Four Keys For Garnering And Maintaining Positive Media Coverage For RIAs

RIAs Can Gain Positive Media Coverage By Developing Angles, Providing News Hooks, Sharing Views On Trends And Enlivening The Story
Sally Cates, Managing Director, PR & Communications, Dynasty Financial Partners
Sally Cates, Managing Director, PR & Communications, Dynasty Financial Partners

In scenarios I’ve seen play out time and again for the independent RIAs in and outside our network, positive media coverage can provide a significant boost to your financial advisory brand.

Coverage that highlights your firm’s capabilities and intellectual capital establishes credibility for your financial advisory practice and business acumen. In turn, it engenders positive talking points for engaging with a vital audience consisting of clients, prospects, job candidates and potential M&A partners.

The Importance Of Media

Whether featuring your firm as a primary subject or you as an expert providing context and color to issues of importance to your audience, media coverage has wonderful staying power. In the old days, this was linked to the durability of hard-copy formats kept as browsing material in professional settings – think of the magazines in reception areas. Nowadays, the long-term reach of media coverage is vastly extended by search engines and social media.

Meanwhile, wealth management has come into focus as a subject of importance to the national financial press, regional business journals and industry publications. This mirrors a growing awareness among consumers of the need for prudent investing strategies and dynamic financial planning.

Working With The Media

It can take several attempts to get a reporter to write a story about your practice. Falling flat with the first few pitches is no reason to give up, however. Consider reaching out to reporters with insights on stories they’ve already published. If, by your efforts, they come to see you as a ready source of information they can use, they’ll start reaching out.

While the return on investment for media coverage is much better than an ad buy, being in contact with the media involves risk. A wealth executive I know once bragged to a reporter about how an investment firm had overpaid for an equity position in his firm. When these quotes were included in an article, the investment firm got wind of the wealth manager’s boasting, and he had to do some serious damage control.

Consider reaching out to reporters with insights on stories they’ve already published.

In another case, a breakaway broker was being interviewed when he let slip a complaint about his former firm. In that instant, an article slated to be a feature on his new firm turned into an attack on the old one. At best, it was a missed opportunity.

Four Tips For Positive Coverage

The following tips are intended to smooth over the challenges of courting media attention while maximizing favorable attention from journalists and readers alike:

Reporters are always looking for an angle, a “hook,” so come prepared with one. Instead of proposing an article about financial planning for business owners, consider putting a human-interest spin on it, like, for example, how business-owner clients tend to neglect succession planning in times of stress, like a recession or the recent pandemic. This can put a new spin on an article that puts you front and center, in a story about the importance of financial planning.

A topical news hook can be powerful.

A topical news hook can be even more powerful. In-house or industry milestones, holidays, current news tie-ins and compelling economic, financial and societal trends all make excellent fodder. I know an advisor who told a reporter about his work with clients on helping in-need families secure Wi-Fi at home so their kids can do their homework. The reporter turned that into a local news feature, to the immediate benefit of the underlying charitable organization.

Share your views on financial and economic trends. Without betraying confidentiality, share what your clients are interested in or worried about. Journalists, who generally perceive high net worth investors – especially those advised by boutique RIAs – as smart-money players, will take note. During the pandemic, one advisor in our network who works with frontline healthcare executives was asked how these clients were coping. The advisor replied that many wanted to explore downsizing strategies to secure less stressful positions once the pandemic was over. The article emphasized her expertise and empathy in positive ways.

Provide “color,” by enlivening your story with anecdotes, statistics and illustrative details. For example, one advisor bolstered his niche by telling a reporter – in passing – about his work with winemakers in the Napa Valley. Another advisor generated new leads after telling a journalist about his expertise in helping fast-food franchisees, coverage that highlighted his fairly detailed knowledge of that business.

Though challenging, media coverage can build credibility, attract clients and extend your firm’s reach. Offer compelling angles, share client concerns and provide colorful details to maximize positive impact. But remember, media relationships come with risks, so tread carefully.

Sally Cates is Managing Director, PR & Communications at Dynasty Financial Partners.

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