“Can you get me on CNBC?”
This is a frequent request we get from advisors and financial experts who want media attention, despite the fact that most advisors can’t and won’t talk about the public company stocks that are the stock and trade of financial TV news.
We’ve also heard many variations of the question, “How can I get the Podunk Journal to write about me?” We once even had a client tell us his goal was to have his image pixilated in one of those classic Wall Street Journal drawings.
While ego can sometimes drive a desire for media attention, just as often, smart advisors realize that earned media attention is a cost–effective way to build their personal brand. Many see themselves as the type of smart, well–spoken individuals who can help media navigate topics such as saving for retirement, tax planning or building wealth. They see other advisors quoted and want in on the game.
There is no shortage of useful advice on the internet from advisory firms like XY Planning and advisor marketing gurus like Michael Kitces on how to get media attention. We’ll add a few pointers from our own experience working with our CFP and planning clients who have successfully garnered and leveraged media attention.
Media pointers for financial advisors
Hang your hat on the news. Being available and connected to the news cycle is the quickest way to get quoted in the media. Have a timely quote about the run up in the shares of GameStop? More than one of our clients was able to move quickly to offer an opinion on that fascinating story. Helping your business owner–clients understand PPP loans? Raise your hand and help your local business reporter navigate these SBA lending programs. Looking ahead, you might want to get ready to offer tips for the countless stories that will accompany the Biden administration’s income and estate tax reform proposals that are likely to make their way through Congress.
Walk a mile in a reporter’s shoes. If there is a publication you hope to be mentioned in, follow it closely and become familiar with the topics the reporters cover—and don’t cover.
Sharpen your pencil. Every advisor we talk to wants to become a “thought leader,” but few understand how to write the prose that will garner interest from the media. Thoughtful content is a very effective way to get your name into the media – especially into specialty and trade media who are hungry for articles targeting their niche readers. Effective thought leadership stands out by offering a viewpoint that hasn’t been widely shared. Position yourself as an expert on an area you know well – sustainable investing in 401(k) plans, guiding women through the financial challenges of divorce or helping business owners prepare for ownership transition. Make sure your prose is written for the audience you are targeting and make it educational, not promotional. What it shouldn’t be is an advertisement for your business.
Get engaged – Many advisors build a local practice serving people in their community and, due to referrals, many end up with a practice focused on a certain type of client – pilots, dentists, physicians, etc. If you attend a conference serving pilots or doctors, check to see if any media are attending and try to connect with them to share some insights or story ideas from what you’ve learned serving this niche audience. If you are trying to get in front of local media, showing up at your local business publication’s networking event can be a great opportunity to exchange cards with the reporter covering the finance beat.
Up your game – One of the surprising outcomes of the pandemic is that more people are able to be guests on financial news programs from the comfort of their home offices and Zoom connections. The downside is that they are immortalized onscreen looking everywhere but at the camera while fidgeting with hunched shoulders. If you haven’t had media training, take the time to learn how to be more effective doing interviews. Understanding how to sit and where to look when you are in front of the camera is just one of the benefits. You’ll also learn how to work your message into interview questions and how to navigate any difficult questions.
Use your designation – CFPs, CPAs and CFAs often have an edge getting into media including the associations representing their designation. All have journals that are seeking input from smart people holding the appropriate designations. And if you happen to have both a CFP and CPA, you have instant credibility on any topic related to tax or business planning.
Don’t forget old–school tactics – Receive an award? Add to your team of advisors? Land a coveted spot as a keynote speaker at an industry event? Write a news release to post to your website and share on social media. Email a copy to your local financial reporter. Some may cover the news. Others may save the news release and reach out at a later date as they seek to cultivate local sources. We also encourage our clients to use low–cost paid news release services to elevate selected news and drive further attention across the web, as these results may turn up when people are conducting searches about your firm.
Hire a PR partner – There are a few PR firms like ours that work with financial advisors, understand the landscape and have long standing relationships with reporters who write about personal finance, retirement planning, taxes or investments. These firms know the media landscape and understand what makes a good story.
Socialize – Those who are frequently quoted in the media often follow key reporters on Twitter or engage with them on LinkedIn. Increasingly, reporters looking for sources will post on social media. Follow selected reporters, engage with their posts, and follow up should you have something to say. Create a social media calendar to prompt your own regular engagement.
Don’t let it be one and done – In today’s multifaceted media landscape, any media coverage you may get is fleeting. The number of people who actually read the article in which you are quoted may be small, but the actual media coverage is just the opening volley. When you are quoted in the media, be sure to post the coverage to the newsroom on your website. Have your company share it on its social media platforms and be sure to share it on your own. Include a link in client communications or any quarterly e-newsletter.