In fact, national news coverage on TV, print and online about well-performing funds drives individuals and advisors to seek out more information about those funds.
KEEP YOUR STORY SIMPLE
Everyone in the company need to be able to tell the story simply and succinctly. To earn effective national news coverage, the first thing to do is to make sure that the firm’s portfolio managers and top executives are accurately describing the investment process and that they all describe it the same way.
If the firm wants its portfolio managers want to be on television, they need to be comfortable talking live in front of a camera and under hot lights. Most managers need media training and practice to describe their process well under those conditions. They also need to practice skills that give them control of the interview, answering the questions that lead to the messages the firm wants to deliver and redirecting the ones that don’t.
Simple skills like mentioning the name of the firm and its mutual funds and being prepared to speak to relevant current events take practice.
DEVELOP YOUR MESSAGES
So the first step in preparing to talk with the news media is to develop the firm’s key messages and train the spokespeople to speak to the media. SunStar’s Messaging Workshop - which is typically a day’s training – brings your managers together in a TV studio where we can work through both tasks in a disciplined manner. After a morning of interactively and iteratively developing the best message for the firm, we then lead the spokespeople through practice in front of a camera followed by peer and professional critiques.
TAKE IT ON THE ROAD
Step 2 is frequently a New York media tour. During the media training and the days following, SunStar and your managers will have developed and confirmed the key firm messages around the investment process, the holdings of a portfolio, and perhaps the manager’s view on the markets or the economy.
SunStar then talks regularly with journalists who are interested in the asset class or stocks you hold, pitching your unique investment process, and/or views on the market or the economy.
We set up a day of appointments/interviews between the manager and interested journalists and accompany you to New York. Generally, there will be a mix of TV, wire services, adviser publications, online news publications, and print publications such as Barrons or USA Today. For this first venture into the media, and throughout our relationship, SunStar’s account executives are available to coach you upfront and provide feedback following your interviews.
The stories don’t tumble in immediately. For example, we started working with a firm in 2004 when they had a ten-year old fund with $37 million in assets. The fund had outstanding performance. The CEO went to New York every month to talk with reporters. They did not get their first big story for nine months, although they were on TV right away. Without adding any other marketing efforts the firm reached $73 million by the end of 2005, $264 million in 2006, and $741 in 2008. We have worked with them consistently ever since through the ups and downs including the brutal 2008 and 2009 markets. One of the firm’s portfolio managers currently goes to New York twice a quarter and the group of managers and analysts do many other interviews in between.
GET YOUR 15 MINUTES OF FAME – OR MORE
News coverage provides the proverbial “15-minutes” of fame. But those 15 minute segments add up and make your name and your people recognizable. Leveraging that coverage on your website and in other marketing efforts extends that recognition logarithmically. Our clients have said the implied third-party endorsements from posting reprints on their websites or sending them out in emails to advisors and investors is priceless.
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