Get published and acquire expert status
By Ed Morrow
Intl. Assoc. of Registered Financial Consultants
Acquiring expert status isn’t really that difficult; it just takes a little effort and repeated media contact.
You have spent considerable time and money branding yourself and your firm. You have your interview folders set up with a code of ethics, engagement agreements and other forms and certificates ready to give to a prospect or even to an established client. Now you want to start enhancing your reputation in your community as a professional worthy of your clients' trust and investment. How do you build that recognition? How do you go about getting your name in print? Is it difficult? Is it expensive? Will it really enhance your image?
The path to getting published
Start with the basics. It’s all about you. Compile a portfolio of information about yourself, ready to include in the folder you will give to prospects or send to those wanting personal information or interview material. It can also be called a “brag book.” This includes such items as:
- Printed personal brochure
- One-page resume with a photo
- Published article about you
- And later, when you have your name in print, a published article written by you
Expand your writing opportunities. You have read articles by or about other financial professionals. Let’s be honest — it has generally increased your respect for them. Maybe even a touch of jealousy, especially if they got a lot of space and a nice photo as well. Just like your prospects and clients, you have been impressed by their “public persona." Everyone likes to see their name in print. Well, why not you?
These other financial gurus are not just making their presence known in professional magazines. They look to local area media to promote themselves. You can do that just as well.
Build your media list. Start with all the local publications you receive now, separated into two categories: local and professional. The register and the other glossy financial magazines are in the latter category. Your hometown daily newspaper and business tabloid are local, as are publications of local associations. Some city governments publish a newsletter or website and encourage local copy submission. The chamber of commerce in many towns has a newsletter, but of course you have to be a member.
Check the yellow pages. See who is listed in the sections for publishers, magazines, journals and newsletters. You may also find local writers who are well connected. For a modest fee, they might edit your manuscript, suggest some high resolution photo layouts and submit it to a local publisher who looks to them for copy on a regular basis. Do a Google search in your market. Search your subdivision, county, city, etc. This will not take long, and it is very likely you will be surprised with the number that turn up.
Don’t forget electronic media. This includes radio, TV and cable systems as well as local area websites.You should already have a media list with all the titles and contact information stored in your CRM system. If not, you could farm this out to a local journalism student. Check local colleges and universities for students who might like a part-time job within their intended field.
Write and submit copy. Before you send copy, check several issues and get a feel for the length of the articles. Do they print photos in color? Are they high resolution? Is there a particular segment or section of the publication that might suit the services you offer? Check out their website for details on article size and photo information formatting details.
If you have a really good lead for an article, make a courteous call and ask about their customs:
"Ms. Snyder, my name is John Jones and I am a personal financial consultant in the Metropolis area. I really enjoyed the recent article you ran on IRA plans. Many people are confused about which is best — the standard IRA or the Roth IRA. I use a simple formula for this and
I think your readers might benefit from it. Would you be the correct person for me to send the copy to? Would you like it on paper or by email? Would you prefer a Word file or PDF?"
It is not difficult to get printed when you understand that editors are hungry for copy. They need so many pages of editorial text plus photos and they cannot close an issue until they have met that quota. If they ask for 600-1,200 words, do not send them 4,800 words and assume they will cut it down. They won’t! They will pitch it and go with something they can edit quickly.
Will they edit your precious words? Most likely. Every publication has certain styles and they know their audience/readership. One registered financial consultant sent a splendid 5,000-word explanation of estate taxes to a local radio station. He was very upset with what they ran: “Here is news about those huge estate and inheritance taxes You can cut them in half, or maybe completely, according to local financial consultant, Tom Terrific. Call him at Terrific Financial at 888-6666.” The phone number was wrong, but they still received three consumer calls and netted one large client — a marvelous payoff. What it's worth to you
The real value in media exposure is not that a prospect will pick up the phone and call you; it’s that you now have reprints of your published articles to send to prospects, clients and other publishers. You look more professional and you have acquired further credibility.
Your reprints will be read
Suppose your article appeared in a publication that distributed 20,000 copies. Did 20,000 people read your article? No. Chances are good that 10,000 didn’t even open this issue. Four thousand saw your article on their way to another topic that was more exciting. Four thousand thought the topic didn’t apply to them. The remaining read all or part, but none called you. So was this a failure?
No! What you need to do is have your article reprinted. If you have a high resolution scanner, use that. You can even insert your photo if the publication didn’t have space for it. Nice, crisp color copier reprints — especially if on glossy paper — will do quite well. And when you’ve used your supply you can always print more. Save the file!
Prepare a cover letter with three short, two-sentence paragraphs that emphasize the value of your topic. Now you have a letter and an article by you. This can be sent to prospects and clients. This one will be noticed and probably will be read.
The moment they realize you are the “published author,” you have strengthened your image. One day you are plugging away at your computer composing and submitting financial information, the next day your name is in print. You will build a small bank of articles to share.
Remember: Media exposure is a cumulative event. Keep at it consistently and you will become a recognized local expert.
Don’t be a qualified financial consultant waiting to be discovered. Explore your opportunities now. Acquiring expert status isn’t really that difficult; it just takes a little effort and repeated media contact.