From the November 2009 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

How to showcase your retirement planning expertise

Establishing a profile in the local and national media as an authority on all things retirement planning can build credibility and generate interest among prospective clients. However, securing positive, high-impact coverage requires a carefully designed strategy. Andrew Silver, director of public relations for National Planning Holdings, Inc., believes the following 10 tips can improve your chances of getting positive media coverage.

Leverage your B/D's expertise - Contact your broker/dealer to determine the type of media relations support they offer. Support can range from conceptual advice to a full-blown PR campaign.

Know your audience - ?Determine which local reporters cover which issues related to financial and retirement planning and keep track of their work. When you're ready to pitch a story to a reporter, citing recent coverage shows the journalist that you take their work seriously.

Develop key messages for each media opportunity - Key messages are the foundation of all effective communication, both written and verbal. Develop, review and rehearse your talking points before the interview. Rehearsing your key messages will help you stay focused and on-topic during your conversation with the reporter.

Be responsive - The news industry runs on a tight schedule. Return calls and e-mails promptly, or the reporter will contact another source.

Realize that everything you say is "on the record"- ?Even if you preface a response with "off the record," your comments are fair game. If you don't want to see it in print, don't say it.

Be an expert, not a salesperson - When contacting a reporter with a story idea, focus on big picture trends and issues that draw attention to an underlying problem. Rather than trying to directly promote your practice, provide commentary that shows how you are addressing the problem at hand.

Avoid speculation - When you speculate on a topic or event, the reporter could misunderstand and take your words as fact. If you don't know the answer to a question or are uncomfortable answering it, say so.

Don't be afraid to pass on an opportunity - ?Before agreeing to the interview, make sure you have something to add to the conversation. Put yourself in the news for the right reasons, not because you want coverage at any cost.

Follow up - After the article is published, contact the reporter to provide feedback. Let them know you are an accessible source and are open to participating in future interviews on similar topics.

Share your success - ?Whether your firm is mentioned in a local or national publication, it's always worth sharing positive media coverage with clients and prospects. Most news organizations will offer you the option of purchasing reprints. Provided you obtain the required prior compliance approvals, article reprints can potentially be used as mailers, posted on your Web site or displayed in your office.

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