Cultivate Media Contacts to Increase Your Visibility
One of my favorite real-life success stories in
Winning Clients in a Wired World came from Lynn McIntire, a financial advisor in Dallas, TX. In it, Lynn relates how she applied and used ideas I'd presented on cultivating centers of influence to built solid relationships with
two media outlets in Dallas. Her efforts led to multiple appearances on local television, at a cost of less than $50 out of pocket and some time brainstorming ideas and setting up a contact system. (You can read her story on pages 108 and
109 of Winning Clients.)
Here's a roadmap you can follow to identify and begin nurturing media contacts in your market.
Most important: stick with it. Work the process and provide a regular flow of ideas your audience could find useful. Success won't happen overnight but it will come if you get your message out consistently. Just ask Lynn McIntire.
Make a list of specific outlets or reporters you want to target. If you're not sure who to focus on, visit
NewsLink. It provides a free list of newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio stations in most areas. Google's Directory section of "
News Directories" is another place to consult.
Use a checklist strategy (like the one described in my
March tip) to scan your selected outlets' Web sites and learn who covers your topic(s) – personal finance, investing, economics, or whatever your specialty is. Enter the contact information you find on reporters assigned to
those beats in your database. (
AddressGrabber can help transfer that information directly and will save you a lot of time if you uncover more than a handful of names.)
Consider investing in Bacon's
MediaListsOnline to save yourself research time. For about $100, Bacon's will let you tailor-make a list of all the contacts you're likely to need… right over the Web, using criteria you select (outlets, type of contact, beat
assignments, geographic market). You can purchase and download your list and import it directly into your contact management or address book program without ever touching a piece of paper.
Google each reporter's name to see what background you can piece together about them. You might gain insight on their work and discover some connection that makes contacting them easier (similar background, mutual interests,
past work experience, volunteer involvement, etc.).
Develop a roster of story idea suggestions. For help with themes, check each outlet's Web site for an editorial calendar. Good recurring windows of opportunity for advisors are changes in interest rates, tax-related investing
issues, avoiding online investment scams, year-end budgeting issues, education planning, and graduation and preparing for the job search. No doubt you'll come up with more.
If you need a jump start brainstorming find a calendar of officially recognized days and dates. Chase's Calendar of Events is one good source. It lists thousands of holidays and other celebrations. Buy it at
Amazon and use it to generate creative story ideas. Writers and
reporters are always looking for a fresh angle on the news.
Plan to circulate two to five ideas to your media list each month by email. Send out a simple summary of story pitches. Two books that include some great examples are Master the Media to Attract Your Ideal Clients by
Derrick Kinney and Get Media Smart! by
Beth Chapman. If you're looking for a way to delegate responsibility for distributing those messages,
Google's Directory offers a long list of resources that can do the job for you (look under
press release services).
Consider subscribing to an email broadcasting service. While it's possible to send your messages directly from your desktop or through a specialty vendor, providers like
Constant Contact let you distribute your communiques without tying up your own computer and they'll tell you who's actually opening them and when, so you can follow up in a timely way. Pricing varies based on message volume.
Be responsive when contacted. Always ask reporters if they are on deadline and what they are working on. Buy yourself a couple of minutes by asking if you can call them back as soon as you wrap up what you're working on. Take
that time to organize your thoughts and talking points. (A
knowledge journal is a great place to keep those, by the way.)
When interviewed, listen carefully to the question being asked and keep your answers brief. Don't ramble and don't try to share everything you know. Responding concisely will make the reporter's job of converting notes to
copy easier, will increase your chances of being quoted accurately, and will improve your odds of being contacted again another call down the road.
If you've had success cultivating and working with the media, lots of other Tips readers would love to hear about it.
Email or call me (202.364.6913) to share what you've done. It may be worth a signed copy of Winning Clients and some quick suggestions on other approaches you might use.
Ways The Gregory Group Can Help You
Training and Development Programs
We design and deliver presentations, trainings and coaching programs that achieve tangible, long-lasting productivity gains… and
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We've helped companies across the industry blend proprietary initiatives (products, services, programs, Web tools, and technology) with practical, actionable strategies that improve results right
If you're planning a sales conference, due diligence presentation, product road show, or employee training,
email or call me at 202.364.6913 to explore how to achieve maximum ROI on your dollars spent.
Here's just a sampling of comments from recent attendees at a few of those presentations (full summaries of audience feedback are available on request)…
From the Big I's Agents Council for Technology meeting in Orlando, FL earlier this week ("Inspiring Agents to Implement Technology and Business Process Improvements")
"Right to the heart -- super presentation!"
From IMCA's Spring Professional Development Conference in April in Palm Desert, CA ("Making the Web Work for Consultants")
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We're Testing ProductivityU!
I'm pleased to share that we have begun testing
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On Thursday, June 9th I'll be delivering the
morning keynote presentation for Investment Executive magazine's
Advisor Technology Expo at the Toronto Convention Center. Later that day, I'll be presenting a breakout on "Delivering Value Added Service to Advisors" for managers, investment product providers and technology companies attending the
show. If you're in the Toronto area, you can visit the ATX site to get tickets.
My "Making the Web Work for Consultants" presentation at the Investment Management Consultants Association's Spring Conference in Palm Desert was so well received that IMCA has invited me to deliver it again at their fall meeting in St.
Louis. I'll be speaking there on Tuesday, September 20th. You can read more on the conference at IMCA's
Closer to home, I'll be doing a roundtable presentation for the
National Capital Area chapter of the Financial Planning Association here in DC on September 8th. My first presentation as a consultant seven years ago was to this group so I'm looking forward to renewing some old acquaintances. (If
you play a role in planning meeting content for an association or chapter, give me a call… I offer substantial discounts to industry groups.)
Those dates are in addition to meeting presentations for corporate clients including John Hancock, Legg Mason, and Right Management.
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