Firing Up the PR Machine
“People are looking for a connection. Tell a good enough story about your brand and people will not only be invested, they’ll want to buy it from you.”
―John Michael Morgan
Does public relations really work? Yes, and there’s one simple reason: people trust, and share, news content in ways that they’ll never do with advertisements.
While news consumers don’t trust all news sources, everyone has at least a few outlets that they trust. Whether they’re trade publications, national newspapers, or online news resources, we each have go-to places for information about the world around us.
Flashback to the fall of 2008. The stock market had crashed and the financial world was spiraling downward. Suddenly, folks of all backgrounds took an interest in the economy and their investment portfolios. And in that moment of despair and turmoil, did folks turn to advertisements—paid placements—or did they read the news to hear the financial outlook? Despite the recent headlines and battles over the credibility of the news industry, the reality is that when it comes to more specific industry news, such as financial and economic, print, digital and broadcast news still reign.
Public relations helps reporters gather information for this news, and remains one of the most effective marketing tools to create brand awareness and build credibility. In the financial services industry, specifically, companies have demonstrated tremendous success at leveraging their thought leaders to increase their brand profile by securing media placements and coverage.
However, before you start firing up the press release machine, there are several things to consider when evaluating the benefits of PR. To help you assess, we offer the following considerations:
1. Stand Apart – The need to stand out is critical, especially in a sector like wealth management, where the competitive landscape is plentiful, and the ability to differentiate is challenging. Through the use of a strategic, effective PR approach, a firm can carve out a unique identity in the eyes of key stakeholders.
2. Build Trust – Financial services is an industry that relies greatly on the expertise of the individuals providing the value to the client. It is a service, and as such, demonstrating the experience and knowledge of the professionals will help build credibility and trust among prospective and current clients. PR is an effective way to build credibility by having an active voice in the media and online
3. Fostering Relationships – A large portion of PR is building and fostering relationships with the media. Having a relationship with the media can set one’s firm apart through involvement with news stories and establishing your business as a leader in the industry. Some business leaders may be able to perform this outreach directly, but most recognize the value of selecting a partner to conduct this ongoing media outreach.
Numerous wealth managers have found the guidance of a PR agency to be invaluable as they try to grow and gain credibility in the industry. While growth is a significant way that PR can help a business, there are a number of other ways they can be a valuable partner, such as planning a succession or managing a crisis.
While PR is valuable, it does require time and availability to engage with an agency or respond to media opportunities in a timely fashion. Think about this process in the context of your business. Your clients want someone who understands them, and so do you. When you have that trusted partnership, your PR firm is working with you to drive your business in a strategic way.