Marketing Differentiation: Public Relations

When planning marketing strategies, financial advisors often forget one important element –Public Relations (PR). It’s important to think about this “free” marketing tool up front as it can usually be used to drive the success of all your other efforts. For example, it can help increase attendance to your seminars, get the word out about the book you authored or increase traffic on your website.

PR consists of having an important message to share and getting members of the media excited about it so they want to include you. However, first things first. Here are some Tips to help you get started.

TIP #1: Create a Media File

A well-organized, up-to-date list of your media contacts is vital. The best way is to build a database, or contact file, on your computer that include the names of key publications along with the names and emails of editors or writers to whom you should direct your press kit and press releases. Also include stats about the publication, such as deadlines, format for submissions, etc. For broadcast media, you will need to know the name of the program manager or of a particular show’s host.

To compile your contact file you might approach members of your target market to find out what publications they read along with news or talk hosts they listen to on local radio or television stations.  Once you have this information, the contact information can be found on their website.

TIP #2: Put Together a Powerful Press Kit

Once you have your media list created, it’s time to put together your press kit. A press kit provides information about you, your company and possibly team members. It also includes a press release (Tip #4) and high quality (300 dpi or larger) pictures of each person featured. Remember to put your contact information on each item in case they get separated.

A great attention getter is to create a list of story ideas that you are qualified to write or speak about and offer to write an article for the publication or act as a interview resource

TIP #3: Write an Attention-Getting Press Release

The key to a good press release is it’s catchy title and writing pyramid style. What’s a catchy title? One that doesn’t just promote you or your services. If that’s all you want to do, they’ll want you to purchase advertising space. Instead, determine what topic would interest their audience. Make sure you’ve done enough research not to focus on a topic that has already been covered by them.  If it has, then think up a new twist to presenting it.

If promoting a book you recently authored, send them a copy of the book and a photo of the front cover, then include information about the book in your press release.

For those who haven’t heard of “pyramid style,” it means putting the most important facts at the beginning of your release, working down to the least important being included at the end. End your press release with  ###.

At the bottom of the press release, include a boilerplate – a short description that identifies your company and what it does. The same one can be used in every press release you write.

For a press release template, go to: http://www.ereleases.com/press-release-template/

TIP #4: Nurture Media Relationships

As with everything, developing an effective PR campaign is all about relationships. Once you know who your key contacts are, it’s time to cultivate the relationships. To do this, provide them with everything they are needing for a story. Continue emailing story ideas and invite them to attend seminars and client appreciation events you are sponsoring. Make sure you respond to them as quickly as possible as timeliness is everything. They have deadlines to meet and if you postpone calling them back or are late sending them photos they’ve requested, you may have lost your opportunity for free press and  future ones too.

TIP #5: Prepare for Your Interview

The key to doing a great interview is preparation. Keep a list handy that includes key points and phrases you want to use. If quoting surveys or statistics, make sure you can provide the resource to back it up.

Keep in mind that anything said to a journalist is “on record” and can be used – good or bad.  So be careful what you say and how you say it.  Also bear in mind that you probably won’t see the story before it is published and there is no guarantee it will be published. However, if you are helpful and respectful, you’ll probably be contacted for other stories.

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