I was a financial journalist for many years before starting HB Publishing. You know how you feel when telemarketers call you just after you’ve sat down for dinner? Well that’s how I used to feel when a rookie PR person or fledgling entrepreneur would pitch me a completely off base story—typically when I was crashing on deadline.
I know this may come as a shocker, but the financial media does NOT exist to promote your firm or your personal brand. Time-pressed journalists are charged with informing their readers/viewers about the most important news, trends and best practices that impact their readers every day. Do their readers really care if you just opened a branch office, hired a new partner or now offer a new service? Not likely. It might be a big deal for you and your team, but is that news going to make the journalist’s readers more successful, more efficient or better informed? As President Biden would say: “C’mon man!”
But, these are the kinds of questions you (and your agency) should be asking yourself before you pitch. So, how do some advisors keep getting quoted, published and cited by the popular press?
Hint: they’re not buying their way in or taking out big advertising schedules in those media. Instead, they’ve learned to be a “Go-To” guy or gal for busy journalists—a reliable source the journalist can count on time and time again to explain complex topics to their audience in concise soundbites—without dumbing it down or pitching their firm’s services.
That’s actually the easy part.
The hard part is getting on the journalist’s radar in the first place. You can hire an expensive PR firm; you can spend lots of money blasting out press releases on a wire service. But “spray and pray PR” rarely works.
Instead, you and your team have to do some old-fashioned legwork. It doesn’t mean making cold calls (or e-blasts). You simply have to isolate 10-20 media outlets in which you’d most like to appear. Hint: these are the outlets where your clients, prospects and strategic partners spend their time keeping abreast of your industry. Next, familiarize yourself with the specific editors, writers, producers and bloggers who are most often covering the areas that map to your expertise.
Next reach out by phone, email, snail mail and social media with a brief, but carefully targeted “pitch” that shows you are familiar with the writer’s work (i.e. their beat) and why featuring you or your firm in an upcoming article can shed new light on a topic they frequently cover—or should be covering. It doesn’t hurt to cite references to recent stories the journalist has written about a topic on which you’re an expert.
Hint: Use a few of those keywords in the subject line of your pitch email.
Hint2: Don’t give up if your first attempt goes answered. You may need follow up three or four time before getting a response.
Better yet, let the journalist know you have research, presentations or articles that could enhance their coverage of a topic and to consider you a source the next time they cover that subject. While it’s hard to get journalists to have lunch, drinks or golf, if they like your angle, they will be receptive to a Zoom call, or at least an email exchange to discuss further.
Finally, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call. More often than not you’ll get a voice mail. That’s fine. Even with many journalists working from home, they check their voicemail regularly because heck, they don’t get many legit voice messages anymore, and when they do, it’s usually important.
For more about getting media attention that matters, see our recent posts:
- Don’t ‘Pitch’ Stories to the Media; Be a Problem Solver
- Getting Quoted in The Journal Is Not Impossible, But……
Newsrooms are a lot thinner than they used to be and the news cycle moves faster. While journalists can be cranky at times, they’re still human. They love a good story—and even better—a good story teller. You’re a pro. Why shouldn’t you be on of them?
What’s your take? I’d like to hear from you.
#practicemanagement, #wealthmanagement, #PR, #credibilitymarketing, #thoughtleadership