Would you like to have the power and authority of the press proclaim you as the leading financial-planning expert in your local area? Who wouldn't? Having the media inform their readers or listeners that you are the personal financial-planning authority is very valuable to your business.
Most advisors rely on various forms of marketing to reach prospects. Although marketing is important, many prospects are wary of it because they know they are being sold to, and many assume that they are being manipulated.
But there are ways to stand above the crowd. You can "out position" your competitors by making yourself the sought-after advisor because of your expertise. Best of all, your program to out position the competition can cost little or nothing.
The art of out positioning
Pick up your local newspaper or business magazine and you'll notice that almost every article has quotes from industry experts the reporter is interviewing. A few articles feature extensive interviews with industry "leaders" who are quoted and identified as experts.
When you are quoted and interviewed by the news media, all suspicion about, and questioning of, your agenda disappears. You've gone from a marketer or quasi-marketer to an undisputed expert. You simply cannot buy this kind of exposure. In reputable news publications, it simply isn't for sale.
But you can earn it. The individuals quoted and interviewed didn't just get lucky. They worked hard developing contacts over time and building a relationship with the reporter. You can do the same by instituting a plan of action that gradually leads to your being recognized as the authority. Although it takes time, you can establish your reputation and begin seeing results in as little as a year. Here are some steps to put you on the right path:
Get expert credibility. Begin writing and publishing articles and giving speeches. You need to give reporters and freelance writers something they recognize as being from an expert. A list of articles you have written, along with the names of the publications in which they were published, and the speeches you have given, form the basis for this recognition.
Get noticed. Create a media kit and get it in the hands of anyone in the news media who might be interested in personal financial-planning or investing topics. A basic media kit need only have a one-page biography and a reproducible photograph of yourself, a list of articles you have published and speeches you have given, one or two samples of published articles and a list of the topics the reporter can rely on you for comment, interviews and information. Send a hard copy or electronic kit to every reporter, freelance writer and editor who may have reason to cover any aspect of the industry.
Get connected. Follow up with each reporter, freelancer and editor to make sure they received your kit and find out if they have any questions or current information needs. Let them know you are highly accessible. Many will be working on very tight deadlines and will need access to you on very short notice. Give them your cell phone number, where you can be reached anytime—day or night.
Keep them updated. During your initial conversation, ask their permission to keep them informed of your activities. Then send them updates of your article and speech lists, important press releases about yourself and your business—and especially anything happening in the industry or the economy that should be of interest to them. Become their eyes and ears.
Paul McCord is the author of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals (John Wiley & Sons, 2007) and an authority on lead generation, referral selling and personal marketing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.