Many professional services firms today are tightening their marketing focus these days, often with a focus of developing and building relationships with certain specific target companies  the “key client” strategy. Marketers are under pressure to do their part in building and retaining their firm’s relationship with these clients.

From a content marketing perspective, that means developing content that’s of value to those key clients and then getting that information in front of them, to demonstrate that the firm can produce relevant ideas and results.

Content on your firm’s website and in your own media such as blogs and newsletters can help with this. But it’s also vital that the firm get its ideas published in media that are already known to, and trusted by, people within those key clients.

This content can include:
  • Guest posts on blogs that are read by the key clients
  • Articles in their business and professional magazines
  • Content posted in their LinkedIn groups
  • Content posted on the websites of their industry and professional publications

Understanding all four facets of your firm’s key clients

Every client is really four people, in a way  which allows you to reach them through four kinds of media.

To see how this works, let’s say your firm focuses on the problems involved in buying former industrial properties, where the soil may have been contaminated by fuel oil, lubricants or other chemicals that leaked into the soil. Called “brownfields,” these impacted properties must be remediated to meet regulatory standards. You want to reach property developers with the message that your firm can reliably clean up problems at former industrial sites.

There are four possible kinds of niche media reaching your firm’s ideal clients in this corner of the economy.

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1. Industrial media

Some specialized media are “industrial” in their orientation, reaching a specific industrial sector such as construction, manufacturing, chemicals and oil refining. You can present these media with information on trends in contaminated site remediation  maybe pointing out how faster and cost-efficient the new technologies can allow for shorter construction schedules.

You’ll need to tailor your message to the needs of the specific industry  a publication for the retail sector, for example, might be interested in contaminants that can come from retail properties, including dry-cleaning shops, where fluids may have leaked into the soil under the establishment. A potential client in the chemical business, by contrast, would need to know about cleanup of contaminants relevant to that industry.

2. Professional or occupational media

Some publications focus on a specific profession such as law, accounting or engineering. If you develop an article for a legal publication, for example, you’ll need to describe the legal liabilities involved in owning contaminated property, and how to manage those legal risks. If you want to reach the financial people within property development companies, focus your content on ways to improve the financial value of brownfields and manage risks, legal or regulatory in nature.

3. Geographic media

Some media focus on specific cities, regions or countries. To reach these geographic areas, look for ways to discuss what’s exclusive to those areas, such as a high water table, or geology that allows contaminants to be spread off the property line due to fractures in the bedrock. Perhaps there are local government incentives to promote the remediation of brownfield properties, so that they can be developed, and your article could discuss those incentives.

4. Issue- or cause-related media

Lastly, there are publications that focus on a certain issue or cause  for example, I’ve helped my clients publish articles in “ReNew Canada,” a magazine focused on infrastructure renewal, as well as “,” an online publication addressing the issues of inner-city development.

Can one person be interested in all those kinds of media? Certainly. Imagine a lawyer who works in property development in New England, with a company focusing on high-rise infill development. If you have a key client that fits those criteria, you can reach that client through all four of those media types.

Tailor your topic to the needs of the publication

It’s important in each case to understand the publication’s orientation, so that you can develop content that is relevant to those the specific readers. This means convincing the editor or manager that you can produce content for those readers.

I recently worked with an engineering firm that offers mechanical integrity inspections as one of its services. This involves having a qualified engineer inspect equipment to see how well it’s holding up to use and safe to operate.

I asked what markets he wanted to reach, he said he’s often brought in by people in the client’s occupational health and safety department – and also people in Operations who are concerned about productivity and reliability. So, I helped this client publish an article in “Uptime” for the Reliability market, and now we’re also working on one in “OHSonline” for the OH&S market.

In each case, I tailored the query letter, and the article itself, to specific needs of those particular readers.

In summary: think beyond the obvious in your selection of print or electronic media for putting your firm’s message in front of its ideal clients.