Want Media Exposure? Make Yourself Available!

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Leveraging the power of media to grow your business is an investment that can pay attractive returns.

A few column inches in a newspaper or a three-minute interview on your local TV or radio station offer a rewarding opportunity to get your company name and services noticed by your target audiences. More importantly, by being quoted in the media, whether via print, web or broadcast, gives you and your firm the most powerful third-party endorsements. However, just like with any other type of investment, your strong commitment is required.

Making yourself readily available for an interview is crucial for getting quoted. Because of the enduring crisis affecting the editorial industry, the workload of reporters and editors has grown exponentially forcing them to work on stringent deadlines. Consequently, my recommendation to you is to make it easy for journalists to interview you, as they do not have the time to track you down. Most importantly, don’t forget that reporters can effortlessly reach out to many other advisers willing to bend backward to make themselves available and get that media exposure for themselves and their practices.

While I encourage you to read my blog post, Turn an Interview into a Memorable Experience, to learn how to prepare for an interview. Here a few suggestions on how to make yourself available to the media:

  • When you pitch your story idea or insights to a reporter, provide at least two different phone numbers where you can easily be reached, as well as your email. If you actively monitor your social media accounts, you can offer your Twitter or Facebook handle and ask to be contacted through these platforms.
  • After you’ve reached out to the media, alert your office staff that any calls from the media must be promptly and appropriately handled.
  • Instruct your receptionist and/or associates to unfailingly take note of the reporter’s name and phone number, the topic(s) she’s interested to talk to you about, and of utmost importance the reporter’s deadline, prior to routing to you her call.
  • Make sure that your outgoing messages on both your landline and mobile phone clearly state an alternative number where a reporter can reach you.
  • When you expect a call from a reporter, frequently check your voicemail and email, even after hours. Especially following an interview, a journalist may call you back to pose additional questions, obtain clarifications or to conduct a quick fact check prior to filing her article.
  • From your very first interaction with any reporter, ensure that his name and contacts are entered into your database, so that when you need them, they are promptly accessible.

Questions and comments are always welcome, as well as sharing of your personal experience with the media.


Claudio Pannunzio

President
i-Impact Group Inc.
Greenwich, Conn.

6 thoughts on “Want Media Exposure? Make Yourself Available!

  1. Thank you for this, Claudio. Can you provide suggestions as to how an advisor should go about developing a relationship with a local reporter(s) and how to become a trusted resource for them? Do we need a PR firm to assist in this capacity?

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  2. Jeremy, thank for your comments. Here are a few short suggestions:

    1. Reporters are in the business of keeping the public constantly informed, especially during difficult financial times. Advisors can help the media by taking a clear position on a topic that they feel strongly about, help them better understand the problem and most importantly offer a solution.

    2. Breaking financial news provide great opportunities for advisors to contact the appropriate reporter at their local newspaper, radio and cable station. Let the journalist know that the advisor hase a newsworthy point of view and that she can offer an easy-to-understand recap of how the event will affect people and/or businesses. This will help you establish an ongoing relationship with the reporter and down the road volunteer potentially open the doors for writing a weekly or monthly column or be a guest on a radio or cable TV show on personal finance. Local newspaper and trade magazines operate with limited staff and always welcome outside authors.

    3. When an advisor is not overly busy working with clients, should get busy creating content. A byline article (an article written by an expert rather than a journalist) enables an advisor to position herself as an expert and trusted source. It allows an advisor to demonstrate his expertise, focus on client’s challenges and showcase his ability to offer proven solutions. In addition, it is a powerful marketing piece that can be mailed to current and prospective clients, posted on an advisor’s Web site, or sent to existing clients as referral tool.

    Reaching out and engaging the media can be a time consuming process. However, it can be done, as long as the firm has the internal human resources to allocate to this process. Traditionally, hiring an experienced PR person or agency will enable a firm to reach out in a more effective manner to a large swath of media. Ultimately, this will prove to be the best investment that will generate for a firm two equally important ROIs – Return on Investment and Return on Image.

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  3. Claudio –
    Yes! I am a particular fan of #3, especially since Advisors can repurpose content for their own list of clients and prospects. Content may seem time consuming to develop, but it “has legs” and Advisors will be surprised to see how many times they draw upon just one article they write in multiple ways. Good return on investment for sure.

    While compliance may not always approve, Twitter is filled with reporters you can follow (and hopefully be followed) and has served me well in gaining exposure with the media. Also, I often recommend that advisors try responding to relevant pitches through HARO (helpareporter.com). This works particularly well if you have a defined niche and can stand out from the crowd. You can also see the metro area where the story will run (if applicable) and select according to where you operate. Of course, you do have to write a compelling pitch email, so it takes some practice (or a resource who can do it for you or train you).

    Appreciate the insights!
    Kristin

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  4. Kristin, the problem with HARO, as well as with any other media pitch, is that often the reporter has a very short deadline and, by the time an advisor, responds it is way too late. The other is that, unless a pitch is concise and engaging, it is easy disregarded. As you say, having a pitch written by someone who knows the rules of media engagement, would be the most viable and effective solution.
    I’m grateful for your input!
    Claudio

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    • By no means is HARO the be all end all PR solution – but it does give a sense of what reporters are writing about which can be valuable especially if you are are newer to implementing a PR strategy. Being familiar with the way reporters think helps whether you are going it alone or working with a PR firm. And, yes, your timing has to be right on with this particular resource. I have my assistant peruse the listings for me a few days a week and call out any exceptional opportunities if they are still “live.” But you still have to grab the attention of the journalist. This art of media engagement is not to be taken lightly for sure.

      Cheers!
      Kristin

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  5. Thank you both for your insight…very valuable. Claudio, you mention “rules of media engagement”. Might you be able to comment further on this? What specifically should an advisor be doing to stand out to a reporter?

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