There are endless ways to get your name, your brand and your company out there and recognized. But time and money are of the essence, and knowing which outlet is most worth your time and money is invaluable. Some advisors swear by the seminar, others are lucky enough to bask in a sea of high-net-worth referrals, while a few have caught on to the seemingly endless gratification of the media. Although using the media for branding’s sake can take both time and money, advisors who use it swear by it. But what can the media do that, say, seminars cannot?
In a word, Alan Haft, president of 5th Avenue Financial in Boca Raton, Fla., says the difference is credibility. “The attention certainly helps differentiate you among thousands of other advisors that never had their name in the media. This all leads to brand awareness, better client retention and most importantly, easier progress towards attracting new business,” he says.
The advisor perspective
Credibility. What better reason to investigate getting your name or your company into the media? But don’t be fooled – this process takes time. You need to think about how you will establish relationships with the media, what media outlets you will pursue, if you will write for a local newspaper or how you can brand yourself as a financial expert.
Haft, who frequently publishes a local financial column and writes articles for local news sources, says that he uses all forms of media – whatever it takes to brand his name.
“It all funnels toward the ultimate goal: to get your name out there, your thoughts heard. And as a result, people start gravitating toward looking at you for answers,” Haft says.
For advisors who are interested in getting into the media but are unsure how to go about it, Haft suggests you start writing. This, he says, is the quickest way to penetrate the media. How accurate this statement is can be left up to debate, but there is no doubt that writing a column for a local newspaper is a great place to be seen and heard, assuming two things: You have a clear and relevant message, and you can convey that message through quality writing.
There are services available that can do the writing for you or, essentially, recycle used content and stamp your name on it, and there are plenty of advisors out there who use these services to save time. But, nothing can take the place of original material. With writing services or newsletter services, there could be hundreds of advisors or professionals out there using the exact same article as their own. If you truly want to stand out of the crowd and deliver a message that is unique, the only way is to write your own work based on your knowledge and experience. This, Haft says, is critical to long-term success.
Haft, although a purist at heart when it comes to writing, has no problem seeking help to get the writing gigs or the television ops. To establish contacts and opportunities, while managing your time, he recommends hiring a publicist.
“But be forewarned,” he says. “You need to have patience, and you may even go through a few publicists before finding one that works hard enough to see results. This stuff takes time and obviously money, but in the end it will be well worth it.”
How much can media attention really be worth? Norm Bour, co-host of a nationally syndicated radio show, “The Real Estate and Finance Show,” gets 90 percent of his new business directly from the show.
His two-hour show boasts the tagline “teaching you to do more with the money you already have,” and is broadcast in Southern California, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Hawaii, and covers anything from estate planning to taxes.
The radio show has served as a cornerstone to Bour’s and co-host Mike Roberts’ financial planning, real estate and mortgage businesses. “We have branded ourselves, our Web site, our 800 number, and the goal is to become ingrained into [our listeners'] psyche so when they think of real estate or finance, they think of Norm and Mike,” Bour says.
The radio show has opened doors into other areas for Bour and Roberts, from newspaper columns to television interviews. In addition, it has enabled them to buy a second hour of airtime and to open their own broadcast studio. But the No. 1 payoff, Bour says, is the credibility they have developed from their listeners.