Becoming a "Go To" Source for Reporters

Friday, February 19, 2010 16:18
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Becoming a

The ultimate goal of any media outreach effort that a financial advisor may take is becoming a trusted source of a select cadre of influential reporters and editors. This is certainly possible; it just takes a bit of planning to get there.

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As most everyone knows, reporters and editors rarely can complete the stories they file without outside involvement. Even in situations where stories are heavily statistical and/or rely on research reports for most of their data points, commentary and involvement from qualified professionals help put numbers in perspective and answer the proverbial question of most readers: "Why should I care?"

Believe it or not, there are ways to get reporters to call you, and the best way to do that is to furnish them with regular story ideas that they'll care about. As I've mentioned before, financial professionals are in many ways a natural source for media outlets, since they regularly deal with a topic that concerns most Americans: Money and how to make the most of it. Given that a great strategy is to routinely send topical information to reporters that reflects the current market environment and helps them -- and by extension their readers -- make sense of it.

Since the core functions of financial advisors really boil down to helping clients prepare for a variety of important milestones, ranging from retirement to funding their child's educations, story suggestions that help parents make sense of 529 college-savings plans or the advantages and implications of various retirement plans are always safe bets. Almost every year brings a sea of tax laws and other changes that can change the direction individuals want to take, so paying special attention to any applicable rule revisions is also always a safe bet.

As I mentioned in a recent column, the first step toward establishing relationships with reporters is often sending a short introductory letter or e-mail letting them know about your practice and any areas of specialization. When you have follow-up conversations, ask them if it would be OK to include them on future advisories your practice issues containing investment updates, information on market trends, etc. In addition to sending them your periodic advisories, I always recommend customizing them with an introductory note/cover letter, if possible.

Over time, this approach increases the likelihood that you will become one of a select group of regular contributors to a few reporters' stories and columns. Odds are, it won't happen overnight, but there's a good chance that once it does, you'll get routine exposure that will help increase awareness of your practice. Once these stories start coming in, don't forget to make mention of them in your newsletters, on your Web site, etc. These mentions will even play well with current clients, as they will likely feel more secure in their choice of advisor once a variety of outlets start regularly featuring you.

 

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