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In the Public Eye

Publicity is a proven technique for building your business.

By Martin R. Baird

Most people aren’t publicity seekers, but agents and advisors who are serious about growing their practices should try this time-tested method for marketing themselves. Generating publicity about your business is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to get the word out to thousands of prospective clients.

Media relations—specifically getting your name into newspaper and magazine stories and on radio and television—is a great way to strengthen your credibility with existing clients and prospects, and that can translate into new business. Existing clients will feel even more comfortable with you because of your media exposure and will continue to give you business. And when potential clients repeatedly see your name or company in the media, they come to realize that you are a tried-and-true professional and will remember you when they need the services you offer.

Media coverage helps you build your business because it isn’t advertising, and people know it. They’re savvy enough to realize you had to be deemed worthy by editors and reporters to get yourself the publicity. Customers and prospects want to do business with someone they respect and trust, and your publicity will create a level of comfort they will find quite attractive.

When you introduce a new product or service, bring it to the media’s attention. If there’s breaking news about the industry and you have a point of view that’s newsworthy—and that clients and prospects would appreciate knowing—contact the media and share it. Become a media source. The media is in the business of informing people, and you can help them do their job.

Successful media relations will generate a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings you can leverage into a powerful marketing tool.

At the same time, you generate an awareness of you and your company that money can’t buy.

If you have the talent, write and mail press releases, send out story ideas and pick up the phone and do interviews. If not, take it to the next level, hire a public relations professional to write releases and arrange interviews for you. With all the economic furor now going on, this is a great time to throw your hat into the media ring.

Generating media-friendly ideas
If you want the media to cover your story or idea, you must stand out from the crowd; be different. For example, the media gets press releases every day about the struggling economy, so that is not hot news. What if you took a contrary viewpoint and explained how the current economy can be good for finances?

Next, talk about what is timely. Corporate America is on another layoff binge. You could do a press release on “The Five Keys to Getting Through a Layoff.” This press release would be a great way to give people information on how to manage their finances before, during and after a layoff.

There are endless sources for getting good story ideas. The next time you shop for groceries or visit a bookstore, browse the magazine racks and scan the headlines and cover stories. Ideas will leap out at you. Then invest some time strategizing how to get the media’s attention so they position you as the expert. If you don’t feel confident enough on your own, hiring a public relations professional is money well invested.

Let your voice be heard
Most people have an unfounded notion that they don’t have a chance in the world of getting on a television or radio talk show. Think again because there are professionals just like you who appear on these shows again and again.

How do they do it? Time constraints often force producers and assignment editors to go with the interview candidate they can schedule the fastest. This is usually the person who has sent them press releases and presented them with good story ideas. These people who are happily drafting press releases actively seek out interviews by creating top-of-mind awareness that makes it easy for the media to find them.

The payoff
Successful media relations will generate a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings and radio and television transcripts that you can leverage into a powerful marketing tool. Show a prospect some samples. Frame some of the most significant stories and hang them in your office. Photocopy these clips and send them as a direct-mail piece to your clients. Include them in your brochures.

Nothing to fear
One of the most important lessons in media relations is to not let the word media scare you off. Overcome any fear or doubts about the press, and you will be amazed at the wonderful things media relations can do for your practice over time.

Martin R. Baird is an author and president of Advisor Marketing, a Phoenix-based firm that helps financial advisors improve their marketing methods and increase revenues. Contact him at 480-991-6421 or visit www.advisormarketing.com.

 


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