For many financial advisers, this is the great break that they’ve been looking for and they can’t wait to get stuck into the opportunity of waxing lyrically about one of their favourite topics. For others, securing a media interview is a prelude to a couple of sleepless nights as they fret and worry about saying the wrong thing and blowing the opportunity.
There really is no need for the latter feelings. Journalists are not out to “get you”. They have a job to do, which is creating interesting and valuable stories and if you play it right, you can be the catalyst to making that happen. So here are a few thoughts on giving yourself the best chance of achieving PR success.
Nurture your contacts
You must start by securing an interview in the first place, and this is no easy feat particularly with a high-profile journalist for a national publication. Of course, using the services of a PR agency is one way to approach this, as these agencies spend their lives building and maintaining relationships with all of the relevant journalists in the different sectors. If you have no relationships with your chosen journalists at all, this is often the best route forwards.
If you have a connection with one of your chosen journalists yourself, maybe as the result of a previous interaction with them, mind and nurture that relationship carefully. You need them for the profile and exposure that you can get from them, and they need you as a source of interesting stories and opinions. It’s a two-way street.
However, there are lots more financial advisers out there than there are good financial journalists, so you need to be prepared to work hard to stand out from the crowd. If you have a subject or an angle that you believe is genuinely of interest to their audience, don’t be afraid to pitch it to them. Think carefully and only pitch ideas that you believe are of interest. This is NOT the time to bombard them with your latest thoughts in the hope that one might stick – they’ll soon get sick of you.
Sounds obvious? But how many times have you heard radio interviews where the person is just not on top of their brief? We’ve all heard these car crash interviews. This can happen too with an interview with a print journalist. Prepare properly, think through the possible questions that you might be asked and consider your answers in advance.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Don’t panic and answer off the top of your head. The journalist is not trying to trip you up, so just say that you’ll check it out and get back to them. And then make sure you do just that.
Think of their audience
The audience is unlikely to be financial professionals who want to hear your technical expertise. Their audience may be elderly or might have little financial knowledge. Speak with them in mind. Yes, you want to demonstrate that you know your subject really well and have confident opinions, but this won’t be achieved by blinding people with science and resorting to industry jargon. No-one will thank you for this, least of all the journalist…
Bring in a bit of colour
Try and help the journalist by bringing in a relevant and related funny story or interesting case study to add some colour to their piece. If you can provide a unique or memorable angle that brings an article to life, that will really help them.
The other way of doing this is by utilising research. Journalist love referring to survey findings as they can quote validated numbers and give their insights into them. Where you have related research, provide it with some of your own insights into the findings.
Then you buy the Sunday papers, and your thoughts are there in all their glory. You’ll probably share this with pride through your social media channels to increase the reach and exposure of your article. And why not, you deserve it!
But don’t forget about the journalist who write the piece. A nice thank you won’t go amiss, along with an offer to stay in touch, which circles back to nurturing your relationship with them. Also connect with and follow them on social media if they are there – some of them are active, others are not. If it makes sense and genuinely adds something to a conversation, don’t be afraid to give your tuppence worth on some of their posts.
Good PR exposure from independent journalists and publications is a valuable asset for your financial advice business. Go about it in a structured and considered way.