In the first installment of our Financial Advisor’s Guide to Local Media Exposure blog series, we explored how financial advisors can build their brands by becoming newsmakers. Whether you want to publicize industry accolades, new hires, a new office, professional mentorship programs, charitable work or other notable news, it’s critical to target the right journalists.
Finding the right media targets for your news can help you gain exposure to new audiences. But it requires some legwork. The first step is to spend time reading local publications to identify the reporters and editors who are likely to be receptive.
Do Your Research
To create a target list of journalists, start by reading publications in your city or region that regularly cover topics related to businesses like yours. Take a look at newspapers, business journals, newsletters and blogs.
Keep in mind that media outlets each have their own focus. For example, while local blogs (such as Patch.com), newspapers and magazines may cover all types of news, a weekly business journal will focus exclusively on business news. However, you may find that a glossy, lifestyle-oriented magazine might be a good place to seek coverage for your latest philanthropic endeavor.
Carefully reading the types of articles each outlet publishes and getting a feel for different reporters’ beats can help you share the right news with the right people.
Find Contact Information
So, now that you’ve identified your target journalists, how do you obtain their contact information?
While many publications have a “Contact Us” page on their website, not all of them provide contact information for specific journalists. In these cases, call their main number and ask for the editor or reporter you’d like to reach. If the journalist is unavailable, ask the receptionist to provide you with contact information for the news desk.
There are other ways to connect with local journalists, both in person and digitally. When out and about at community gatherings, make it a point to introduce yourself to local reporters and editors. Follow and connect with them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, and start engaging with them by sharing their articles and liking their posts.
Create an Email Pitch Letter
Once you have a reporter’s or editor’s email address, write a concise note that explains the newsworthiness of the announcement. Include an eye-catching subject line.
The email should address the journalist by name, refer to recent articles, if relevant, and clearly state the key points of your news. Close the note by offering to provide further information or grant an interview. If you’re sharing a press release, paste it in after your signature, and make sure your signature includes your complete contact information.
Note that outlets differ in the types of information they like to receive. For example, when pitching to a daily newspaper, business journal or local magazine, it’s appropriate to send a story idea, press release or both. When pitching to a blog or weekly community newspaper — which are often sparsely staffed — you many want to send a full written story for publication based on your press release. Don’t forget to include photos when relevant.
If the journalist does not respond, follow up 24 hours later with a brief message. If you’re still getting no response, you can try following up gently one last time, but don’t reach out more than three times. You’re trying to forge valuable relationships, not pester.
Nail an Interview
For particularly significant news, a publication may want to interview you. Before setting up a phone call or in-person interview, prepare talking points with key messages you want to convey.
You can do this by creating a practice Q&A with potential questions a reporter may ask; this is your chance to prepare for any challenging or sticky questions.
Developing relationships with reporters and editors at local publications is a great way to garner attention for your news and raise awareness of your brand in the community.
An important part of being a newsmaker is having insightful ideas to share. Watch this space for the third installment of this series, which will focus on thought leadership and how to become a content creator.
To learn more about how HighTower can help advisors leverage the local media, download our guidebook for gaining local PR exposure or contact our marketing support consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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