Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"The Media Needs Your Expertise: What Your Clients Value, The Media Will Value" by Beth Chapman

The following article was written by PR expert Beth Chapman of Ink & Air.

There are two assumptions that seem to fuel the attitudes investment advisors have toward the media: 1. There is nothing I can say that would be of interest to the media. 2. The media should find me because my value proposition is so great. I hope you are not surprised when I say that both statements are completely false. Instead, financial advisors should put the following two statements on their desk where they are visible every day:

1. Every issue I discuss with my clients is a story idea for the media.

2. The media will not pay attention to me unless I give them a reason.

The media is always hungry for good story ideas. Recently, an advisor who had been trying to get the attention of the personal finance reporter for his metropolitan newspaper, finally got a vestige of interest with the fifth story idea submission. He realized that several very large local companies had announced layoffs that would impact his community. He developed a story idea as follows:

“When layoffs loom, it is essential that you understand your retirement plan options.”

This is topical, timely, and gave the reporter several significant bullet points to use as the central part of his story.

There is additional information you need, however, when you have begun to generate the interest of the media and are starting to handle incoming calls. Expectations are funny things, and particularly with the media, so managing your expectations about what is likely to happen when the media calls is important.

Got questions for Beth Chapman? Post them as a "Comment" below.

Visit the SusanCFA blog again next week for more do’s and don’ts of working the media and suggestions for overcoming likely pitfalls.



Blogger Nancy O said...

As a reporter, I agree with Beth that it's important for advisors to consider how they'll respond when the media calls. I have sources I return to again and again because the person answering the phone takes the time to take down all the information on the story I'm working on and the advisor returns my call promptly to set up an interview time. Often, we'll have a brief discussion of the story and I always appreciate the advisors who obviously take the time to think about their response before the interview. Others shoot quick email follow-ups to reiterate a point or offer help if questions come up as I write.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...

In my experience, all too often money management firms think of using a PR firm only in a crisis situation. Many hedgefunds simply do not talk to the press which does not seem to me to be a reasonable solution. Clients want to know that your firm is relied upon for expertise--and thoughtful interactions with responsible members of the press is a good way to demonstrate your expertise.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Beth Chapman said...

PR for Hedge Funds is a difficult situation because the funds operate
under stringent rules when it comes to the media. However, a
practitioner can work around those rules. The PR efforts should be
viewed as PR for the hedge fund manager, not the fund itself, a fine
line, admittedly. PR can help develop credibility for the fund
manager as a trusted expert in his particular niche. That can be
done by talking about the investment strategy of the fund manager,
not the fund itself. You are right -- creating a relationship with a
PR firm exclusively for crisis is a very limited view of the value of
PR. PR should be viewed as an effort in branding that needs to take
place over time.

8:42 AM  

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