Do you want to create a marketing machine that brings you high-net-worth prospects and clients every week?
Then stop throwing your money away on annoying tactics. When you promote your own radio show or dinner seminar or send an expensive direct mail piece, you become a pest. These tools may have attracted clients 10 years ago, but today there are too many reps trying these same methods and you are likely to be lost in the noise.
So what's the answer?
Invest instead in something people can never take away; your reputation. Launch a personal publicity program to establish yourself as a credible news source. Embark on a slow, methodical and persuasive process (six to 24 months) of burning your name into the brains of the media's high-net-worth audience.
How is this different than advertising? In my book, advertising is interrupting people from whatever they're doing at the moment to try to get an immediate response to an offer. It's annoying, like having the phone ring every 30 seconds.
Publicity, on the other hand, is using a credible third party to spread your name and fame. Be available for topical interviews, when your local newspaper or, say, CBS MarketWatch needs a reliable source. Every time your name appears in Money or you expound on financial issues on a local news show, the words “authority” and “expertise” pop into people's minds.
How do you harness the power of your local business section or that national financial network to gain instant notoriety? For starters, keep in mind that journalists aren't easily manipulated and resent having their time wasted with inappropriate calls or long, rambling spiels. Then follow these five tips:
- Know who handles pitches
Producers and reporters are busy people on tight deadlines. Respect their time by knowing exactly whom to call — the reporters who cover the securities beat, for example, or perhaps their editor. Get it right the first time around.
- Don't waste time
Present a one-paragraph pitch on a breaking story or trend that you feel is newsworthy, but has not yet been reported. Know the protocol. Does a newsperson want to be pitched via mail, phone, e-mail or fax? Follow the protocol. Media protocol needs to be respected as if they were inscribed on stone tablets handed down from heaven. Don't expect a busy news reporter or editor to spend a lot of time explaining what you have to do.
- Practice media relations
Check in with news contacts regularly. Compliment them on stories you like, and remind them how you can help provide analysis on future stories. That way, you come to mind when they have a breaking news story.
- Don't get labeled as a self-promoter
This is the biggest problem I see wannabe-newsworthy advisors make. Editors and reporters hate self-promoting sources. You can often avoid this label by hooking up with a public relations expert or by legitimately developing a relationship with news people and helping them when they need help, not just when you want ink.
- Understand the subject
It amazes me how simple this is, yet it's usually ignored by an overanxious advisor. Make sure you can explain preferred stock, estate taxes, no-load mutual funds or whatever other subject might be broached in an interview. Otherwise, you'll be written off as unworthy after one conversation.
Above all, take your time. You can't make a name for yourself overnight. Choose your first steps carefully as they'll become invaluable to your future efforts. The payback can be enormous. As clients, associates and prospects take note, your business will grow.
Daryl T. Logullo is the founder of Strategic Impact!, a Boca Raton, Fla., marketing firm. [email protected]