Several years ago, an advisor friend pulled me aside at a conference. “This Harold Evensky guy; I don’t get it,” he said. “I looked at his Form ADV and he doesn’t have that much money under management, so how come he gets quoted all over the place?”
I explained to my friend—and I’ve relayed this story several times in speaking to advisors and their partners about how to get media coverage—that Harold Evensky understands the media. It’s not just that he’s smart or quotable, but he understands—perhaps intuitively—how to become a trusted source for reporters. If you call him, he answers the phone or returns your call immediately. He asks what your deadline is. He listens to your questions politely and replies succinctly and with intelligence. He also reads publications like this one, so he’s likely to know who you are and who you represent when you call for an interview. As a knowledgeable reader, he also sends editors (at least this one) notes about what he’s read in your publication. His notes are sometimes complimentary, but they’re just as often chiding when we get something wrong, and he’ll supply supporting, or contradictory, information about the articles we write. There’s one other thing he does when asked a question: He won’t comment on something unless he actually has something intelligent to say.
When I mentioned this conversation to Evensky in a December interview, he laughed before responding in his trademark way. “I realized a long time ago that I couldn’t compete with the Northern Trusts” of the world in their marketing and advertising budgets. Instead, he said, “I need media and media needs me.”