PR 101: 3 tactics for firm growth
Whether you’re an independent accountant consultant or run a larger firm, PR is one of the best channels to communicate your brand’s credibility and show off your expertise.
Contrary to common belief, you can do PR on your own, you do NOT need to hire a PR Firm, and, in most cases, if you do PR yourself, you’ll be much more effective at it.
Finally, you do not need to spend a lot of time on PR—usually five to 10 hours per week should get the ball rolling for you.
In this article, I am going to show you four simple tactics that you can implement right away, with no prior experience needed. I say that because, much like you, my background was not PR or marketing—I was an engineer. I fell into this field 10+ years ago, have done DIY PR myself since then, and been through multiple acquisitions as a result.
Ready to learn? Let’s jump into it.
1. Leverage Quora to build rapport and authority
The key to successful PR is building a relationship with a journalist, blogger, or podcaster who has your customers as their audience. One of my favorite ways of doing so is by leveraging Quora, a question-and-answer website.
Here is the process you can use and adopt for your own keywords around “accounting” or any specific tax questions your target market might have.
- Identify a list of journalists whose readership matches your target audience. In my case, it’s journalists who recently covered “PR tools and marketing.” In your case, it might be journalists who covered “tax deduction questions.”
- Research the journalist by figuring out the specific topic of their last three articles. In my case, I found an article on topic of “worst PR mistakes.” In your case, you might find they wrote an article on “pass through income tax deductions in Trump 2020 tax code.”
- Go to Quora.com and type in “tax” in the search bar to find a question being asked with the keywords from the bullet above. In my case, the question I found was about “rookie PR mistakes.” In your case, it could be a question about “tax deductions,” or “worst financial mistakes and tax implications.”
- Answer the question and link to that journalist’s article in the answer. You can see my answer to the question of “rookie PR mistakes” below. In my answer, I linked up and quoted the journalist from the first bullet, and I also referenced another blog post I wrote on my own blog about this topic as a bonus. You don’t need to do that. It’s just nice to do. That way, the journalist can see that I was not only promoting her on Quora here, but also in my blog.
- Now, the fun part! Reach out to that journalist you quoted to show you promoted them and ask if they have any feedback on your answer. This is a great way to build relationships!
This tactic takes time. As Gaetano DiNardi, director of demand generation at Nextiva, puts it, “Play the long game. Don’t make the mistake of writing someone off just because they can’t contribute to your bottom line at that very instant.”
New connections today can significantly help your organization grow tomorrow.
2. Find journalists looking for you
There are hundreds of press opportunities/asks from journalists every day. These journalists are looking for sources, insight, or quotes for their upcoming articles. Take a look at this example of a journalist needing quotes about income taxes for their article.
All you need to do is reply to these. You can subscribe to newsletters, such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO) or SpotAGuest, to get a free digest of all of these. We automate the process of search and discovery of these as well.
These are chances for you to contribute, add value, and get your business exposed to new audiences for free.
Here is how Chris Brisson, co-founder of Salesmsg, puts it: “The speed with which you can follow up on leads, and the ability to use that speed to close more deals, is something you shouldn’t ignore.”
While Brisson highlights the importance of following up on customers, I believe the same can be said for journalists.
Follow up ASAP on these opportunities for growth.
When I joined Polar, the opinion-sharing app had zero users. Via newsjacking, I took it from zero to 40 million+ views in a month.
What’s that? Expert Brad Smith of Hosting Facts describes it as “turning breaking news into content pieces for your own brand exposure.”
- I identified the journalists and why I should reach out to them (very similar to Quora strategy above). Here’s what my list looked like. In my case, the topic of mutual interest between journalists and myself was Foursquare logos. In your case, it can be “pass through tax deductions.” It’s whatever you see them writing about that you are an expert in.
- I ran a quick poll about Foursquare logos. In your case, it can be a poll asking, “Do you know if you qualify for pass through tax deduction?” I sent journalists a super short email. My goal was to show them valuable content and insights, and get them to use my data if it’s interesting.
I used the following to find their email address:
- https://www.voilanorbert.com to guess the email address.
- http://www.hunter.io to guess the email address.
That’s all. Many of them responded and ended up using the data on our polls in their articles. Many of them promoted the polls to get their readers to vote on them. We received 38,000+ votes on a poll in a Mashable article. We had close to 60,000+ votes on a poll in a TechCrunch article, and more than one million+ page views from the iOS 6 vs. iOS 7 poll that BGR ran.
Newsjacking is effective, and it works.
Moving forward with PR
PR is something that takes time to implement.
So, if you’re serious about your organization’s brand image, growth, and potential, then build your media list, connect with journalists, and produce high-quality content today.