In order for business consulting firms to be successful, their clients, prospects, referral sources and peers must consider them to be experts in their field.

While advertising and other sales-driven marketing activities can be a great way to increase visibility and generate leads, it is common knowledge that organizations – including consulting firms – can buy ads to say whatever they want.

A strong PR program – such as one that includes news media relations, blogging and other content marketing – is the best way for consulting firms to enhance credibility. Here are four reasons consulting firms need PR agencies:

  1. Highlights Expertise

A well planned public relations program highlights a consulting firm’s industry knowledge and presents it as the best in the business. This can be implemented in a variety of ways, but a strong strategy for highlighting expertise is earning news media coverage.

This can range from the firm’s experts being quoted in articles to securing guest columns authored by company leaders and published in trade publications. Similarly, company newsletters and blogging are also great strategies for sharing expertise.

  1. Showcases Thought Leadership

A company e-newsletter or blog that features news-you-can-use and expert Q&As can feature thought leadership and position the experts of a consulting firm as industry leaders who are on the forefront of industry trends.

Another way a PR program can showcase a consulting firm’s thought leadership is by securing speaking engagements for firm leaders at regional or national conferences. This will position them as experts and give them an opportunity to feature their knowledge among current and potential clients, as well as peers.

  1. Earns Trust

A consulting firm can’t build credibility without first earning its publics’ trust. A strong news media relations program builds trust, as news coverage implies third-party validation that the firm is a credible source of information.

In a PR Daily article posted in October 2015, content manager Rachel Rayner wrote, “People instinctively trust authoritative content more than advertising. Whether it’s a piece in a publication or through word of mouth, make sure you’re producing more stories than ads.”

  1. Elevates Reputation

The ultimate goal of almost every public relations campaign is to elevate an organization’s reputation. A consulting firm relies on its knowledge and expertise to drive business. With the assistance of strong PR program – especially one with an effective news media relations component – a consulting firm can impact the way its relevant publics perceives it.

Another PR function that elevates reputation is giving back to the community – such as volunteering in community events or donating to charities. This is looked upon highly, and people generally like doing business with people who are community minded.

With the help of an effective PR agency, your public relations program can increase visibility, enhance credibility and showcase expertise – critical needs for consulting firms looking to grow and thrive in today’s business environment.