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1. Remember to be a Resource, Not a Walking Advertisement
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The first step toward building relationships with media is realizing that journalists are not there to promote your company! They exist because their audience (readers, viewers, listeners) exist, so make sure your message is informative and compelling. For example, if it’s towards the end of the year, consider developing messaging around end of year investments for tax-planning purposes, a seasonal topic that should resonate with a public audience. Be informative, not promotional.
2. Start Local
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Starting with local journalists is helpful because they’re often not as inundated with national topics, and because they understand the importance of providing value to their audiences. This is especially true if you’re an individual or company serving a specific region, as highly local coverage often generates inquiries, or leads, from potential clients. Set a goal of emailing one journalist per week, perhaps a personal finance reporter with the daily paper or an AM radio host, and offering to get together for coffee (socially distanced, of course) or a phone call to share your experience.
3. Self-Publishing to Build Credibility
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Got a lot to say? Start a blog on your website, work through any necessary compliance processes, and start publishing your own content. Once again, focus less on promoting your business and more on providing educational value to audiences. Choose specific keywords, such as “tips for investing in REITs” or “how to evaluate mutual funds,” and craft pieces around these topics. It will make them more searchable on Google and elsewhere, meaning journalists and the general public are more likely to find your work.
4. Put Yourself Out There
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Probably the most challenging goal on this list, but putting yourself out there and speaking on/to breaking news is often how to achieve major media visibility, such as on television or in a national newspaper. When stories break, journalists need sources, and if you’re comfortable putting yourself out there, opportunities abound. For example, when markets reports are released, email your growing list of journalists with a few thoughts/insights on the topic and why it’s important, and see if they have follow up questions. Many times, you may end up contributing content or insight to a journalist who doesn’t end up using it, but they’ll certainly keep you in mind for next time.
5. Think Outside the Box
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As mentioned above, putting yourself out there can generate instantaneous media results, as can thinking outside the box. Try to tackle topics and ideas creatively, not just be establishing talking points like most other spokespeople. Angles matter. In 2015/2016 an index fund sponsor published a report on what President Trump’s inheritance would look like if he had just stuck it in an index fund and never invested anywhere. It was a harmless, simple media campaign – and it worked. Google the topic now, and first results are returned from Fortune, Bloomberg and many others. Regardless of your political bias, it’s an interesting angle that worked for the company who pursued it.