Generating Local Media Coverage to Build Your Business

Your local media is always looking for a good story.  Share your wealth of tax and accounting knowledge and get added exposure with these media relation tips.

You have a wealth of knowledge about tax and accounting issues that you share with your clients every day.

Why not expand your reach and share some of this wisdom with potential clients in your community?

The best way to do this is to share some tax and accounting advice with the local media, especially local weekly newspapers and online publications that may be looking for this type of information.

Here are some media relations tips and advice to get you started and guide you through the process:

1. Define Your Goal – What do you hope to accomplish by generating media coverage? You will build your brand recognition through this effort, but don’t expect the phone to ring off the hook. But it is essential groundwork for your overall marketing and will keep your firm top-of-mind for when individuals and businesses need to find a tax and accounting firm.

2. Connect With Your Audience – Think about the tax and accounting concerns that your clients face. Potential clients likely face the same problems. Gear your advice to address these issues.

3. Create a Compelling Angle – The media wants an interesting story relevant to their audience. It should be both interesting and informative. Share a dramatic story (anonymously of course) about a tax problem one of your clients based and how you fixed it.

4. Provide a List of Tips – Readers love easy-to-read lists of quick tips. Package these with a catchy headline such as “Conquering the Seven Deadly Sins of Tax Preparation.”

5. Don’t Make It About You – Remember that the media wants a story that meets the needs of readers or viewers, not your public relations needs. Inform, don’t promote. The subtle promotion you receive through a quote or quick mention of your name in your article or your byline is the appropriate way to be mentioned in the article. If you promote your services in the article the media will not be interested in running it.

6. Define and Explain Acronyms – It’s easy to fall into the habit of using familiar acronyms such as those for your professional credentials. If you need to use terms that the average person might not understand – such as your credentials and the acronyms – make sure you define and explain them.

7. Follow Up – After a few days it is okay to call the media to inquire about their interest in your story. Briefly explain why you think the issue is important to the media audience and how you can support the reporter with the information he or she needs. Even if the reporter is not immediately interested, let them know that you are always available as a resource for any tax or accounting issues in the future. This can build an important relationship to help generate future media coverage.

8. Don’t Talk Too Much – If you are interviewed by the media, remember that only a few of your comments (maybe only one!) will appear in a typical news story. Once you have delivered your core messages, don’t ramble on with additional points. You may find that these other points make it into the story, at the expense of your messages. This also helps the reporter by giving them less material to wade through.

9. Respect Deadlines – Reporters live and die by deadlines, and you can earn their respect and build a relationship by adhering to them and following up with any promised information in a timely manner. Also, make sure you return all phone calls and e-mails promptly.

10. Don’t Ask to See the Story – Reporters want to protect their independence. Showing a story to a source before it runs violates this, so don’t ask! By asking, you show yourself to be naïve about how the media operates, and it won’t help your relationship with the reporter. However, you should offer to provide any additional information the reporter may need and offer to check key facts before publication if the reporter wants to do that. But make it the reporter’s choice – not yours. Some reporters may offer to show you the story, at which point you should conduct a quick review and change only factual inaccuracies. But remember that seeing the story in advance is an exception to the rule.

11. Evaluate the Results – If you succeed in placing an article or news story, evaluate how it turned out. Did it deliver the core messages you wanted to deliver? Will it help you achieve your goal? What could you have done differently to improve the story? Any lessons you can take away from the story will help you next time!

Need some topic ideas and talking points to get started?

 NSA members have access to Client Letters on a variety of topics

Choose a Tax Pro is NSA’s consumer website filled with valuable information for taxpayers

Check out NSA’s Life and Taxes Blog

And of course, IRS Tax Tips


Al RickardAbout the Author

Al Rickard is President of Association Vision, the public relations firm for the National Society of Accountants. Reach him at 703-402-9713 or arickard@assocvision.com or visit www.associationvision.com.

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