For financial advisors, the media can be a completely unassailable fortress, but once breached, can provide money managers with access to thousands – even millions – of would-be clients.
Few marketing pursuits can build credibility like being featured as an expert in the media, and nothing builds trust like having credibility and being an expert on T.V., radio, or on the Internet
But here’s the good news: the secret knock for access into the hypothetical fortress isn’t so secret after all. Let’s examine five accessible ways to break into media in order to build your brand and reputation:
1. Gaining “accessibility”: If you want media attention, you must “offer yourself as a ‘ready resource’ for journalists and those in news production,” said Joe Anthony, president of Gregory FCA, a financial advisory firm.
Other industry professionals echo the importance of being ready to pounce as soon as significant things happen in your industry.
“When there’s a breaking news story, it’s about speed and serving as the expert to explain that story” explained Bruce Serbin, founder of Serbin Media. “Stay on top of the latest news around your area of expertise and be ready to jump on an opportunity when something happens.”
News moves rapidly. If you don’t get in touch with media contacts expeditiously, they’ll will find someone else, he added.
2. Mythbusting: In the internet age, there is an unfortunately large amount of disseminated information that is either misleading or downright wrong. It’s a perfect opportunity to bust some myths.
Serbin suggests looking for “some very common wisdom that most people believe that is actually incorrect.”
Dispelling myths can be a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. It’s also highly desirable for editors, producers, and other media gatekeepers, Serbin noted.
3. Whose byline is it, anyway?: Bylined articles are another opportunity to showcase yourself to a widespread audience. The trick with bylined articles is to make sure you’re offering it to the right place, experts say. Forget about offering a bylined article to a newspaper, which is likely a waste of your time, Serbin said.
“An online website, blog, magazine or trade publication would be an excellent place for the article,” he added.
The benefit of a bylined story is you have significant control of the narrative of the piece.
While being quoted as the specialist can provide a reputation boost, Serbin agrees that he would “almost prefer articles because you’re getting a full 500-1,000 words versus a short quote here and there in a story.”
4. Buzz-generating op-eds: Few actions incite heated audience participation like taking a strong stance on a controversial topic. Conflict engages viewers, inspires shares, and builds credibility, Serbin noted.
Consequently, look for hot topics where “people are really divided on the issue,” he advised. “Take one side and really make your case for it while taking down the other side. It’s a great way to generate media coverage. The more controversial the topic, the stronger the response.”
5. The public relations boost: Just because you think you have something newsworthy doesn’t mean your media prospects will bite.
“All of these media hits aren’t going to come every time you think you have a story to tell,” said Jeff Cronin, senior public relations account manager for DDC Works, who suggests hiring a public relations professional. “They bring to the table pre-existing relationships with the editors and reporters you’d likely want to pursue.”
In short, PR firms have built credibility and established trust with the people controlling media access chokepoints. Instead of approaching national platforms as a no-name, you’re delivered on a platter, to the right people, at the right time, by a firm the source trusts, all for under $1,000 per month, in many cases.
6. Continuing the Cycle: The trick to successfully building your brand lies in continuously leveraging your media exposure. After all, new media coverage begets new media coverage.
“Consider an email blast to both your current clients and prospects,” Cronin said. “Use it as an opportunity to promote your personal service, while showcasing your credibility.”
Any time you receive new media exposure, use it as an excuse to contact bigger names in media. Do that, and you’ll be climbing the media ladder in no time.
Brian O'Connell is a former Wall Street bond trader, and author of the best-selling books, The 401k Millionaire and CNBC's Guide to Creating Wealth. He's a regular contributor to major media business platforms, including CBS News, The Street.com, and Bloomberg. Brian may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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