You might feel compelled to bury your head in the sand and take criticism from reporters personally – don’t!
Know this: reporters are not out to get you. They, like all of us, are doing a job. They need copy to fill their magazines, newspapers and Web sites in good times and bad.
If you’ve got the tools and experience, tough times can create additional opportunities to elevate your fund's visibility in a crowded market.
It is possible to develop the media savvy you need to be in control during an interview. When you’re prepared, you can answer the journalist's questions AND weave in the messages you want to communicate. For instance, if your fund is overweight in financials and that sector has taken a downturn, rather than sounding apologetic your answer can be fashioned to include messages about your forecast for that sector or your disciplined investment process and its long-term outlook. By bridging to something positive about your asset class or unique philosophy, you are gaining valuable third-party press coverage that, in good economic times, may be more difficult to garner.
You'll also be providing an important twist that your wholesalers and financial consultants will likely incorporate into their pitch, quoting you as an expert. They will appreciate that the fund is visible and credible in any market. More importantly, being quoted in the media is the least expensive, yet most authentic and valuable way to reach investors directly.
Tips for Staying on Message:
- Focus on your value proposition.
- Know your target market and their greatest concerns so you can fashion answers that address those issues.
- Where possible, explain your philosophy and process.
- Don't shy from repetition: you know your story, but most readers/listeners don't.
- Stress the long-term benefits of your asset class and investment discipline.
- When asked a negative question, answer in a positive light.
- Use techniques such as headlining, blocking and bridging to couch your answer within broader themes.
- Practice using phrases such as: "The most important thing to consider, "What is important to remember," "That speaks to the larger point of." Fear or Reality?
We understand that during difficult times, portfolio managers want to focus on managing the portfolio, feeling there is no time for interviews. That may be true but be sure to think it through and evaluate how much of your reluctance is due to fear of the interview over the reality.
At SunStar, we work with portfolio managers every day, coaching them and helping build the confidence required to speak with journalists and other audiences - and stay in control of the message. Our media bootcamp includes practice interviews in a TV studio setting. Then, together, we review the tapes, critiquing everything from remembering to use the fund's name repeatedly to giving positive answers to negative questions, while still being responsive to the interviewer.
Let SunStar Strategic help you fine tune your interview skills.
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