Written by: Kirsten Plonner Over the past several months, I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with some of the coolest people in the independent wealth management space. From Pershing INSITE to Joel Bruckenstein’s T3 Advisor to client launches that created great news buzz, I was honored to be among some of the best and brightest – from advisors to fintech pioneers.Whenever I would mention FiComm and PR, the response was always the same: “we *love* PR.” As you can imagine, we were delighted to hear this, as we *love* PR too! But then the next breath would continue: press releases are great!The latter sentence always caused me to take a pause before saying, “Actually Public Relations is more than just press releases . It’s about building credibility using storytelling, and enhancing your image through a carefully crafted media strategy, including stories in publications, social media, influencer relations…”The response: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s great – when can I do a press release?”This response is actually nothing new or surprising. While a press release is but one of many tools in the PR toolkit, it is commonly the most popular and easily identified. But what many financial professionals are still coming around to is that while a press release is a very handy, important component, it is a building block in a much larger strategy that helps businesses get its good word out using the media and influencers as third-party validators.As a former producer at CNBC, I would get calls All. The. Time. from PR folk (much like my present self) pitching their clients’ services or thought leadership to use in our news stories. Although sources were plentiful, what wasn’t readily available was why their clients were relevant for the stories of the day — and how their voice provided a unique perspective that added value to the story that wasn’t already there.For those who could mold their own story into the ongoing news cycle in a way that was timely and relevant, they were PR gold. These were the sources that I would routinely go back to come on the air – because they were going to inform *my* audience watching CNBC why what they had to say was going to help them finetune their investments, mitigate risk in their portfolios or just understand what the heck was going on in a typical day in the stock market. And because they understood that it wasn’t about them, but about how they can provide direction that will help others.Related: 4 Questions to Ask About Your Prospective PR Firm Related: What If You Found Out You Were Really Just a Ghost All Along? This is what PR is: differentiating companies’ own brands and offerings so that the media and target audience alike will see the value because it provides a solution to their everyday problems. Or lifts the veil on an aspect of their business that the target just can’t crack the code on – or don’t have the skill, will or time to do so themselves.PR is about establishing credibility as an industry thought leader – someone who comes to the table with solutions that are positioned with clients and prospects in mind. And pointing out an area of the industry that no one else is talking about or has yet to address.PR is about providing solutions – and then backing up your own story with your relevant experience and insight, whether it be anonymous client insights, data from your businesses interactions or experience dealing with the situation at hand. The kind of insight that no one else can offer, but you.Public relations is just that. Stay tuned for more posts on what else PR is — and isn’t.