February 2, 2016

Professional Services & Media: An Opportunity to Shine

It’s no secret that those investment professionals making decisions on whether to “buy or sell” aren’t always so eager to speak to the media. Compliance departments, clients, and even competitors keep a close eye on what a professional might say—or not say—regarding their investment strategies. In a volatile market environment where confidence is at a premium, those fears are only compounded.

The trend is no less evident for those working in professional services fields.

I regularly help accounting and audit professionals, lawyers, and a range of consultants highlight their specific areas of expertise on a variety of news topics in order to position them as thought leaders and amplify their firms’ brands.

How do we do it? Here are a few of our top recommendations:

Compromise on Specifics
We live and work in a 24/7 news cycle driven by earnings announcements, mergers, legal rulings and proceedings, and new service offerings. Reporters tailor their coverage accordingly. Experts such as accountants might be reluctant to discuss a specific company or organization by name, particularly if that company might be a prospective client or pose some other type of conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, expertise is valuable even in the abstract. For example, if a company is planning an IPO, an expert can discuss the type of work and preparation that goes into the process and the auditing standards regulators expect to be met. Each experience has a lesson to be shared.

Relationships Matter
A common refrain from those in professional services runs something like, “I’ve spoken to Sally Doe from XYZ News. Why isn’t my perspective being included?” It’s a fair question. Those who choose to take time out of their (very busy) schedules to participate in media interviews are hoping—and often, expecting—to be quoted.

The reality is that the media process is complicated. Editorial needs, shifts in article tone, and other issues come into play. Expertise doesn’t fade, though. I’ve seen countless interviews in which an expert offered observations, and rather than an immediate short-quote, their perspective was later included in coverage in a more amplified and impactful manner. Think of it this way: it’s much better to be extensively quoted and provide in-depth insights on a key component of your practice than to receive a one-line quote in a 1000-word article.

Develop Patience—and a Niche
It’s easy to forget that everyone has an opinion or insight to share. Just as dozens of analysts and investors have a perspective on a big tech company’s earnings, many professional services executives have a take on tax or regulatory changes—or other key issues affecting their industries. Experts should identify the part of their practice area that offers valuable insights on a news trend, and work to regularly provide fresh commentary on that topic to distinguish themselves. When the right opportunity comes along, you’ll be able to stand above the crowd.

By: Ryan Dicovitsky