Financial advisors are often their own worst enemies when it comes to fostering long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the media. Here are their biggest mistakes:
1. Non-responsiveness. “I’ll return the call when I can.” Not responding to the media is the kiss of death for a reporter who is always on deadline. The first person to respond to a reporter’s call is likely to get placement closer to the top of the story, making it less likely their comments will be cut if space is tight.
2. Prevaricating. “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll make something up.” When a reporter finds out that your comments are not accurate, you will be eliminated from their source list forever.
3. Failure to refer or offer help with hypotheticals. “Sorry, I can’t help you,” is not an acceptable answer. You can help because of your extensive network of colleagues, and your willingness to run hypotheticals can save the reporter hours of time and earn you a gold star on the source list.
4. Harassment. “I’ll just keep calling until the reporter says yes.” At a maximum, send an e-mail with a story idea, and make one follow-up phone call. Generally, a reporter will call you right away if they can use your ideas right away. Otherwise, they will file what they can use, and discard the rest. Send short story idea e-mails once a month. Your ideas and the reporter’s assignments will eventually match up if you are careful to appeal to the publication’s readers. Never send a story idea to a publication you have not read.
5. Failure to redirect the question. “I know this reporter has the concept all wrong.” It is essential to tell a reporter what is wrong with an initial question, and what the “real” issues are that should be discussed. Never let a reporter walk into possible ridicule or error by not discussing why the question, as posed, simply does not make sense.–Lisbeth Wiley Chapman
Lisbeth Wiley Chapman is author of “Get Media Smart! Build Your Reputation, Referrals & Revenues With Media Marketing.” She can be reached through www.inkair.com.