In a prior post, we discussed the nature and development of a firm’s media-facing core messages. (Quick recap: they are things you can actually say to reporters during an interview. They can’t sound like advertising. They should differentiate your firm in the competitive landscape.)
Reporters and editors are external audience you are trying to reach—and so are your clients. So, it’s no surprise that language carefully tuned for the media often works well in client communications, too.
By client communications, I’m referring in particular to e-newsletters, blog posts, articles, white papers, market commentary, quarterly outlooks and other ways a firm educates and informs its client base. These communications are important to convey key messages to your clients about your brand and who you are.
In any of these, it’s tempting to “sell” more aggressively than suits an educational tone. Marketing professionals typically have on hand language used to promote products and services in brochures, slick sheets, websites, email blasts and more. Lightly adapting that language in the context of, say, an educational article will typically undermine the article’s purpose.
That’s where media-facing core messages become a handy reference point for more than interview prep and news release drafting. Here, drawn from the prior post, is a hypothetical core media-facing message for an ESG-oriented asset manager:
No company is perfectly good or perfectly evil. At XYZ Money Manager, our job is to find outstanding investment opportunities among companies working hardest to be sustainable.
That language could absolutely appear in the wrap-up portion of a blog post or article analyzing available ESG metrics. It delivers a subtle marketing message without undermining the objective, educational tone of the blog post.
Another place to use messages like this is lead-ins to articles—that are graphically different from and separated from the articles themselves. For example, monthly or quarterly e-newsletters can be structured with a brief introduction, perhaps from a financial advisor or portfolio manager, that precedes the main content. A reader is unlikely to be turned off by a quick comment on why the content in the main body—say, a market update—is relevant to them.
For example, consider this introductory message, with its bolded phrases reflecting content that could be straight from a financial advisory firm’s core messages:
This quarter’s letter examines the relationship between elections and market risk over the decades. As always, we seek to put current events in perspective within a larger context. Often, politics are less important to markets than one might guess.
We also touch on tax proposals from the presidential candidates’ platforms. For many, now is a good time to revisit estate plans. As we look forward, we are always studying all the pieces of the investment puzzle and how each new piece should shape clients’ individual financial plans.
The bolded phrases connect to the topic at hand—the market review and outlook—while also emphasizing key ideas about the firm.
Conceptually, that’s exactly what’s happening when you apply these same messages in media interactions: simultaneously deliver an objective point and share what differentiates your firm.