Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you don’t want to find out how you can get more than $100,000 in free marketing and PR for practically nothing. We’ll give you a few seconds to skip ahead to the next feature if you’d like. To the brave souls who chose to continue, read on.
Chad Slagle, president of Edwardsville, Ill.-based Slagle Financial LLC (slaglefinancial.com) knows the power of writing a column and appearing regularly on his local NBC and Fox affiliates as a financial expert: instant credibility. Slagle wasn’t even looking for a media spot when he landed his column. A war buff, Slagle read a story about a local World War II POW.
“I belong to Rotary,” Slagle says. “As part of that, I have to get a guest speaker every year. I contacted the editor at the paper to get in touch with [the former POW]. The editor and I hit it off, and he asked me to write a monthly column.” More than four years later, Slagle is still writing.
Slagle’s advice is consistent and simple to follow.” If you don’t have the budget,” he says, “you’ve got to start some place. You don’t have to start big.” For many, however, it’s that one word – start – that causes many efforts to end. So how does an advisor make his first forays into the media landscape? (For advice from the PR experts, see sidebar on page 71.)
One thing advisors are doing is hiring PR firms to get the word out if they are rolling out a new aspect of their practice. For Shak Hill, CFP, CLU and ChFC, with Lantern Wealth Management in Centerville, Va., that helped spread informaton about a book he’d written: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Planning – The Seven Essential Ingredients for Your Best Financial Recipe.
“A book can give one integrity and let others know you’re serious about what you do,” notes Hill, who migrated from a career as a bank-based representative to an independent financial advisor with broker-dealer Cantella & Co., Inc. “It’s another statement to validate your practice.”
Hill’s not alone on taking the writer’s path. “Shorter books and e-books are becoming increasingly popular,” writes Susan Ward, an About.com columnist. “Focus on your expertise and come up with ideas for possible titles. Then choose one or more of these titles and write a chapter-by-chapter outline to get a sense of whether or not the project would work, and how long the finished book would be.”
Ward adds that TV is another outlet that can really pay off for advisors. “Even if you can’t manage to get your own show, you can still be on TV. Many programs, such as news shows, are looking for guests for expert segments. You can also buy your own TV time, creating ads and/or infomercials about your products or services.”