#MarketingMonday: Do you need PR as an accountant?

This past week I had a lovely conversation with Andrew Argue, the genious behind the creation of The Bean Counter, and we chatted about PR for financial professionals.

Is PR necessary for accountants? Is it worth shelling out thousands of dollars to get your name printed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or whatever? And if it is, how do you go about getting your name and company mentioned in flashy publications?

I'm no expert, but I have seen success in securing a spots on Huffington Post Live, Sports Illustrated and other local and major news outlets.

To be clear, PR is not a sustainable user acquisition strategy. While you may see a spike in sales or website visitors, a mention in a publication or TV spot will not carry your business for the long haul.

PR is to be used to enhance your marketing and sales efforts. It is a way to establish credibility as an expert, leverage for speaking engagements, establish relationships with journalists and for vanity.

Yes, vanity is a metric that should be included in your business analytics. Because what else will keep you going in this crazy, unforgiving world of being an entrepreneur.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA):

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.
— PRSA

Can you measure impressions with Public Relations? According to Forbes contributor, Robert Wayne, in Public Relations, Explained, "PR is not advertising. We don't buy impressions. We don't guarantee placement. Public Relations consist of the following:

Persuasion

Information

ADVERTISING

Communication

Third-party validation

Public opinion

Public policy

Note: that this article serves as PR piece. Wayne is a publicist and used Forbes to establish credibility and convince readers of his stance on PR. Clever. 

So do you need PR as a financial professional?

Yes. But, only if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader. If you don't care about that, or only want to drive sales, then PR is not for you.

Marketing, branding and PR are becoming more important as the need to stand out amongst the crowd in the financial industry increases. Xero did this successfully when moving into the States to compete with Quickbooks. Virgin did this to compete with the big wigs like Delta and US Airways. Apple did this to convince others that they were more than another computer company.

So, how do you get started? How do you get press as a financial professional to establish credibility, your brand and position within the market?

  1. The first step is to get clear on your brand and what makes you press worthy. Click here for the three steps to establish your brand as an accountant. 
  2. Get to know your journalists. Go for quality not quantity. Create a curated list of journalists that cover your industry. If you focus on the cannabis industry, get to know organizations like She Grows and the journalists that cover these stories. Make a list of ten journalists.
  3. Remain in regular contact with these journalists. Do NOT pitch them off the bat, unless you have an amazing angle to share with them. Follow them on Twitter, share their stories, READ their stories and ask how you can support them..

And now I'd like to hear from you! Have you been featured? How did you go about getting PR for your practice or firm? Let me know in the comments below.

Danetha Doe (@danethadoe) is a business strategist and recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 accounting professionals by CPA Practice Advisor in 2015. Click here to join her FREE LinkedIn group- The Future of Accounting.

Need help figuring out your unique brand as an accountant? Click here to sign up for my Brand Clarity Call.