You build a lot of credibility writing articles for local publications. Many publications are hungry for quality content that their readers will read. When you have this opportunity, you get chance to get in front of hundreds or even thousands of qualified prospects. You demonstrate your expertise and build credibility over time. Plus people can get to know you over time as you blend in personal stories which bring investment and economic principles to life.
So where should you look? First look at your local newspaper. Depending on the size of your area, your paper may or may not have an investment writer. Is there a financial columnist? If not, call the editor and ask to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility. If there’s already a columnist, do you offer a different perspective? Maybe there’s room for a second columnist who offers a different investment philosophy. Or just focuses on pre-retirees and retirees.
Should you expect to get paid something? Probably not unless it’s a large and successful publication and they can afford it. You don’t really care because you’re getting free advertising in a format with much more credibility than a paid ad.
How should you prepare for meeting the editor? Of course you need to bring in a package of your marketing materials so he can learn a bit about you. You need to have a few columns already so the editor can judge your writing ability.
How should you write? You must write in a lively, engaging, and informative way because a boring column won’t get read. My number one suggestion in this area, is to write the way you talk. Remember you’re writing to individual readers not a classroom. Don’t use industry jargon, help readers understand industry jargon and improve their investment and planning abilities.
So what should you write about? Let’s assume you’ve been asked to write a weekly column. How could you possibly fill 52 weeks of columns? There are lots of ways.
First, you ask your readers to email their questions to you. You answer reader questions every other week to fill 26 weeks. You write a seven-part series on “The 7 Most Common Retirement Planning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them.” This gets you down to 19 weeks left. You write one column per quarter on taxes which gets you down to 15 weeks. One column per month would be an economic and investment update. You only need 3 columns to fill out the year. You could do a column on “Retirement Resolutions” in January, a “Financial Independence” column in July, and a “Back To School” column every September on the importance of saving for your children’s college education. And you’d have 52 opportunities to get in front of prospective clients and build your reputation as knowledgeable, plain-spoken, and down-to-earth.
What if you can’t get a column in your local paper? Look at the various “Senior Times” publications in your area along with regional magazines. Any publication will allow you to promote yourself as the “retirement columnist for the Senior Times.” Over time, you’ll attract new prospects and assure existing clients that you’re an expert in your field.
Yesterday I wrote about connecting current news events to your products or services using press releases. You read that Congress changes the federal estate tax laws so you write a press release quoting this story and promoting your upcoming estate planning seminar. With a little effort you can get some free coverage in your local paper.
Sometimes you don’t have to do any work at all.
Unless you were cut-off from the world yesterday doing your tax returns, you know a massive volcano erupted in Iceland. You may have read that the massive ash clouds floated east to Europe and caused many air flights to be canceled. Some travelers were stuck in New York City because they couldn’t fly home to Europe.
One of them was the Prime Minister of Norway. Now read this article from the NY Daily News:
Volcanic ash from Iceland strands Norway’s prime minister in NYC airport, so he governs via iPad
Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stotlenberg is again grounded in New York as volcanic ash from Iceland’s temperamental volcano continues to close European airspace, but that didn’t stop him from doing the daily business of Norwegian government from his iPad in an airport lounge.
Stoltenberg, who traveled from Oslo to participate in President Obama’s nuclear summit, was stranded along with many thousands of others and will probably be waiting for at least another day before flights can resume, authorities said Friday.
The FAA is working to move some of the many affected flights from the US to international destinations by rerouting them around the huge cloud of ash.
Stoltenberg’s press secretary told CNN that the prime minister has been running his government from Apple’s tablet.
I found this story on www.DrudgeReport.com which had 27,027,155 visits in the past 24 hours. So it was seen by many, many people who never would have looked at the New York Daily News. So this is fabulous publicity for a product many say is an expensive toy.
Who knows maybe the Tea Party activitists will use the iPad as a symbol of limited government…who needs fancy offices when a Prime Minister can run the government from an airport waiting area?
The Drudge Report also linked to this story: School-issued laptops took thousands of secret images… Buried down deep in the story the reporter mentioned that the laptop in question is an Apple MacBook. Thankfully for Apple’s sake, it wasn’t mentioned in the headline.
So look for ways to publicize your products and services by linking them with current news. And you just might land on the Drudge Report!
The advantages of paid advertisements include you can guarantee you’ll be in the paper on the day you want and your control your message. The big disadvantage of paid advertisements is that they cost money! Another disadvantage of paid advertisements is that the readers, listeners, and viewers all know it’s a commercial or an ad.
How do you get unpaid publicity? By submitting press releases which talk about your company and it’s products and services. Now if you ONLY write about yourself, your company and it’s products and services, the “news” will be boring and no news editor will write about it.
Your press releases can result in news articles in two different cases.
First, your company comes out with something that is truly new. For a financial advisor, perhaps it’s a community seminar on a topic all seniors are interested in. This could be on estate planning or dealing with long-term care expenses. You might get mentioned especially if it’s a slow news day.
I wrote a press release for an advisor who held a grand opening for his new building. I knew the write reporter to get it to and followed up with an invitation to the grand opening. The reporter appeared and brought a camera. I gave him a tour and he met the building owner for an interview. Thankfully no one drowned in river and the stock market didn’t crash. So we got front page coverage including a picture of me and the new building! A couple local TV stations sent a camera crew and reporter so we made it on two TV stations 11 o’clock news. This is coverage that money just can’t buy. Done with press releases and some personal follow-up.
The other way to get publicity is to tie you and your company to a local or national story of interest. When Michael Jackson died, the news coverage mentioned he had a living trust. You could promote your expertise in this area to local reporters. You might get called for a quote. Or you could announce your next living trust seminar and tie it back to the news story.
Of course, press releases have two main disadvantages. The paper may not print anything at all. This happens all the time so your time is largely wasted. You can put a “Press Release” page on your website and post all your press releases. Your press releases will help your rankings on Google and give your readers more information about your company.
Or they include the information and change the story to fit the editor’s desired angle. Or they might make a typographical error.Once, I sent a press release for a marketing seminar I was holding at 7 in the morning. The paper printed my press release word-for-word with one little exception. It showed the time as 7 pm. Guess what? I held the seminar at 7 pm because the paper was the main form of publicity.
When should you submit your press release? For newspapers, try to fax or email it in a week before your event. Television works on a shorter news cycle so 3 days in advance is plenty.
Like so much of marketing, you need to make a consistent, sustained, and purposeful effort with press releases. Set a goal of sending out one press release per month. You’ll find it becomes easier as you do it more often. You’ll get known to news editors and this can result in them calling you. This might result in a new client or two and will help you establish yourself as an expert in your field.