Opinion: Why PR and communications agencies should consider specialising
As a former lawyer, going niche seemed the only realistic option when setting up my business, LexRex Communications Ltd back in 2012. Also, the legal sector was the only area of PR I felt really comfortable with.
Fast-forward six years and the approach has paid off, as LexRex remains one of only a handful of specialist legal PR agencies in the UK, and the only one in the north-west.
The benefits of specialising
Depth of expertise: The benefits of specialising cuts both ways. A true expert will have a deep understanding of their industry, along with exceptional knowledge of the technical detail of their clients’ service or product.
The law can seem impenetrable, but having practised it for nearly a decade before retraining in PR and communications, it is much easier for me, as a legal expert, to write legal content, understand jargon and technical legislation and judgements than it would be for most.
Talking the talk: Having been in the legal hotseat, I also understand how law firms work in practice. This enables me to talk lawyer to lawyer from the offset, whilst using my PR and communications expertise to build trust and deliver strategic value.
Efficiencies: After winning a new client, an agency will always need to spend a fair amount of time getting to know the business. Who pays for this? Is it simply an operational cost, or does the client bear it?
When you have a deep specialism, whilst there is naturally a need to get up to date with the challenges facing that particular client, and for us that includes reading up on legislative changes, case law and market trends, the ground work is already in place.
Increased profitability and cost savings: Agencies like mine can use their depth of knowledge to create efficiencies within the business; freeing up valuable time to simply crack on with delivery, and eroding slack.
This efficiency feeds both up and down the food chain, enabling a lean business to use its time more profitably, but equally providing clients with greater value.
Specialism pays: Developing on the above point, it’s worthwhile considering that clients value deep expertise and will pay for it. If you know your market and provide a strong service, the work will flow. Further, in specialising, although you reduce your market; you also knock out the competition.
Specialising can lead to an easier ride
Another very clear benefit of being niche is the ability to build a very strong brand within your target market. My business works with lawyers and those operating in the legal sector. We don’t do anything else, and even within that market we are even more niche as we only work with boutique law firms (as opposed to traditional high-street or multi-service businesses).
Because we are so clear in what we deliver, we avoid having to deal with dead-end, time-wasting enquiries, and we are well-known within the profession – helping us generate new leads, along with marketing and partnership opportunities with others also servicing the legal market.
So whilst I understand the urge to spread the proverbial net, as well as the fear of reducing target market; it’s worthwhile remembering that there are significant benefits to operating in a niche. That’s if you’re brave enough to overcome the fear and give it a try.
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