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Financial advisors, a media platform can boost your business

I heard good things about Qwoted, a platform that connects reporters with sources, from some writer friends. So, I asked the firm for a guest post on how advisors can benefit from such platforms, which also include HARO and ProfNet. The post below by Madelynne Kislovsky, Qwoted’s deputy editor and marketing manager, is the result.

Madelynne told me, “Over 400 financial advisors use Qwoted, thanks to dozens of weekly source requests from reporters looking for insights from wealth managers and financial planners.”

Financial advisors, a media platform can boost your business

By Madelynne Kislovsky

Securing earned media opportunities is a crucial element of any marketing strategy. A necessary first step to garnering free media coverage is building relationships with reporters, which boosts the chances of getting your quotes and ideas in front of the audiences of top publications. The coverage you gain as an expert in your field will play a valuable role in the perception of your business by establishing you as a trustworthy source in your industry. Hiring a PR company to manage this can be costly and attempting to secure media opportunities with no guidance often stretches small business owners too thin.

While doing it yourself can be intimidating, there are platforms that assist with obtaining media coverage fast. Qwoted helps professionals in any field cut through the noise and connect with reporters who are looking for specific information around a particular topic. Reporters can also search Qwoted’s media database directly to find vetted, relevant sources. As a member of the Qwoted community, you’ll receive relevant source requests daily, which provide context around your outreach to reporters and propel you as a credible media source.

Sharing your expertise is never a poor choice, as any brand can benefit from securing earned media coverage on either the local or national level. However, reaching out to a journalist requires a collaborative approach. Keep the reporter’s needs in mind throughout the conversation, especially because most good journalists can sniff out your motives right away.

Here are some tips:

  • Respond to source requests as soon as possible to increase your chances of securing the media opportunity.
  • Include written responses to reporters’ questions in your initial pitches. You’ll make the reporter’s job simpler by immediately providing what they’re after. This will improve your chances of being included in the story.
  • Stay away from lengthy anecdotes and “TL;DR” paragraphs.
  • Be thoughtful and offer value without expecting anything in return. The ultimate goal is to build relationships with the media. This approach will provide more returns in the long term.
  • Do a bit of research on the journalist beforehand to learn about the topics they cover.
  • Make sure you have a plan should you receive a piece of coverage. You’ll want to leverage your earned media across your website, social channels, and directly with customers and prospects.

Garnering earned media opportunities doesn’t have to be expensive, difficult, or time-consuming. Make the most of your time by securing media opportunities the smart way. Research affordable alternatives and find which media request platform works best for your business model. You’ll find yourself securing opportunities and expanding your brand faster than you thought possible.

 

The silver bullet for attracting more readers

Media coverage can boost your visibility, helping you to attract more clients. Joanne Cleaver, a fellow member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, suggests in her guest post that you expand your ideas of the topics on which you’d like to be quoted.

The silver bullet for attracting more readers

By Joanne Cleaver

If you know enough to write regularly about investing and financial planning, you know enough to be quoted. But how can you elevate your hand-built riser into a national platform?

The best way to gain expert status is to be quoted by journalists. Their responsibility is to present credible information in context. When your expertise adds clarity, insight and experience that brings an article to life, you will become a go-to source. That establishes you as an expert and builds your reputation .

That’s all well and good. But how do you get started? Here’s how to break the anonymity trap of not being quoted because you aren’t known, and not being known because you’re not being quoted.

First, sign up for HelpAReporterOut.com.

For $19 a month, HARO delivers to your inbox a daily list of requests from journalists looking for immediate sources for stories they are working on now. Simply reviewing the requests helps you detect what journalists need.

Your initial reaction will be to respond only to requests that seek financial experts. With 50 or more HARO requests daily, it’s only a matter of time before you find a request for precisely your technical and advisory expertise. And offering quotable, useable financial insight is a great way to win media mentions.

But you have more to offer than professional commentary. Your life experience—as a parent, a business owner, a volunteer—also is invaluable fodder. For example, you might respond to a reporter search for parents who have recently navigated the college application and financial aid process. Your pitch would pivot on your experience as a parent who’s better informed than most on financial topics, but you’d also be interviewed about your frustrations and feelings about financial aid.

Responding to a HARO request that appears tangential to your professional expertise does two things: it opens a relationship with the journalist, and it is a chance to showcase personal insight that rounds out your professional reputation and presents you as human, empathetic and approachable.

Both types of media mentions—professional and personal—build reputation and blog readership…as long as that silver bullet hits your target audience.

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A former daily newspaper deputy business editor, Joanne Cleaver helps professionals develop and deliver the right messages to the right audiences through media and communication training. Learn more at http://wilson-taylorassoc.com/media-training.

Don’t sabotage your website’s news page

In the News page

Click to see my news page with items listed in the correct, reverse-chronological order

A news page featuring your firm’s mentions in the media can boost your credibility, as long as you avoid one financial advisor’s mistake.

“Wow! This advisor hasn’t gotten any press since 2006.” That was my first thought when I looked at this advisor’s news page earlier this year. I immediately thought, “He should delete his news page.”

But then I scanned the rest of the page. I realized that the advisor had listed his media coverage in chronological order. He started in 2006 and continued up to the present day way, way down the page.

Unfortunately, most readers won’t scan the entire page. They’ll stop with the misperception that the advisor is a dud at getting the attention of the press.

The lesson for you? List your news coverage in reverse chronological order, putting the most recent items at the top of your page. For an example, see my “In the News” page.

Using the proper order is a small step with a big impact.

Asking reporters to send questions in advance

Working with reporters is easier and more productive when you understand how they work. You can ask reporters to send you questions prior to an interview. However, please don’t insist they do so, unless you want to sacrifice your opportunities.

Many reporters refuse to send questions in advance. They fear it’ll destroy your spontaneity. Plus, they don’t want to limit the scope of their interviews to those questions.

If a reporter declines to provide questions, you can still ask him or her to expand briefly on the scope of an interview request before you agree to speak.

After all, a topic of “401(k) plans” is too broad to allow you to do any preparation, or even to assess whether you’re a good fit for the reporter’s topic. If you’re an expert on, say, using your 401(k) for real estate investment, it’s fair to ask if that’s on the reporter’s agenda. You might also ask, “Are there statistics or background information that I can find for you?”

If you have tips that help you work effectively with reporters, please share them.

5 PR tips for financial advisors

Public relations can be a powerful tool for financial advisors. In “How to Get PR Without Hiring an Agency,” Mike Byrnes shared many tips tailored to advisors in his presentation to the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts on Feb. 27, 2013. I share some of his tips below, with an emphasis on the lesser-known tips.

1. Use Skype, FaceTime, or Google+ Hangouts

You know how you make a deeper connection when you meet someone face to face? You can achieve a similar connection with tech-savvy reporters who use Skype video, FaceTime, or Google+ Hangouts to communicate using video in addition to audio.

Google+ Hangouts have an added advantage. You can offer a video recording of your call to the reporter. These days even traditional print publications are hungry for video to display on their websites.

However, don’t try to force these technologies on reporters who don’t use them. You’ll just annoy them.

2. Hire an intern who’s a journalist

You need content to feed your PR effort. If you’re on a tight budget, but need help generating content, hire an intern who’s a journalist so she or he writes well.

The intern’s lack of industry knowledge can be a plus. How’s that? You’ll need to explain things in simple, nonfactual terms. This is the language your clients and prospects will respond to.

Just make sure you allow plenty of time to educate your intern. He or she will have a steep learning curve.

3. Provide hyperlinks to your website

If you publish an article on an outside website, be sure to provide a hyperlink to your website. This makes it easy for readers to find you. In an interesting twist on this strategy, Byrnes also suggested commenting online (with an appropriate link) on articles or blogs that your target audience reads. This could introduce you to people who read those comments.

4. Reduce the potential for misquotes

You will be misquoted or misinterpreted at some point in your PR experience. It won’t be malicious. It may be something you can avoid by taking an extra step.

The extra step is to email the reporter with key points after your conversation. If the reporter shares questions prior to your call, you can prepare and send your key points in advance.

A  note from my personal experience as a reporter: Don’t expect reporters to send you articles for your approval prior to publication. They may let you check the accuracy of your quotes before they submit the finished story. However, the more demands you make, the less attractive you’ll be as an interviewee.

5. Follow reporters on social media

It’s much easier to interact with reporters on social media than by traditional means. If you retweet and make positive comments on their articles, you’re helping them look good on the job.

Have these tips worked for you?

If you’ve tried these techniques, I’d like to hear from you about your experiences.

Another great way to annoy a reporter

I agree with Ed McCarthy about “Seven Ways to Annoy a Reporter,” a sidebar to his “Sharpening Your Media Skills” in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning (available online only to subscribers).

Let me add another: Publish on your blog that “I’m talking with Reporter X about Topic Y for the next issue of Magazine Z.” 

Reporters–and their editors–don’t like to be scooped by anybody. It’s nice that you’re excited by your interview. But spreading the word about the story before it’s published is likely to get you banned from that magazine.

Save your enthusiasm until after the article is published. You will win points for blogging about it then.

 

NOTE: I updated this post on 12/31/19.