity is fantastic. We all want to think of the next big thing, and be the first to market. But while thinking big, we may have a tendency to overlook the obvious. Think inside the box, and concentrate more on the areas that you can have an impact on now. Below is an overview of Public Relations strategies and techniques that will help you gain visibility with your ideal clients.
Start The Basics
Think about your practice. Ask yourself these simple questions:
– Where are you located?
– Who do you serve?
– What do you offer?
Easy enough, right? Define your business core.
“I live in a suburb of Seattle, Washington; I work with retirees and I offer holistic retirement planning.”
“I live in Detroit, Michigan; I work with employees retiring or downsized from the motor plants, and I offer guidance with 401k rollovers.”
“I live in Orlando, Florida; I work with people entering assisted living facilities, and I help them with utilizing government programs for financing.”
Now you know who you are, where you live and what you do. Next question is, how do you utilize public relations to get you in front of more people in your community that could benefit from your expertise?
The Path of Least Resistance – Define Your Target Publications
Where are you located? Are you in the suburbs? City? Are there any area specific media publications that target your geographic market? Most cities have weekly community publications or community sections in their major dailies. Many suburbs of large cities have suburbia magazines and even on-line publications – so what are the residents of your community reading? Check out the doctor’s office down the street from your firm, ask your current clients, or better yet, what publications do you have in your reception area?
Who do you serve? Ask yourself, what do they do? What organizations do they belong to? If you serve seniors, are they living in an active adult community? Does the community have a senior publication or a newsletter? If its boomers, do they belong to the local country club or gym? If so, what publications are on display at those locations? If its employees in transition, does the company offer an employee newsletter? Do assisted living facilities have newsletters for residents or publications on display in their reception area? Do specialty groups in your area have publications targeted directly to them, the Arizona Retiree or Cleveland Veteran News, for example. All good information to know for a targeted PR plan.
What do you offer? Financial advice for boomers with college-aged children? Tax reduction strategies for retirees? Don’t just define the outcome, but the process and solution. For example, we help downsized employees rollover their 401k avoiding tax and early withdrawal penalties. Or, there are many government programs in place that help assisted living patients pay for care, we help them find the right program for them.
Now connect the dots. How can you get into the publications that reach your target audience about topics you specialize in?
Think inside the box….
The Low Hanging Fruit
The smaller community and niche publications often times get overlooked. Everyone wants to be featured in the bigger publications – and that’s important and does a lot for one’s credibility; but it’s also important to target smaller publications that reach your ideal client as well. Have your expertise highlighted and seen by your ideal client, perhaps even more frequently.
So how do you go about it? Public Relations is just that, relationships with people in the public. Approach the publications and speak to the editorial decision makers (managing editors) or if a larger publication, the reporter that covers the topics you specialize in.
Explain to them who you are, where you live, who you serve, and what you offer. But explain it in a way that is of value and substance to them and their efforts. In other words, it’s apparent what’s in it for you – exposure. Now, explain it with a “what’s in it for them” approach.
– I can be an expert resource to you as you develop stories on …
– I can help explain national topics and how policy changes, etc. affects your readers…
– I can bring to you new ideas and perspectives on topics that your readers want to know…
Make the introduction, create the relationship, and offer your expertise as a resource. Each one of these publications could use your expertise in one form or another.
Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt fails. If at first you don’t succeed…
Approach them in the future. Think how you can work yourself into their editorial stories. For example:
– Dear Mr. Active Adult Community Center Newsletter Editor:
There are a lot of new retirees moving into the community from out of state. Do you think it would be beneficial to run an article in the upcoming newsletter about the laws and policies of our state, and what newcomers should know?
– Dear Editor of the Local Community Weekly Newspaper:
A new law just passed in Congress that affects individual retirement savings accounts. Do you think it would be valuable for your readers to get a local financial advisors perspective on the policy change, and how it affects their financial well-being.
Those responsible for producing a newsletter, or working for a smaller niche publication could very possibly be wearing multiple hats. There is a good chance they don’t keep the pulse on current issues like you do.
Another strategy is tying a calendar based event in with the services you offer.
– It’s the end of the school year – your media will probably be running articles on college planning.
– It’s tax time – the media will be running stories on tax reduction strategies.
– It’s holiday season – the media will be running all types of holiday stories, spin the season to work for you
Tis the season for holiday scam. I have some valuable tips for your readers on how to avoid fraudulent charities, identity theft and investment scams.
Your brilliance on a topic may be amazing and impressive, but an overly complicated topic with big words of explanation is NOT the path of least resistance for media at smaller publications. Make your theories and advice simple, explain how the information you’re offering could benefit someone’s financial situation. Avoid industry jargon, big words and confusing details of financial strategies.
Become a media resource is a responsibility. If you volunteer to do it, be sure you do it. If your there for them in their time of need, there is a good chance they’ll be there for you in yours.