We knew this week’s blog was going to be about PR. It’s just been on our minds.
And, yes, we could have written something ourselves. But, who better to ask to share their thoughts than the foremost expert in financial services PR, and founder of Newspage, Dominic Hiatt?
Over to the inimitable Dom…
I’ll cut to the chase. PR for IFAs is pretty damn easy.
PR agencies will say it isn’t, of course, as they want to charge you a grand a day, but it is.
Well, to start with, you’re in a sector where there are news stories breaking 24/7.
Each day, the FTSE 100 moves up or down, every other day macroeconomic data — think inflation, interest rates, the labour market — is published that influences the markets and can affect your clients.
Each month or quarter, the Office for National Statistics publishes reports on amounts being saved into ISAs and pensions. Again, a chance for IFAs to comment in the local, national, and trade media.
From a news perspective, financial services is a phenomenally easy sector to ‘newsjack’ (fancy PR speak for hijacking the news agenda).
Here’s an example. When inflation rose to 9% a week or so back, the AJ Bells and Hargreaves Lansdowns of the world were lobbing out pithy comments to journalists talking about the impact it will have on savers and investors.
Boom, they’re on the BBC or in The Times. Textbook newsjacking. Maximum return, minimum effort.
Yes, it takes a bit of time to draft a few paragraphs and send them to local, national, and trade journalists, but 30 mins of effort can get you into the FT. If you ping the comments to local radio stations, it can get you on the airwaves, too. It’s not bad ROI.
Now let’s talk about what PR doesn’t do.
I’ve lost track of the amount of times clients have been on the front page of the Evening Standard or page 2 of the FT or Torygraph, and they complain that it didn’t result in any calls.
Yes, calls and clients can come off the back of you being quoted in the FT, Mail Online, Gloucester Citizen or Yorkshire Evening Post, but as a rule they won’t, at least not immediately. That’s not the purpose of PR. PR is ultimately about three things:
If you’re quoted in the media as an expert in your specific field, it creates instant credibility. Subconsciously, people conclude: “Wait a minute, if the BBC are using that person as an expert, they really must know what they’re on about.” And if they search for you online (which they will) and find you being quoted in countless major media outlets, that’s a great first impression.
If people see you regularly being quoted in the media, it doesn’t just generate credibility but creates a trust in your brand that advertising never can. This is why big financial services companies pay PR agencies tons of cash each month. Financial services is all about trust and being quoted in major media outlets generates it in spades.
Traffic and Google juice
Being featured in the media doesn’t just expose your company to more eyeballs, it can also send more traffic to your website, especially if the publication in question links to you. ‘Backlinks’ can significantly enhance your website’s SEO, or ‘Google juice’.
Oh, and here’s a top tip few know: when you get mentioned in the press, you should put that on your website along with a link to the article. Outbound links from your website to a bigger, more reputable site tell Google that your site is credible and therefore it will boost your site’s ranking. In the words of Michael Caine, “not a lot of people know that”.
Anyway, you should give newsjacking a try. It’s quick and cost-effective. One tip, though: don’t sit on the fence. Journalists will quote you far more regularly if you don’t pull your punches. The more edgy and controversial (within reason) your comments, the better.
Equally, you can drive stories in the media, too, which are exclusively about you and your company. Times you can do this include:
- You’ve hit a milestone, e.g. your business has been going 10 years. There’s a good chance your local rag will run that
- You’ve got data that shows interesting trends, e.g. more people shifting into equity funds and out of bond funds. This could fly with the nationals and local media
- You’ve got a fascinating client story: journalists love case studies, as they bring financial advice to life.
- You’ve hired a new senior member of staff (the nationals won’t cover it but the local and trade media might)
- You’ve opened an office in a new town or city — again, local media lap this stuff up
- You’ve got a really strong opinion on something topical — that could be a comment piece in a trade, local newspaper or even on a national newspaper website.
Don’t think you need to send a formal press release, either. That’s a load of old tosh. Just email a journalist at the title you want to be in with the basic facts about your story and see what happens. You’ll be surprised.
Of course, if you’re completely new to PR, and want a bit of handholding for no cost, create a free Newspage and start responding to our News Alerts.
We’ll have you in the media as sure as eggs is eggs.
We monitor the news 24/7 and the moment stories break that are relevant to IFAs, send them News Alerts that they can respond to.
We have hundreds of IFAs on the platform already, but can take thousands.
So, what are you waiting for?
Sign up over at our website.