Individual financial planners can outscore bigger competitors and gain market share with publicity. The key to doing it well: don't mimic the big guys and gals. Do it smartly, but on your scale. How? Here are eight rules:
1. Don't invest in expensive packaging. Skip the fancy, slick-looking press kits and media materials. You can't compete with the big boys on costly gimmickry. And no financial planner's press kit ever approached the eye appeal of what luxury goods purveyors and the entertainment industry churn out every day. So don't try. Instead, concentrate on making the insides ? your story ? strong. Which leads to?.
2. Spend your money on brainpower. Good ideas are the raw ingredient of good publicity and good media stories. They are what separate the winners from the wannabes. Find and invest in the talent that can conceive and develop them. Smart people who consistently generate good ideas are the most valued individuals in the PR industry. So?
3. When a good idea comes along, push it to the hilt. A truly winning story idea is not only rare ? it's often luck and good timing that make it soar. When it comes, it can generate massive, nationwide publicity. If you're lucky enough to hitch onto one, don't let it go ? with enough variations and persistence, it can last for months. Go with it!
4. Set clear objectives, and make sure someone is accountable for results. Sounds logical, but PR has a way of "falling though the cracks" in small firms. Don't let it!
5. Measure results. In publicity, the result is what lands in the press, and what happens to business as a result. Results are not measured in the poundage of press materials your PR person ships off to the media.
6. Concentrate on what you know, not who you know. Don't get overconfident if you're lucky to have the numbers of some reporters are in your Rolodex-and beware the PR person who claims that their "contacts" alone can get you a story. Whether a reporter has talked to you once or a thousand times, all that she will respond to in the end is a great story.
7. Avoid costly distribution systems. Videos, CDs, satellites ? there are many high-tech ways to reach the media. Most of them benefit large companies more. A good story, a phone, and a brief e-mail are what a small firm's PR person should use most.
8. Leverage results. When a good story lands, reprint it ? and market the heck out of it. Send it to clients, prospects, everyone. Alert your clients about it via e-mail. Frame and mount it in the reception area. Reading it in that day's paper is just the start ? it can work for you for years if you keep distributing it.
Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit http://www.MediaImpact.biz or call 212-243-8383.