To get your story out in an increasingly fragmented media environment, you can’t abandon traditional communication strategies, but you should supplement traditional marketing approaches with some new-media tools. For instance:
YouTube. This and its competitors are Web sites where anyone can post and view video from sources from around the world. Software is available for $40 that will convert your television interview into a YouTube link that can then be uploaded onto the site and used as an e-mail marketing tool. This link can be sent as an announcement to current clients as a referral tool that can be forwarded to their network of friends and associates, sent to a list of potential clients, or used as a credibility tool by including links to the video when you contact other TV stations or media outlets offering interviews.
Blogging. A Web log, or blog, is a Web site diary which often takes the place of a traditional hard copy newsletter that many advisors mail to clients and prospects. Google’s Blogger.com is one place that can get you started with your own blog. Since some blogs allow readers to comment on your postings, this can spur discussion on the topics in which you are an expert.
Vlogging. Making a video log, or vlog, is similar to posting a blog. A Web-based diary in video form, Vlogs can either be a collaborative effort or authored by an individual. Vlogs often take advantage of Web syndication, including RSS (real simple syndication) to allow for the distribution of the video over the Internet.
Podcasts. These are recorded audio files, but also can be video files, which are most often posted on Web sites for immediate listening or downloaded to an MP3 player (such as an IPod) for later or repeated playback. They can be syndicated and sent out automatically via an RSS feed to interested people.
Forums. These are yet another tool–variously referred to as Web forums, discussion boards, or electronic bulletin boards–which constitute a community in which individuals hold online discussions. As an advisor, you can find a board that is primarily dedicated to your area of expertise and allows you to contribute in a meaningful way; a personalized signature and profile lets other users know who you are.
Perhaps more useful to advisors are forums which require registration (some allow users to post anonymously). In these forums, users are identified by unique user names and have additional privileges. Depending on the message board, members may have the ability to send personal messages to each other.
LinkedIn. You may already know about MySpace.com or Facebook.com, which are social media sites primarily used by young people. The online social networking approach has been brought to the business world through LinkedIn.com, which can connect you to other business colleagues, clients, and prospects.
If you’ve got some down time this summer, you may want to explore some of these new media social sites to increase your networking and marketing outlets.
Bill Bongiorno, president of Blue Chip Public Relations, has been a public relations counselor to investment advisors for the past 15 years. He can be reached through www.bluechippr.com.