Perhaps funds in the spotlight have stronger brands, are larger, or have better performance than those that are overlooked. Maybe the public relations staff of these popular funds have better relationships with reporters than those that go unnoticed.
What we’ve found at SunStar Strategic is that very often the reason some firms receive more press may be because of the firm's PR style. PR style is the strategy fund companies use to garner media attention and there are two typical approaches. Let’s compare.
Types of PR Style
A reporter calls you for information. Perhaps she found your fund listed on a performance chart or a chart of top holdings for a security. Maybe you met her at a conference or had a preexisting relationship. In any event, you answer her questions and hope to be included in the article. The reporter controls the subject matter and the interview deadline.
You contact a relevant reporter with your own themes and messages tailored to her needs. You attempt to show her that your story is newsworthy. If she is interested, you tend to have more flexibility in the scheduling of the interview because the story idea was yours.
It is not uncommon for PR pros to set out to be proactive but then realize they have neither the time to do so nor the relationships with reporters.
A proactive strategy actually increases your reactive press coverage. Reporters will call you more often. From your outreach, reporters know who you are and that you are eager to work with them when they have a story in which you can assist.
Firms using a proactive PR style understand news media coverage can be the most cost-effective way to gather assets. Fresh third-party endorsements attract leads and add credibility to your other sales and marketing efforts such as reprints in the hands of your wholesaler, on your website, or in your exhibitor booth.
Ongoing news coverage of your funds also helps grow your separate account business. Fund coverage highlights your investment strategy, current thinking about stocks, market and economy, your portfolio managers and possibly your performance. The fund is usually a clone of your separate accounts using the same strategy, thinking and people, so leveraging the coverage is a no-brainer.
So you want to be more proactive, but don't want the expense of hiring an internal or external PR pro?
Consider this proven strategy:
Find a reporter wherever your portfolio manager goes. Add reporters to the mix of meetings when your portfolio manager visits with companies in the Silicon Valley, or brokers in Southern Florida. Cities such as San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Boston have reporters from national publications who cover investing and mutual funds. In smaller cities, you can focus on business reporters from local newspapers and business journals. They may not focus on funds. Instead, offer your perspective on the local companies you just visited.
You’ll find you’re building your own network of reporters and you’re putting your portfolio managers in the position of being an expert.
Each time your portfolio manager is interviewed, it adds a layer of credibility and status to your firm. Cultivating relationships with the media often results in being looked to for quick quotes in your area of expertise. Press mentions are perceived as third party endorsements of your process and product. Smart marketers then repurpose these press mentions as reprints and Web links to maximize their impact. This visibility is likely to be rewarded by new leads, selling agreements and larger tickets.
Ready to critique your current PR plan? Or perhaps you're looking for a fresh perspective? SunStar can help. Let's talk.