Written by: Dan Callahan
It was not long ago when a public relations program designed at getting your name in front of potential clients was pretty simple: get your name in the local media on a regular basis, do some local charitable work and hang out at your local country club.
Those were the days.
Today, that simple strategy has largely failed. The local media are struggling to compete with the social media that has become the hub of your clients’ lives. And, the totems of financial expertise are shadows of their past lives. Even the holy grail of a story in The Wall Street Journal is less valuable than ever as The Journal itself has moved away from the personal finance stories that would appeal to your potential clients.
So, what do you do to stand out in a world where the once-reliable tactics don’t work anymore?
Be your own media.
That is, use all the online tools that are part of the reason media have lost their place of prominence in the culture to tell your own story to clients and potential clients. It may be a lot easier than you think.
Here are four quick tactics you can use to become your own media to position yourself front and center with your clients:
The digital human interest story of your life
If you aren’t using Facebook to deepen your relationships with your clients, you are missing out on a major opportunity. From a media standpoint, this is the center of your clients’ attention and, as a result, it should be the place to tell them who you are. There’s no compliance worry about bragging about your hunting trip, your kids or the sports teams you are devoted to. This is your chance to be human in a way you could only be in person, and, in turn, to learn who your clients are, what they value and what is happening in their lives and the lives of their families.
Your financial version of Reader’s Digest
The biggest impediment to writing a regular blog is getting the content through compliance. But, if you think of this as an opportunity to use others’ content and curate it for your clients, it becomes a much lighter lift than having to come up with regular opinions. Most of us are consuming a lot of content every day; just take some time each week to gather the best material, put it into a blog and/or an email and educate your clients about the topics you think will help them understand what you do and what’s happening in their accounts. Note: it doesn’t have to be just financial stories: it can also be motivational, inspirational and fun material your clients will look forward to seeing from you.
If ever there was a time to shoot your own video, it is now. The phones we carry, especially if they are late-model iPhones, are capable of high-definition video that can be used to tell quick stories you can email out to your clients. Many advisors are creating video versions of their blogs that go over very well with clients who are more likely to watch a video than read a long opinion piece. The key is to keep it short and focused and make sure the production is good – a tripod to stabilize your phone/camera, good lighting and microphones are all key to this part. You’ll have to script it in order to organize your thoughts, but the more human you appear, the better. As for production, you may have someone in your office who enjoys doing this. If not, find a local production company that will shoot and produce the videos that have the look you want. If you are spending more than $500 apiece to do them, you are probably paying too much for them.
Local radio has been decimated by the podcast, one of the most efficient and convenient ways of consuming content. Your clients listen to them when they work out, in their cars and a lot of other places. Again, opinions can be trickier to get through legal and compliance, but you can use the podcast for a lot of other information like interviews with clients (and potential clients) about their businesses. This one may take a while to build, but it can be one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other advisors.