For finance professionals who wish to elevate themselves from their competitors, public relations is the answer. M&O Marketing has spent years building relationships with trusted reporters and outlets to streamline the process of earning features and building credibility. The following is a Q & A with their senior leadership.
Why do financial professionals need public relations?
In the finance business, credibility is everything. As any financial professional knows, the industry has become incredibly saturated; designations and years of experience are no longer enough to set one person apart from another. Through public relations, financial professionals can distinguish their brand and build credibility around their name and business.
How do financial professionals benefit from public relations?
By attaching a financial professional’s name to recognizable publications as an expert source, readers know they can trust that person’s advice. Being featured in these respectable outlets builds confidence with clients, validates the experience, and increases brand awareness. Many of the financial professionals we work with find participating in public relations has resulted in shortened lead time with new clients.
How can financial professionals leverage their media features?
Properly leveraging your public relations efforts and making sure your features are getting in front of clients is one of the most important parts of the whole endeavor. Thankfully, there are many ways financial professionals can leverage their media features. We send framed copies of every press feature for our professionals to display in their office. We always recommend professionals share their press features on social media pages, bring copies to client meetings or seminars and also include their features in their email marketing efforts.
What should a financial professional look for when hiring a firm?
Financial professionals should make sure to research that the firm they plan on hiring has a proven track record in the financial industry and truly understands your areas of expertise and specialization. Public relations firms can be expensive, so it’s important that you remain in constant contact with the firm and receive tangible results and reporters.
Should financial professionals DIY their own public relations efforts?
There are many ways to DIY your own public relations, but we find the thing many professionals struggle with is having enough time in the day to run a business, follow-up on leads and then grow a brand.
Public relations involves hours of behind-the-scenes work to research reporters, topics, and individual markets. Pitches must be crafted to be relevant, timely, and accurate if they hope to be read and make the news. We take on all of that work so our financial professionals can focus on what they know best while still benefiting from the exposure that public relations bring.
Should financial professionals focus on local or national media?
We always recommend a combination of both local and national media – but depending on the professional’s specific location, it can be hard to earn local media in large cities. This is especially true in cities like New York or Los Angeles, where most news outlets already have a go-to financial celebrity, are saturated with hard news, or charge for features. If a financial professional is experiencing these issues, we can explore similar, smaller markets nearby.
Why should financial professionals keep an open mind with public relations tactics?
Everyone wants to be in The Wall Street Journal, and while we would love to make that dream come true for all of our professionals, each news outlet carries weight that is important in building credibility behind a brand. Unlike advertising, where the financial professional has complete control of the messaging, public relations requires you to keep an open mind on the available opportunities.
Some outlets, like U.S. News & World Report, get syndicated out to other networks. Meaning one feature in U.S. News & World Report could also be published in additional outlets like MSN Money, Yahoo! and others. This essentially multiplies the reader base and gets a company’s name in front of countless new eyes.
While a majority of financial professionals like to talk about annuities and life insurance, there is a need for the everyday, basic finance tips as well. Everyday Americans who may be concerned about life insurance could also worried about affording their children’s summer camp this year. Each topic is important and could potentially help a reader.
How can financial professionals modify their tone to each outlet they speak with?
Each outlet has a different base of readers. The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Barron’s skew towards high-net-worth individuals, while U.S. News & World Report, Bankrate and others tend to be every day, blue-collar workers.
It’s important to know the audience of these outlets and modify your tone accordingly. Most readers don’t want financial jargon, they want concepts that they can understand and apply to their own financial lives.
Before doing an interview, make sure to look into the outlet and get a feel for the tones and topics they cover in their own articles.
How can financial professionals navigate compliance departments?
Financial professionals should have an open and honest conversation with their compliance department about their plans and hopes with public relations. Each compliance department is different and will be able to outline their rules regarding being featured in the media and what the professional is allowed to say.
How can financial professionals make an impression in their interviews?
Being interviewed for a news feature is a great opportunity, but doing the interview well could open you up for many opportunities down the road with that reporter. It’s important to be knowledgeable and make a good impression so reporters will keep asking for your advice.
To make a good impression, make sure you’re taking the time to research your topic beforehand. Write down your main points and supporting opinions so you’re prepared going into the interview. Don’t be nervous, reporters are friendly people who are just trying to get the facts for their stories. It’s important to stay on topic and not turn every conversation into a sales pitch.
If a reporter asks a question that you aren’t knowledgeable on or do not wish to answer, you can say so. If ever in doubt, stop talking.
More about M&O Marketing
M&O Marketing was founded in metro Detroit in 1976. As the oldest and longest-standing independent marketing organization in the fixed annuity industry, the company serves independent financial professionals nationwide.