You’ve worked long and hard and now you’ve finally been quoted in the Wall Street Journal or had a bylined article published in the local newspaper. Perhaps you’ve just done a radio or television interview. Now what?
What should you do to leverage the press you get? Here’s what we tell our clients at Impact Communications.
There’s an old saying in PR circles -- never let a good media mention die. If you do things right, your media mentions can have long shelf life, bringing immeasurable benefits beyond the immediate visibility that occurs whenever your name is seen in print or face/voice is on the airwaves.
PUT REPRINTS TO USE
Your media clips, such as article reprints, can be put on your website or blog, tweeted about and placed on LinkedIn, used as seminar handouts, placed in your lobby or a strategic partner’s lobby, or used as part of a good old-fashioned targeted marketing campaign (think snail mail or e-blasts).
CREATE A WALL OF FAME
Some advisors will also create a professionally lacquered plaque to showcase an especially good article in their office and to create a conversation starter when prospective clients and strategic partners drop by for their initial visit.
One advisor I worked with once lamented that her “wall of fame” was getting so full, what with all her great media clips turned into lacquered plaques, that she’d started a second and a third grouping to spread them out. People always lingered in the hallway, as they walked to the conference room from the lobby, to see what was new and exciting -- even existing clients.
UPDATE YOUR BIO(S)
Having a business profile about you published in an industry magazine or being quoted in the local newspaper is a great bio builder and conversation starter. You’ll enjoy instant credibility when, for instance, you are introduced as the speaker at a professional or community event and the emcee says you’ve been quoted in the Chicago Tribune and have been a guest numerous times on NPR.
PUT A CLIP BOOK IN YOUR LOBBY
And don’t forget to create a good old-fashioned “clip book” -- a three-ring binder with a nice cover inserted in the front “view area”. Inside the binder, put plastic sleeve protectors (I like the top loading kind) and insert copies of articles in which you’ve been quoted, news releases you’ve published, summaries of television or radio appearances, and so forth. Leave the clip book in your lobby so that anyone waiting for their appointment with you will be able to quickly flip through the clips. The idea is to create a quick “wow – this is cool” factor.
PLAY A LOOPING VIDEO REEL
If you have enough television clips, consider creating a looping video file that you can have playing on a television set or plasma screen while people are waiting in your lobby. If you have written a book or a white paper, make sure a copy of that is placed in your waiting room area as well. If you have been featured in a major magazine, leave a copy of the magazine (with a sticky note to denote the page on which the article starts) in on the waiting room table.
POST EVERYTHING ON YOUR WEBSITE
Make sure you have a “news room” on your website. You might break it down into two sections: one for news releases and one for media mentions (see example here: http://www.financial-focus.net/). For media mentions, post a short “news summary” on your newsroom page and link to the article. This will create “validating links” that will boost your search engine page rankings. You will also impress visitors to your site.
DON”T FORGET ABOUT YOUTUBE AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
If you have a video or television appearance, put it not just on your website but also on YouTube. This will give you more “Google juice” through cross-linking and keyword validation via the search engine “spiders.” People will be able to comment on your YouTube video channel so be sure you check with your compliance officer to make sure this is okay for your particular situation. Wherever you post your media mentions -- whether it is a television or radio clip, a bylined article or a quote in a publication -- make sure you mention it in your Twitter feed or LinkedIn status updates, post a short comment and a link on your Facebook page, blog about it, etc. These “digital assets” can be very effective when leveraged in the right way.
HELP PEOPLE SEE YOU WITH NEW EYES
Being seen as an expert can really boost your credibility. “Give legs” to your media mentions and help people see them -- even if they didn’t see the initial piece when it first ran.
PUT ON YOUR PR HAT
In my next article I'll offer some additional tips on using PR to kick your business into high gear. Meanwhile, here are some things you can start doing on your own:
Turn up your opportunity radar. Become aware of people you could help and publications and groups that might support your message.
Read your favorite publications and notice which journalists have passions and philosophies similar to yours.
Study niche publications to determine what gaps in coverage exist. Who knows, you might be just the person to fill the need.
Talk to other professionals and share notes on what they've found to be effective.
Be curious. Inquire in your business and social networking circles about small publications that target a specific group or niche. There are likely dozens of small or little known publications and groups who'd be open to having you write for their readers or speak to their members.
Keep a "Knowledge Journal." If you are not familiar with this concept, visit Kip Gregory's site and learn how to get started. Or purchase Winning Clients in a Wired World for its Knowledge Journal instructions, plus many other tips to improve your productivity.
Know yourself. Work on yourself. But focus on others. Learn how to innovate and think great. Over time, you will stand out as someone worth knowing and attract all the business you'll ever need.
With PR, you will also need to be able to articulate your key points quickly and with passion should you have the opportunity to speak with a journalist or key influencer on the telephone or face to face. This is generally not a problem if you are clear about your message and have some passion around the topic, but a bit of preparation and practice always makes you a more effective communicator.
If you are lacking in the copywriting department, a ghostwriter can add the Midas touch; or perhaps your spouse, a trusted colleague, or assistant can help you polish up your news releases and articles. If you are lacking in verbal persuasion skills get thee to a Dale Carnegie course or a Toast Masters Club.
You might also consider hiring a marketing coach or PR firm to help you clarify your thinking, refine key messages, and hone your delivery.
Check with industry memberships groups such as the Society of Financial Services Professionals, FPA, NAIFA, MDRT, NAPFA, etc. and/or with your broker/dealer or custodian to see if they have any PR and Media Training courses scheduled.
Consider enrolling for a course such as Media Mastery University if you can’t afford to hire a PR firm on a retainer basis but would like to obtain a variety of tools, templates, training and a localized media contacts list.
In the coming weeks I’ll answer these additional questions that I hear time and again from financial advisors:
How can I land more interviews on my own?
What are the biggest rookie blunders?
This fall, I’ll be speaking at a number of conferences. Look for me at the following events:
-- September 14-17: FPA National Convention in San Diego. Presenting “Twitter Live with Industry Thought Leaders” on the Professional Pavilion Stage and hosting a special Round Table Discussion on the “State of the Financial Planning Profession” with Bob Veres and other Industry Leaders in the Community Building. Learn more at: www.fpanet.org
-- September 24: Fairfield University in Fairfield CT. Presenting a full-day workshop on Building Your Online Presence for FPA-CT and FPA Hudson Valley. FPA members, non-members and business people in the community are all invited to attend (attendees to not need to be financial advisors). Details at http://www.marieswift.com/ and www.fpact.org
-- October 13-14: Tiburon CEO Summit in San Francisco. Attending and providing conference services onsite. Find the invitation criteria at: www.tiburonadvisors.com
-- October 24-27: NAPFA Practice Management and Investments Conference in Brooklyn. Conducting a half-day Social Media Boot Camp as a pre-conference offering as well as a session on public relations and a round table discussion on marketing, PR and social media during the main conference. Details at: www.NAPFA.org
As president and CEO of Impact Communications, Inc., Marie leads a dedicated team of marketing communications and PR professionals serving financial institutions and a select group of independent advisors on an exclusive basis. Marie can be reached through her website, www.ImpactCommunications.org.