All the awful news about the markets can be good news for brokers who want to garner a little bit of publicity. TV producers and print reporters are hungry for analysis. That's where you come in. Media exposure gives you instant recognition, an implicit third-party endorsement and major differentiation. In some cases, it will even bring you high-net-worth clients. Here are some tips on how to establish yourself as a hot commodity on the business television circuit.
Be extra available
Even if you're swamped with daily work, phone calls or service issues, “make yourself as available to the media as you are to your clients,” says Bob Cadogan, an independent publicist in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Once you're on, simply drawing inferences and explaining to the media what investors could expect in the future based on history can be a winning strategy, Cadogan adds.
Spot a trend and communicate it
Insights into the bear market, 529 savings plans, congressional accounting reform — all are hot topics in business and financial news. “Today there is simply more financial news than ever before,” says PBS's Nightly Business Report anchor and producer Jeff Yastine. “And with the daily news on the markets comes tighter deadlines.” Journalists need experts on their speed-dial — and that expert can be you. Watch for key dates for economic and financial news. Alert the media three weeks ahead of time so they will know who to call when the numbers are released. Take note: housing starts, Fed meetings and corporate earnings announcements all are good areas to watch. Don't ever predict; instead, communicate the relevance of the data and suggest how local news may want to cover the story.
Expand your media relations skills
Perhaps the best thing you can do in a bear market is build your relationship with journalists. But don't be a pest. Be a help. Steve Pomeranz, a financial planner and fee-only advisor in Boca Raton, Fla., started by doing just that. He proposed story ideas to reporters; then, he started getting unsolicited telephone calls from the press. One recent article in The Palm Beach Post featured Pomeranz, his photo and his market forecast for the rest of 2002, along with those of other local experts. “It's a strategy everyone should have,” he says. “Figure out your unique message, be consistent with reporters and, above all, be helpful. They'll come to value you.”
Offer follow-up critiques on stories
If you read an article or see a news show that you agree with, let the reporter or producer know. By the same token, if a reporter or producer airs a segment or interviews a guest that you completely disagree with, point that out, too. But use tact and consideration. Gene Bloch, CNNfn assignment editor, says, “I love feedback on any of our shows. Someone who has something to tell me needs to be tasteful, concise and have 100 percent knowledge of what we do here.” Bloch oversees dozens of story ideas and hears hundreds of pitches daily for CNNfn shows like Lou Dobbs Moneyline, Market Call and others.
Daryl T. Logullo is the founder of Strategic Impact!, a Boca Raton, Fla., marketing firm. strategic-impact.com