How to get your name in the papers (and what to do next)
40 conversations with personal finance journalists in 40 days. That wasn’t the goal at the start of 2019, it’s just how the first few weeks of this year panned out.
Each time I have a conversation or an email exchange with a journalist, I make a note in a spreadsheet. This is one of the metrics we measure at Informed Choice as part of our monthly targets dashboard.
In a typical year, I speak to journalists on more than 250 occasions.
These conversations tend to result in around 80 mentions for the business in national or consumer press publications. The balance are quotes in trade publications.
Financial Planners should be talking to journalists, helping them with their stories and getting their names quoted on a regular basis.
Doing this as part of your wider marketing strategy is great for your credibility. It helps to reinforce your status as a trusted expert with both existing and prospective clients.
Conversations with personal finance journalists for their stories are also fantastic in terms of inspiring content for your marketing. Each conversation can (and should) form the basis of a blog/article of your own and a series of social media posts.
But with the demise of the Unbiased ‘Blue Book’ as a tool to connect personal finance journalists with independent financial advisers, where do you start and how do you now position yourself as a media friendly adviser?
Position yourself as a media adviser
Before you start connecting with personal finance journalists and offering your input, there’s a few basics to get in place first.
Make sure your website profile is up to date, with a current photograph. It needs to include a description of your authority (qualifications and experience), areas of relevant expertise and some easy ways to get in touch.
I would go as far as suggesting your create a ‘media centre’ page on your website, with all of the resources a journalist might need to work with you. This page should include links to download high resolution photographs.
Make yourself available to journalists. I’ve never had a conversation with a journalist who wasn’t on a deadline for the story they are writing. If you want to add press and PR to the mix, you need to be accessible and able to respond promptly to requests.
From there, you should update your social media profiles, using the same high quality photo on each and include a bio description that positions you as an expert.
With these building blocks in place, it’s time to start ‘connecting’ (a horrible term, I know) with personal finance journalists.
Following journalists on Twitter is a good place to start. Assuming they follow you back, this is a great way to share your opinions on topical issues. More than a handful of the stories I’ve been quoted in to date this year originated when I posted something on Twitter; in some cases a bit of a rant about poor service from a provider or something a client had told me.
You can go a step further on Twitter and search for hashtags including #journorequest. In my experience, this infrequently bears fruit for personal finance journalists requests, but it’s worth keeping on eye on regardless.
During all of this, do your best to stay informed about the latest industry news and start to form opinions on the story of the day.
When asked for your opinion, make sure you share an opinion! Responding to a request for a comment with a bland ‘I agree’ is very unlikely to result in your name appearing in the story.
A few more tips
Don’t be pushy when dealing with journalists. Your goal here is not for them to print your phone number, website address or promotional message in their article. In fact, this rarely ever happens. Don’t ask for it!
Similarly, don’t get upset if your comment doesn’t appear in the article at all! Your comments can get ‘spiked’ for a variety of reasons, many of them beyond the control of the journalist.
I was upset the first time this happened to me – an involved piece of technical research for a tabloid newspaper – but quickly moved on and used that work to write up a blog post instead. On one occasion, with a national newspaper, a feature including photos taken by a professional photographer they sent down to my office were never used. These things happen.
Accept that your comments won’t come across exactly as you expect them to on every single occasion. I wouldn’t go as far as calling this being ‘misquoted’, but sometimes a message is lost in translation or the editing process. Don’t sweat it when this happens. Certainly don’t request a correction!
When you get quoted
You’ve spoken to the journalist, shared your pearls of wisdom, and a few select comments appear in print (or online). Congratulations! You’re a media adviser now!
It’s important not to leave things here.
The first thing you should do is share a link to the story across your full range of social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a minimum.
When doing this, I recommend creating a simple quote card in Canva. Copy and paste part of your comments from the article and drop it into your template. It will look something like this:
With a template already setup, this takes a minute or two. You can then share the quote card along with your social media post, reinforcing your brand and making it more likely people will engage with the post.
When sharing your comment online, consider tagging the publication and journalist in your social media post, along with any other commentators from the story. This makes it more likely your post will be seen, liked and shared.
Sharing the story in this way also helps the publication and journalist in question, as it results in more clicks for the online version of their story. If they have helped you by promoting your name in the press, you shoud help them by sharing a link to their story.
In addition to sharing your quoted comment on social media, you could take your 15 seconds of fame a step further by turning it into a blog post for your website.
It might also feature in your email newsletter to clients.
The key point here is; don’t assume that your target audience will have seen you quoted in the press. You need to make sure they see it by sharing it widely, directing your existing and prospective clients to the article.
Some final thoughts
There’s only a handful of financial planners who are regularly quoted in the trade and national press. I know journalists are desperate to speak to different advisers, so there’s clearly an opportunity here for IFAs who want to add press and PR to the mix.
There’s huge opportunity in positioning yourself as a media friendly adviser, who is easy to reach and can supply concise, opinionated comments with authority.
It’s likely to take years to establish a large network of journalists who get to know, like and trust what you have to say, but it’s well worth the time to get started on this mission today.