So how do you break through that clutter? By being where they’re already looking.
• Printed niche trade and professional magazines (still one of the few remaining successful print categories)
• Websites of professional and industry associations
• Bloggers who are respected within their niche
• Niche newsletters (that often charge, and get, hundreds of US dollars a year for a subscription)
These media all have a few points in common.
• They’re narrow in focus – “North American Wind Power” and “Pipeline and Gas Journal” come to mind
• If you’re outside their area of focus you’ve probably never heard of them; if you’re an insider, they’re required reading
• They all focus relentlessly on their area of expertise
• All of them are hungry for news they can use, that relate to their area of focus
Some, but not all of them, are interested in receiving contributions written by experts in their field, who have ideas that are useful for their readers.
I’ve discussed the “get yourself published” imperative before. Blog post #18 looked at the value of getting published, and Post #4 gives a practical how-to around presenting your idea to an editor.
In this post, we’ll dig into the four ways you can reach your ideal client. Your image of your ideal client should be firm in your mind, by means of an “avatar” or “persona” as I discussed in Blog Post #5. Your client might have various roles in their personal life – simultaneously a parent, spouse, child, voter, consumer and champion marathoner. At the same time, they’re playing various roles in their professional life too.
The key here is to notice that four of these roles involve the media that they trust for information. Go one further, and they involve the associations and peer groups that your client relies upon for advice and information, and where you may find speaking opportunities.
1. Industry media and associations
Many media and associations are based on a specific industry – automotive, hospitality, restaurants, mining and so on. Some go tighter than that – while there are conferences for the power sector, they often get narrowed down by whether it’s power generation, transmission or distribution. Then there’s “green” power, divided into solar, wind, geothermal and other sources.
I’m a frequent registrant at the Prospector & Developers Association of Canada, which meets yearly in Toronto, it’s one of the premiere conferences of mine finance (not so much equipment or operations) in the world. I’ve attended many presentations by business professionals eager to get their names in front of mining company management. If that’s you, you might consider presenting at PDAC.
Sometimes it’s not clear what a publication or gathering focuses on. I recently helped a client publish an article in a London-based global publication, World Pipelines. It took some time doing, however, because I first had to learn what’s unstated by the publication’s name – it focuses on natural gas pipelines only, and just on the large-diameter trunk lines.
Industry media and associations want content that’s relevant to their own narrow view of the world. When I revised my concept for the editor of World Pipelines to make it relevant to her readers, she was pleased to get my client’s contribution. It helped that my author had clearly demonstrated expertise in meeting the needs of operators of large-diameter pipelines.
2. Professional and occupational media and associations
Your multi-faceted ideal client isn’t just part of an industry. She or he almost certainly has a specific profession or occupation. This person might be a lawyer, accountant, engineer, Human Resources professional, actuary, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) professional, or medical doctor.
As with their industry, these professions and occupations also have their narrowly-focused media. Sometimes, these media are published by, or closely allied to, the profession or trade association. They might be print publications such as “HR Today”, but there’s probably also a significant Web presence. Some of these media have forsaken print entirely and gone online-only.
There are also conferences at an international, national or state/province basis that are hungry for speakers, provided the content is relevant to their attendees. It helps if you’re a member of that particular profession – or if you can work with a co-author or co-presenter who is a member. That might include a client for whom you’ve been able to get some good results, by means of a case study (see Post #1 for more on that).
3. National, regional and local media and associations
Even in the borderless Internet world, and an age of easy trans-ocean travel, geography still exerts a strong pull. As a Canadian, I’m familiar with our national urge to resist the pull of influences from the south of our border. Other countries have their own need for national solutions, possibly because of regulations and laws that pertain just to them. Other levels of jurisdiction are just as picky – each state in the US has its own regulations and laws, as well as its own issues such as the dominant industry.
I’ve never had much success getting my clients published in local city business publications, partly because the contents are generally written by professional journalists. But if you have ideas that are relevant to the region or place in question, also it helps if you’re based in that place yourself, you may be able to get those ideas in front of your ideal clients through these media and associations.
4. Cause-related media and associations
Many associations are related to a specific cause – whether it’s fighting climate change, empowering ethnic minorities, pushing renewable energy, or just attracting employers to a geographic area. If you’re able to fit into that cause, you may find these associations to be a good way to connect with clients where their hearts are, not only their budget allocations.
I’ve found fewer news media related to causes, although each “cause” may have an association with a website that it needs to keep fresh with new and relevant content.
Tailor your approach to the gatekeeper’s needs
If you do approach one of these four means for getting your ideas in front of potential clients, mind that you need to be sure that your idea is relevant to their needs. This gets decided by the gatekeeper – whether it’s an editor, website manager, association president or someone on staff.
Think first of all of the concerns, issues and problems your ideal client is facing, within the four contexts you’re using. Then, develop concepts that meet those issues. This can be a great way to building up the relationship.