Summer Sales

The dog days of August may be the best time to promote your practice

It's summer, and many on Wall Street have left for Europe or the Hamptons. Let's face it, the old quote, “Sell in May and go away,” was prophetic this year. But as an investment advisor you are missing a chance to promote your business and show your knowledge to the investing public if you decide to take a break this season. Forget about the sunscreen, it's time to get some ink (and air).

Now is easier than at any other time of the year to be a guest on a financial network like Bloomberg TV or CNBC. Investment pros are away, but as the saying goes, “The show must go on.” The financial markets are open for business, deals are getting made and money is changing hands. The financial press needs sources, whether it's for a Wall Street Journal article on a stock that's moving or as a guest on TV to talk about the summer doldrums in the markets. Why not get your name out there now while the getting is good?

Get Face Time

Often, over the years, I've had a hard time getting a client an interview on TV, but August has been a great month. Last year I was able to get the CFO of a real estate company on CNBC. He had just launched a new REIT that was unusual in its cost structure.

He was on for five minutes talking about the new REIT, and it was like an advertisement, but free. He got to talk to his target audience, some 200,000 investors and investment professionals. So, forget about the vacation, now is the time to attract new business. Take that vacation in September when Wall Street is back in front of their trading terminals and the kids are in school.

See Your Name in Print

Byline articles, like this one, are another great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. Many local and trade publications accept articles from outside experts. Why not write one? Publications are short of help in the summer — their staff members are taking vacations. Now is a great opportunity to offer an article. It will ease their work burden and get you some media exposure.

If writing is not your strong point, see what issues in your field are already being covered in the media. Are you an expert in one of these areas? Do you see the coverage in the press and believe that another point of view is missing? Attach yourself to a story that already exists. Call the reporter and politely explain what's lacking and offer your opinion based on experience. Ask for a one-on-one interview. Turning conventional wisdom upside down is controversial and will get you noticed.

Be sure to check editorial calendars of publications. This is a trick of the public-relations trade. It's a lot easier to decide what and when to write if you know when publications will be covering certain topics. Most publications post their editorial calendars on their Web sites (look under “media kit” or “advertising information”).

Once you've been able to get some ink, don't let it sit there on your desk. Make it work for you. Get reprints of articles. Send them to existing and potential clients. The best source of business is through referrals. It's easier to send a press clip to a client and ask for them to pass it along than to ask directly for a referral.

It's easy to say, “Hey it's summer, and I want to take it easy.” But don't miss an opportunity to pick up some clients and market share while the competition is at the beach.

Writer's BIO: William Bongiorno is president of Blue Chip Public Relations, a PR firm that specializes in serving financial companies. His new CD, Financial Public Relations 101 is available through bluechippr.com.

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