Get the right kind of media coverage for your business

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Positive media coverage helps build your brand, a scenario we’ve seen play out time and time again across our national RIA network.

It works because it builds credibility around your financial advisory business while providing a ready supply of talking points for engagement with customers, prospects, and potential M&A partners. Media coverage also has real staying power. Thanks to social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, in addition to your website, newsletters and paper brochures, its effects last long after the initial publication.

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Meanwhile, we are seeing more and more national business press, trade publications and regional trade journals telling more wealth management stories than ever before, reflecting a growing awareness among consumers of the need for sound investment strategies and dynamic financial planning.

Although it may take several attempts to get a journalist to write an article about your practice, the return on investment is much better than an ad buy. That said, there is a risk in having contact with the media. For example, a wealth management executive we know bragged to a reporter about how much an investor had paid for a stake in his company. When these quotes were included in an industry article, the executive ended up doing damage control when the investment firm caught wind of their inappropriate victory lap. We also know of an independent broker who disparaged his old business during a media interview, changing the focus of the article from prospects for his new business to complaints about his old business – a real missed opportunity!

To prevent such blunders, some companies employ a public relations agency, which pitches stories at appropriate outlets and coaches advisors and executives on interview do’s and don’ts. For companies that don’t go this route, the following tips are intended to mitigate the difficulties of attracting media attention while maximizing favorable attention from publishers and readers.

Offer a “newsy” angle. An advisor we know wanted to talk about financial planning for his firm’s business owner clients. This angle, while valid, lacked the appeal to engage the broader audience the article was intended for. It was a remark he left in passing — about how his business owner clients were neglecting succession planning during the coronavirus pandemic — that ended up taking center stage in the editorial staff and that improved the quality of featured RIA coverage. It allowed the reporter to inject a note of genuine topicality into the article while casting the adviser’s original subject matter in a more urgent light.

Have a news hook. This is a specific peg on which to hook the interest of the publication’s readers. Appropriate hooks include internal or industry milestones, holidays, news-related news, and compelling trends that provide the kind of “information you can use” journalists love. An adviser described to a reporter how he worked with his clients on charitable donations to local families struggling to get wifi access for their children during remote learning – a topic that was in the local news. This provided the link to a related charity as a news hook. Sometimes, even with topical angles, the hook can end up being off topic to the agreed topic of the interview.

To share your expertise. Give the reporter your perspective on financial and economic trends. As long as you don’t betray confidentiality, discuss what interests or worries your customers. Journalists generally perceive high-net-worth investors – especially those advised by boutique RIAs – as smart money players. A core counselor in our network who works with frontline healthcare executives was asked how these clients were coping with the pandemic. The adviser replied that many wanted to explore downsizing strategies as they plan to get less stressful positions once the pandemic is over. The resulting article highlighted his expertise in a positive way.

Emphasize “color” in interviews. Liven up your story by sharing anecdotes, industry stats and detailing. A San Francisco councilor received positive mention in an article after telling a passing reporter that he worked with winery owners in the Napa area of ​​California. A North East adviser has generated new leads after telling a reporter he specializes in helping fast food franchisees and can discuss income statements and inventory guidelines for individual stores.

Avoid platitudes and blatant self-promotion. Most companies say they do “holistic wealth management” and such, so that’s not really a point of differentiation. Similarly, promotional or sales material is of little interest to a journalist. Save that for the publication’s publicity department, not the news section. You can always tell your story, but sometimes it’s better to come back to it. For example, incidentally to the agreed topic of the interview, an adviser guided a journalist in his strenuous efforts to ensure his office was sanitized before his staff returned from a lockdown. This Covid news hook gave the resulting article a topical twist and put the adviser in a favorable light.

Advisors with media experience know how important it is to understand what journalists want, in order to better showcase their strengths and (at least by implication) their differences from their competitors. The result is a mutual benefit: the reporter receives a good story and the adviser a positive mention. Such interactions can also lead to subsequent coverage, as an increasingly respected advisor becomes a go-to source.

Sally Cate

Photo Illustration by Staff; Courtesy of Dynasty Financial Partners

Sally Cate is Managing Director and Head of Public Relations and Communications for Dynasty Financial Partners and the Dynasty Network of Advisors. She has designed and managed public relations programs around the world. Previously, she led global communications at Citi Private Bank and Smith Barney.

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