Monday, February 12, 2007

"Expect That You May be Misquoted" by Beth Chapman

Expect that you may be misquoted. The e-mail outline of what you thought you said may help avoid this, but never entirely. Keep in mind that on day two after the article appears, most people will only remember that you were smart enough to be quoted, not what you said.

It is not at all uncommon to be interviewed and not quoted. This happens all the time. Most common is that you can see your thoughts in the substance of the story, but there is no attribution. There is really nothing to do, except if the same reporter calls again, make it clear that you hope to be quoted, because you were not the last time. It is also not uncommon not to be quoted if you are new to the reporter as a source. Sometimes you have to "earn" your quotes through several interviews. No reporter deserves more than two interviews without a quote.

The attribution may be incomplete. If the attribution is garbled, last name only, no company name, or no town, that is correctable and the reporter will likely accede to your request that your proper attribution be printed in the newspaper or magazine’s next issue.

Despite all the do’s, don’ts, and pitfalls, working well with the media is an important tactic to build the reputation, referrals and revenues of your firm.

Got questions for PR expert 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.


I have a question on my own behalf.

Is it worthwhile for me to send out a press release to my local newspapers about my becoming a member of the CFA Institute's Speaker Retainer Program? If so, do you have any advice about how I do that?

Here's how the CFA Institute describes the program: “The CFA Institute Speaker Retainer Program was developed to aid CFA Institute member societies in finding exceptional speakers for their educational events. The program is comprised of a select group of individuals who have volunteered their time to educate members of the investment profession.”

In essence, the CFA Institute would reimburse my expenses to deliver my presentation on "How to Write Investment Commentary that People Will Read" to the Institute's societies. I was selected because my presentation got excellent reviews when I delivered it to the Providence Society of Financial Analysts.

Beth Chapman said...

Most news outlets would characterize the announcement of your joining the CFA Institute's Speaker Retainer Program as a "What's Happening" and group it under promotions and new jobs, if at all. It's actually not the best place to put such information. An announcement is limited thinking in how to promote the accomplishment. I would skip the newspapers completely. Instead, I would send a letter to the president of every financial services firm in your area and all of the CFA societies. For presidents of financial firms, it should read something like the following, although given this topic, you will have better suggestions:

Dear Mr. President:
Ever wonder how you can spice up your investment commentary? The CFA Institute, granting body of the Chartered Financial Advisor designation, has granted me membership in their speaker's bureau based on my presentation "How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read."

I cover, topic, topic, and topic and engage your communications staff in dialogue about making a dull subject come alive for the reader.

I can write commentary your clients will want to read or train your firm's writers. Call me about taking a new look at how you can do a better job of reaching your audiences.
Jane Doe, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Now for the program chairpersons of the CFA societies.

Dear Program Chairperson, CFA Societies:

It was a big hit in Providence! I presented a program "How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read" to the Providence Society of Financial Analysts. As a result, I was invited to become a member of the CFA Institute's Speakers Bureau and the Institute will reimburse my expenses to come to your Society to deliver this program.

Analysts are always asked to write and for many with a quantitative bent, this is difficult work. I can show your analysts the tricks of a writer's trade that can be used immediately. I discuss topic, topic, and topic.

Please contact me for more information.
Jane Doe, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Speaking usually morphs into writing opportunities and writing opportunities can morph into more speaking. Both are an excellent way to showcase your excellence before the appropriate audiences. Add your membership to the speaker's bureau to your resume and add it to your web site and blog. I would skip sending this information to your local news outlets. They are not the audience that really cares about the message.


Accounting "Principles vs. Rules and Fair vs. Unfair Values"

Wonder of wonders -- I've heard a humorous presentation about accounting!

The topic was "Principles vs. Rules and Fair vs. Unfair Values," delivered by Professor G. Peter Wilson of Boston College to the Boston Security Analysts Society on Feb. 8, 2007.

I was struck by Wilson's conclusion that "we'll have more new [accounting] principles and five times as many new [accounting] rules five years from now."

Wilson believes that accounting requires both principles and rules in a well-arranged hierarchy from broad principles down to more specific rules. "You often need rules to help you follow principles," he said. However, "the most effective control is people wanting to do right."

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Another academic, pro-indexing study

"The idea of "local knowledge" – or "investing in what you know" -- is popular stock-picking advice that doesn't appear to hold true for individual investors, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business," according to a recent press release.

"In a study of almost 1 million transactions from more than 43,000 households, Haas Assistant Professor Mark Seasholes investigated whether investors who buy stocks of local companies have superior information. He found that individuals who buy local stocks fail to outperform the stock market, suggesting that these investors had no superior information about the companies. Seasholes also found that overall, stocks bought by individuals tend to go down, while stocks they sell tend to go up."

"As investors revisit their stock portfolios with the new year, Seasholes says his findings suggest they should consider index funds."

I haven't read Seasholes paper (which you can link to from the press release), but it seems to me that individuals' poor investment returns don't argue only for indexing. Instead, why not consider professional investment management?

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Beth Chapman: "Putting Your Best Foot Forward: The Media is Always on Deadline"

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

Always prep your staff about how to handle the media. Work with the primary people on your phones to understand the importance of phone etiquette with the media. They are always on deadline. Let’s repeat that, the media is ALWAYS on deadline. Therefore, it becomes urgent that they reach you as soon as possible.

Why the urgency? The media keeps dialing for sources as long as it takes to find someone to answer their questions. They do not wait for call backs. The early bird -- well, you know the rest of that saying.

Do: Call or e-mail the reporter making the query immediately. Tomorrow will not work. When you call, if you do not reach them, give them all of your contact information, including office phone, cell phone and e-mail address. They may e-mail their question while on the phone with someone else. Time is of the essence.

Do Give a thoughtful response. You are competing for “top of mind” awareness with the reporter. When you find out the question, ask the time frame and whether you could have a few minutes to e-mail your thoughts. If they prefer a verbal interview, try to write notes of the points you make. Don’t let the reporter hang up without giving you their phone and e-mail. As soon as you finish the call, send them an e- mail synopsis of what it is you thought you said. Stay on point.

Do: Offer the reporter additional professional sources. Never hesitate to give a reporter someone who is specifically able to answer the question. You get points for not wasting their time.

Do: Offer additional materials If appropriate, ask a reporter if they would like to receive additional material that supports your point, tax codes, bulletins from professional organizations, or overviews found in trade journals. This may require a special fax number they will give you.

Don’t Guess! One of the worse things you can do is take a stab at the answer. It is also not smart to become an “instant” expert by doing a quick review of the subject with reference material you have on your desk. If the question is not spot on in your area of expertise, don’t go there.

Don’t share the topic of a media query with other media. It may be tempting to discuss with a second reporter what the first one just asked. It is considered bad form in the journalism world. A reporter will not trust you going forward if another reporter uses you for the same story at the same time. Wait until the first reporter’s story is published.

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.

This is Susan, copying Q&A from the Comments section for your reading ease:

Anonymous said...


How would you handle the guerilla marketing campaign, from Turner Broadcasting's point of view and from the city of Boston?

Can guerilla marketing work any more, or does it now have to be so shocking as to be negative?

7:35 PM

Beth Chapman said...

Turner Broadcasting has dealt with very negative PR in a quick, concise manner and, by assessing themselves their own penalty beyond the actual costs of the emergency created, they have effectively said "Mea Culpa" in a very public way. No large corporation, receiving good PR counsel, would ever want such a public "scandal" to keep making news, much less make its way to court. They have very effectively controlled the negative media hype.

Guerilla marketing is about finding and communicating to specific communities. There are many ways to do this that do not include posting anything on public infrastructure which historically has been against most municipal bylaws. I do not believe good guerilla marketing needs to be shocking or negative, but equisitely targeted to the demographic sought. A focus group, or groups for the purposes of brainstorming with this demographic would uncover opportunities for marketing that are creative, effective, and legal.

If nothing else, this is a very loud and clear wake up call for everyone over the age of 25, and particularly those in government, to learn about blogging and turn to it for public sentiment and information during an emergency.

Anonymous said...

Our firm is a high net worth investment manager based in the Boston. Our clients mainly reside in the New England, New York, Florida, and parts of California. While we have clusters of clients in other geographical areas we would like to gain more national exposure. Could you provide us with any tips as to how we may expand our client base further?

Beth Chapman said...

I make presentations to groups of financial advisors all over the country. I seldom find any who have made successful inroads with local media for a specific reason -- local media does not cover investment management. Oh, they cover firms opening, and closing and scandals, but the basic metropolitan newspapers use syndicated columnists to cover personal finance. High net worth families, however, read all of the national business media. Reaching national media is a matter of story idea development, targeting specific publications and reporters, and sending good story ideas once a month to those reporters. The stories can be based on client questions that you know would interest the readers of your target publications. Working with the national media takes time, and persistence, but will be vastly more satisfying that trying to get local publications to cover your ideas. One other suggestion is to look at the industries or professions of your best clients, and target those publications as a means of reaching good clients like the ones you already have.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

FactSet: Add risk-based performance attribution for more meaningful analysis

Traditional weight-based performance attribution can be deceiving, said FactSet's Chris Ellis in his January 30 presentation on "Effectively Connecting Portfolio Risk and Excess Return" to the Boston Security Analysts Society. Ellis is FactSet's director of portfolio analytics and a senior vice president.

Ellis started with the assumption that the portfolio manager's goal is to outperform the benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis. Traditional performance attribution doesn't analyze whether active risks contributed to active performance.

Ellis suggested adding factor reports to link active risks and active performance. That's the best way to figure out what's driving relative performance.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Got a question for PR expert Beth Chapman?

You can post your questions in the Comments section below or in the Comments section of any articles that Beth posts here during February.

It's easy to post Comments, but if you're befuddled, you can email your questions to Susan Weiner through the Contact form on her website.

I'd like to start the questions here.

Many of my clients write quarterly commentary on investment markets. Can they use that to get interviewed by reporters? Is it enough to add the reporters to their mailing list? Or is there something else that they should do?

Beth Chapman said...

It is a good protocol to send quarterly commentary on investment markets to a media list you develop over the years. You want the media to know that you have a broad understanding of what is happening in the economy and the markets. In your cover e-mail, you can increase the media's interest by focusing on an investment your company made -- one stock or a sector -- in the last quarter that shows how your firm's strategy paid off. One hint: please make certain that those on your mailing list actually write about the economy and the markets. You can find this out by reading the publications to which you are mailing your information. Nothing is as frustrating to an editor as receiving repetitive e-mails with information that would never be used by that publication.

For my readers' convenience, I'm copying your questions and Beth's answers into the body of this message.

Anonymous said...

I recently started my own investment advisory firm. After going through all the necessary start-up issues last year, I am really ready to grow my business and build up my assets under management (AUM). Due to a non-compete agreement with my previous employer, I was not able to approach a lot of my former clients; so now I am starting from scratch. As a new independent, registered investment advisor (RIA) with limited staff and budget, how can PR help me get more clients in the door and build up my AUM?

5:05 PM

Beth Chapman said...

The biggest hurdle for a new RIA, clearly, is recognition. PR is the fastest way I know to become a trusted expert with the media. It is very worthwhile paying attention to your media plan when you are first in business. Here are some ideas:
Make a list of client questions and turn them into an informative story idea. It only has to be several paragraphs: For instance, you are getting a lot of questions about whether it is appropriate to take money out of savings to pay down a mortgage so a client enters retirement free of this debt. Do a hypothetical chart that shows the benefits of keeping the mortgage versus paying off the mortgage. Send it to reporters or syndicated columnists you read who are doing personal finance stories. Another idea is to hold brown bag luncheons in your office for your clients and their "friends" who are also your prospective clients. You provide coffee and a spectacular dessert from nearby bakery. Develop a short list of pertinent story ideas, based on what your clients are asking and the story ideas you are sending to reporters and offer to give your clients and their friends answers during lunch.

9:26 PM

Anonymous said...

Our firm's primary client base is high net worth individuals and families. Our experience has been that most of our new business opportunities have come from referrals from existing clients and other people who know about us (friends and other professionals). Most of our "marketing" goes toward greater awareness to these people. How would we go about generating greater awareness of our firm when our potential clients are a small sub-set of the general population?

10:16 AM

Beth Chapman said...

It's actually an excellent situation when a firm knows that their potential clients are a small sub-set of the general population. However, the point of working with the media in this case is to establish brand, so that your satisfied clients can pass on a informative news clip or article reprint to their friends as a third party endorsement that goes beyond your existing client's opinion. Third party endorsements are very powerful, particularly when a firm takes the time to write a journal-length white paper and gets it published by the Journal of Financial Planning or the Journal of Financial Services Professionals. You can buy permission to post the article on your website, or pay for reprints, sending them to your existing clients with a request for referral, or to prospects with an invitation for a meeting. The fact that you have been found to be expert enough to be published goes a long way in establishing you as the trusted expert the high net worth family wants to trust.

11:59 AM

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