Being seen as an expert, whilst reducing anxiety, is the key to any marketing strategy designed to attract new clients.
Being regularly seen in the personal finance press, helps massively to achieve both of these objectives.
So, based entirely on my personal experiences, here are my top 10 tips for getting more press coverage and positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
Before we start, a quick word about compliance.
Press coverage isn’t without risks and all advisers should be aware of the FCA’s financial promotion rules. It goes without saying these should be followed when speaking to the press and your comments should always be balanced. I would also recommend working in partnership with your compliance team, so that you understand their boundaries and they your aims.
In fact, if I were adding press coverage into my marketing strategy, my first conversation would be with my compliance officer.
To my tips…
#1: Make sure press coverage fits with your marketing strategy
Ask yourself why you want more press coverage.
The right reason, is as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy designed to position yourself as an expert in your field, whilst improving brand awareness and the level of new enquiries generated.
The wrong reason is to massage your ego!
Assuming you are doing it for the right reasons, getting coverage is only half the job, you need to leverage your appearances in the press. I’d include all press coverage on your website and social media profiles and for high profile coverage, I’d recommend making sure your clients and prospects see it by issuing a newsletter or email.
It’s also vital to monitor the effectiveness of your press related activities: Is strategy producing results in terms of new client enquiries, an increase in website traffic or more social media connections / followers?
#2: Personal Finance or trade press?
If your aim is to attract new clients, the personal finance press is the place to be seen.
However, the trade press can be useful too, particularly if your aim is to build your profile, which in turn can then help with recruitment.
However, in my experience, to become a trusted commentator all journalists are looking for some key things:
- Speed, deadlines are often tight
- Expertise, mistakes help no one
- Concise comment, waffle won’t be well received
#3: Open doors and build relationships
Personal relationships with journalists are key; it’s hugely important you know the areas a journalist is interested in and they understand your areas of expertise.
I’d recommend identifying the key publications you would like to comment in and then spend time researching their journalists.
Twitter is your friend here. Most financial journalists use it and it’s an ideal way of understanding their current projects, offering assistance or simply getting to know them.
Finally, remember those Financial Promotion Rules? They apply to Twitter too!
#4: Sign up to the Unbiased Bluebook
The Unbiased Bluebook is a hidden gem and I’d highly recommend subscribing.
Available on their ‘Plus’ subscription (£59 + VAT per month), the Bluebook allows journalists to email advisers with details of articles they are writing and request comment.
You will need to respond quickly and I would also suggest offering to carry out any additional research for the journalist; in my experience the more helpful you can be the better. Irrespective of whether your comments get used, you can use this interaction to start to build those all-important relationships.
#5: Know your subject and stick to it
Journalists are looking for experts; commenting where your knowledge is thin should be avoided.
In my experience, journalists understand if you decline to comment because a particular topic isn’t your specialism.
However, in these circumstances I’d always take the opportunity to remind the journalist of the areas where you are an expert and try to recommend an alternative adviser for them to talk to.
#6: Start answering private and withheld numbers!
Journalists like speed, but no one likes answering private or withheld numbers, with many large organisations using these, that’s not a good combination.
Long ago, I got into the habit of answering all calls from private and withheld numbers, on many occasions it is a journalist wanting comment or the local radio asking for an interview.
If I’d not answered the phone, I’d have missed the opportunity.
#7: Remember, you’re not promoting your firm
The aim is to position yourself as an expert and add value to the reader of the article, for those people who then want to learn more about you, Google will do the rest.
Trying to overtly promote your business, including the use of self-serving press releases, will never go down well with a journalist and you frankly have zero chance of it being published.
#8: Press releases make me nervous
Over the past five years I don’t think I have written more than half a dozen press releases, I could be very wrong, but I’m not convinced they are particularly effective.
Journalists I speak to often comment on the large number of press releases they receive. I can see how they might be effective for a general story in the trade press, for example a new appointment or service, your annual results etc. But, for a story placement in the personal finance press, I much prefer to build relationships and then offer a story to a journalist on an exclusive basis.
#9: Talking head or drive the agenda?
In my experience, there are two ways to be quoted in the personal finance press.
The first is as what I would refer to as a ‘talking head’ commenting in an article already being written by the journalist.
The second is to drive the agenda by passing stories to journalists you have a relationship with. This can be a very effective tactic when the story is good, you have an existing relationship with the journalist and you pass in on an exclusive basis.
#10: Have case studies at the ready
It’s no secret that journalists love case studies to illustrate ‘real life’ examples.
Providing a case study, which is often needed at short notice, is an excellent way of building relationships with journalists as they can be hard to source.
An effective case study will often mean your client has to be interviewed by the journalist and be willing to have their picture printed, a big ask, but they are worth their weight in gold.
It takes time, but I’d recommend building up a small bank of clients, across the areas in which you are an expert, who are willing to be called upon to act as a case study when the opportunity arises.
Press coverage, as part of a coherent marketing strategy, can be very effective in positioning you as an expert, building your profile and ultimately leading to more new client enquiries.
It isn’t without risk though, and it certainly takes time to build relationships and understand the needs of journalists.
I sincerely hope you found this article useful, I’d welcome your comments or questions below.
Alternatively feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org