Make your PR placement work for you
By Alana Schofield - Kohl
Securing an interview with your major daily newspaper or network affiliate is a great accomplishment in its own right. Becoming a trusted media resource is no easy feat. But, once the interview is confirmed, what should you do to get the word out to have your prospects and clients tune in? And, once you’ve made your debut, how can you leverage your newfound fame to pack the biggest punch? After all, there is long-term value in each single PR placement.
The power of PR
Public relations is a credibility booster and image enhancer. Not all people can successfully secure an opportunity and then deliver a powerful interview. The viewers, readers, or listeners of your media placement will learn from your expertise and consider you the authority on the topic. The more placements secured, the more authoritative you become on the topics delivered — at least in the eyes of the public.
Public relations can generate immediate exposure and draw attention to an important and timely topic. Those that have an immediate need and then view your placement “live” may very well contact your firm to assist in their matter. For that reason alone, it is extremely important to have a Web site if you are implementing a PR strategy. Give your prospective clients a place to turn to where they can learn more about you and contact you in their time of need. Remember, a phone number is not as memorable or as convenient as a URL.
For those prospective clients that did not see your placement, it is your responsibility to find them and share with them your expertise. The logic of a prospective client reviewing your PR placement(s) for the first time is this: The media has already turned to this advisor as an expert. They trust him/her, and defer to their expertise on this topic. So, why would I doubt what they are saying? In many cases, a lot of stock is placed on media reports and on those whom the media uses to illustrate, educate and provide resolution to a problem.
Leverage your placement before the placement
Seeing it “live” provides a great punch. Be sure to alert your network prospects and clients, colleagues, friends and family to your pending fame. Consider these ideas for getting the word out:
- Contact your database: If you have a lead time to when your story will be running, send an e-mail to your database asking them to tune in, turn on, or pick up your upcoming interview. Use it as an opportunity to reinforce your expertise with your current clients, and as an opportunity to create awareness of the issue to your prospective clients. A “call to action” is never a bad thing.
- Post it: Add it to your Web site or social network profile for Internet viewers and friends to see; state it in your workshops for your current prospects to take note; hang it on your office door so that your office neighbors can know (and refer); put it on a flyer and pass it out in a highly-impacted area (for example, the parking lot of a downsizing firm if the story is on corporate downsizing and 401(k)s). Whatever your chosen strategies, just be sure to get the word out.
- Pass it on: Tell your wife, neighbors, staff, vendors, partners, and whomever you have contact with on a regular basis, and ask them to pass it on. Forward your e-mail announcement to them as well, and ask them to pass it along to their network. The power of referral is strong.
First, continue on your road as a media resource. Multiple placements in a variety of outlets only add to your visibility and credibility, and make you a highly-sought-after expert that anyone in the community would be proud to call their financial advisor. However, leveraging your single placement can pack a punch as well.
Leverage your placement — after it’s placed
- Tell your database (again). It’s okay if they missed your initial media appearance, because you may have a link to the site where they can still view your placement. Be sure to send an e-mail to your prospective and current clients and offer your services in case they are experiencing this problem in their own lives. Be sure to also ask them to forward the e-mail to anyone whom they think could benefit from this information. If you do print newsletters, include a copy of the article in the newsletter, or at least mention when and where you were featured, the topic you discussed, and how they can access this information. (Typically by calling your office for a free copy or visiting your Web site.)
- Post it. Be sure you add your media mention to your Web site. This is the simplest, most effective way to ensure your media placement lives on forever. You can draw attention to your latest media interview from your home page, and once you’ve secured a few placements, consider having a section of your site solely dedicated to your media exposure. New prospects visiting your site will revel in the fact that their potential advisor is a local celebrity and confirmed authority on financial topics. If you’re Internet savvy, add the video or audio file to your social networking pages; consider creating a You Tube channel and adding it there; fill in your LinkedIn network or even tweet your expertise with a link to your site. Getting the word out will draw them in! Of course, always be sure you have the permission of the media outlet.
- Tell the world. It’s one thing to tell your prospective client about your success as a media resource, but to actually show it is even more powerful. A nicely framed article hung in your office is a great conversational piece, and should be placed in a high-traffic area to show off your success. Pictures (worth a thousand words) of you on television or in a radio studio are also very powerful in demonstrating that you are the authority on financial and retirement planning topics.
- Pass it out! Again, with permission from the outlet, make as many copies of the print placement as you think you can share. Include it in your workshop folder, new client folder, newsletter, etc. Use it when looking to network with like-minded and complementary professionals, such as CPAs and attorneys, in your community. Market to your database with a copy of the clip, along with a handwritten note. Casually reference the clip when meeting with prospective clients about a similar topic.
- Welcome your guests with a video of you. A wildly successful method for leveraging your PR is to integrate your accomplishments into the down time of waiting. Loop your television clips, print placements with pull quotes, and even photo and audio montages from a radio interview into a video. Play this video at a workshop as guests are entering the room, or in your lobby where clients wait to be seen. This “entertainment” will help the time pass and give the prospective client little choice but to watch you in the media.
- Hold the audio files. Take your television or radio interviews and dub the audio files to your on-hold music with your phone system. If you have a really great print piece, have a talented (and compelling) actor read a few select quotes from the article, as well as state the who, what, when, where and why of the publication.
- Add your success to your other written materials. Your biography should now include that you’re an accomplished media resource, columnist, author, consumer advocate, are regularly seen on News Channel 3, heard on WWIN-AM each Saturday, and so on. If you are being introduced in a public setting, such as a workshop or other speaking opportunity, have the moderator introduce you by including your media accomplishments.