[IMGCAP(1)]When it comes to professional services firms, young employees are often unfamiliar with the concept of marketing. They are unaware of the many quick and easy things they can do to advance their careers and help their firm reach its growth goals. Much of a professional’s early years are spent mastering professional skills, learning client service, and knocking out billable hours. 

While these are all certainly important areas, this scenario presents a challenge for young professionals as they begin to rise through the ranks. At a certain point, they may feel that they have hit a ceiling where they need to begin marketing in order to continue advancing. Or maybe they have already climbed to that point and have been tasked with bringing in new business through marketing and business development. Young professionals may find themselves thinking, “What is this marketing stuff? I don’t have time for this!” The great news is that young professionals (and all professionals for that matter) can use thought leadership and their subject matter expertise to propel themselves forward in their careers without having to invest a lot of precious time. 

Monitoring and sharing thought leadership

One of the best things young professionals can do to begin developing a “marketing mindset” at an early stage is to monitor and share thought leadership. Thought leadership is simply providing content that your clients and prospects will find useful and informative. It can also draw on your expertise in a particular subject matter in order to help your audience learn something they are interested in or solve a problem. The following tips can help you monitor and share thought leadership:

•    Monitor clients, prospects, and competitors online. One of the key ways you should be using online tools is to keep a close eye on any people or enterprises that might impact your business, either in a positive or negative way. This is often referred to as gathering “online intelligence.”

•    Stay abreast of what is going on in your industry so you can react swiftly and accordingly. Be the first to share breaking industry news with your clients, coworkers and online professional network, and they will begin to think of you as a resource for the latest industry info.

•    Use tools like Google Reader, Google Alerts, LinkedIn Signal and Scoop.it to gather online intelligence. Be sure to share the information with partners, coworkers, and via social networks like LinkedIn.

•    You will stand out from the crowd by providing valuable information to clients and prospects if you are educating and informing them.

•    Through regular distribution of content (content marketing) and social media, you can build an engaged community of followers. The key is to find and share useful content.

One of the greatest things about monitoring online intelligence and sharing thought leadership is that it gives you a means to easily establish credibility and “expert” status among peers, clients, and prospects.

Establishing subject matter expertise

Another often overlooked tool for establishing professional expertise and gaining visibility for your firm is leveraging media relationships. You want journalists and other media professionals turning to you for your professional advice and hopefully sharing your expertise with their established audience. In search of savvy tips on how to leverage the media, I turned to Public Relations expert Debbie Goetz for her insight on this topic. Here are Debbie’s top tips for how to get the media to turn your way for professional advice and subject matter expertise:

•    Media people love “tips.” Think about what tips you can offer to individuals or business people about your particular industry. Then share these tips with the media by email, phone or social media.

•    Be sure to stay up-to-date on top current events, trends and industry updates, as well as their implications for individuals and businesses needing your firm’s services.

•    Approach the media as an expert when there is something related to your industry in the news. For example, accountants might be able to weigh in on timely tax law changes.

•    Try to submit articles to local or trade publications about newsworthy topics.

•    Follow business reporters in the newspaper and online by subscribing to their news/blog feeds, following them on Twitter, and connecting on LinkedIn.

•    Send media contacts an email or tweet when you like something they wrote or to offer additional insight into a topic they covered. Get to know them so that they can get to know you and use your expertise when the right opportunity arises.

•    Sign up to receive HARO updates and respond to queries relating to your field of business.

•    Be sure your LinkedIn profile is well developed and up-to-date. Join LinkedIn groups of like-minded professionals. Start discussions and participate in the discussions of others to establish your subject matter expertise.

Following these straightforward tips on a consistent basis is all it takes to get the media to take notice of your professional expertise, and to eventually tap you for your industry knowledge and subject matter proficiency. Coupling these tactics with the regular monitoring and sharing of thought leadership will not only make the media pay attention to your savvy, but it will also catch the eye of partners and shareholders, setting you up to be a rising star within your firm.

Brianne Dawson is the marketing manager at Marketri, which provides results-driven marketing solutions for small to mid-sized B2B companies and professional services firms.