Three ways to generate effective PR
By Brian Lucius
Gradient Positioning Systems, LLC
PR is not cheap and it's not easy, but it's very effective. Here are three ways to generate effective PR.
Recently, we helped an adviser land the cover of a national financial industry magazine. Many of my colleagues and other advisers I work with have been featured on Fox Business News, Forbes, WSJ, radio shows and industry trade publications. Over the last few years, we have focused hours, energy and thousands of dollars towards our company's and our advisers' public relations campaigns.
In my experience, PR is not cheap, it’s not easy, but it is very effective. So what does it take to build an effective PR campaign? I have always found there are three ways an adviser can get media attention.
A PR campaign is a great way to position yourself as a true expert in your community. Generating PR for you and your practice isn’t something that will make your phone ring instantly, but it is something that will help build trust and credibility with prospects and clients. There are three ways to generate PR.
Do the legwork
This is for the advisers who have more time than money. The media will not track you down and ask you for the story, but if you are motivated and consistent in your PR approach, you will see results. There are two steps to this: what to send and who to send to.
The first is what to send.
You’ll need to formulate a press release every month. Press releases are typically 200 to 400 words that cover the story or topic you want to feature. It can be anything from how to deduct annuity losses on your tax return to a new employee or award your practice won.
The key here is to stay relevant to today’s hottest topics. Roth conversions are old news in the media, but writing something on the rising oil prices and how that might affect the average retiree is something they’re more likely to pick up.
Next consider who to send it to.
Building a targeted media list is an invaluable tool for most businesses. The best way to build your list is to carefully watch and track media publications and shows and to identify reporters and producers in your area who would be interested in your story.
Do something good
Community outreach is hands down one of the most effective ways of generating PR. You may not make the news talking about the benefits of FIAs or stretch IRAs, but you have to remember, being on TV means you are forever, “As seen on KSTP.” This is also a great way to start seminars or appointments by letting clients know your involvement in giving back to your community. You may still need to notify the press about your community involvement, but the press will typically run stories like this more often than someone pitching their business. Don’t feel bad about promoting your good deeds. Remember, whoever Publishers Clearing House gives that 3-foot check to can’t actually cash it, but Publishers Clearing House can certainly use it for PR.
The one thing I will caution is to make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. If you are getting involved in outreach just to gain PR, this is not the approach for you.
Cut the check
If you don’t want to chase down the press yourself, let your checkbook do it. PR firms specialize in pitching stories and creating buzz. They also have long-standing relationships with the media and know the quirks and expectations of each producer/editor.
Here is what you can expect from a good PR firm. They will have you sign a contract and guarantees are typically hard to come by. You can’t just write a check and appear on Fox Business next week. They’ll start you off with online articles or radio to build your PR portfolio. From there, you’ll generally need three to five local TV appearances (this may require media training) before you can take your highlight reel to national TV.
How you choose to go about your PR approach will be unique to you. If you commit, stay consistent and become friendly with the media, you will be effective in the PR game.
Even after all this work you have put into your PR spot, you’ll still need to create seminar handouts, send letters to clients and feature all of this on your website. Remember, PR is not a one-time appearance. Better off, it’s something that stays with you forever.