Garnering the attention of the media is, at its core, simply about getting portfolio managers and reporters together. Reporters have a job to do, and like most of us, will gravitate to people they know and with whom they've had past positive experiences.
As a practical matter, portfolio managers generally have neither the time nor inclination to “press the flesh.” That's where your salespeople and marketing staff need to step up with the necessary communications materials and facilitate relationship building at every turn.
See and Be Seen.
When making the decision to attend an industry conference, don't overlook the presence of the media, either as attendees or exhibitors. "Conferences offer an outstanding opportunity to meet reporters and build relationships in a relaxed, unthreatening atmosphere," said SunStar account manager Milin Iyer. "If it's not possible for portfolio managers to attend, then the sales and marketing people who do attend need to be trained on how to proactively seek out the media and direct them back to the right people at the firm. With proper media training such as the media training program SunStar offers, salespeople will know what to say, how much to say and be confident in directing reporters to the firm's spokespeople."
It's also advantageous to have your Public Relations (PR) person accompany you. PR professionals can call on their past relationships and experiences to facilitate introductions, respond to reporters' particular areas of interest and help keep your message on track.
Develop a Media Kit.
Conference materials should include "Media Kits." This often overlooked tool is easy to create and simplifies a reporter's life significantly while ensuring information about your firm is accurate and complete. Having a number on hand at a conference shows reporters that you are easy to work with and sensitive to their needs.
A good media kit includes: portfolio managers biographies and areas of expertise, current commentary, portfolio statistics and performance. A business card of the PR professional or the name of an administrative staff member to call to field reporter's requests is of utmost importance. Often reporters need a comment in very short order and being responsive at those times will foster the relationships you need for pitching major stories.
Meet the Press - Your Style.
If you've never considered staging your own press conference, think again. Such an event is "a great way to get your message out and build relationships with reporters," said SunStar account manager Hibre Teklemariam. "Reporters are really an extension of your company's client base, so treat them like you would your best customers."
Fund companies do need to entice reporters to come to the event. This can be accomplished by offering a luncheon or cocktail hour. Once there, a professional, interesting and concise presentation will keep their attention and endear them to your firm. This is an outstanding way to let the media know that you value a relationship with them.
Small companies may find the prospect of staging their own press conference a bit pricey. That's where SunStar can help by bringing non-competing firms together in New York to share the expense of producing a professional event in an appropriate venue right in the media's backyard. Participating firms benefit from SunStar's extensive network of media relationships, reputation and expertise for a reasonable investment.
Turn the Tables.
Just as you wish reporters would call you, reporters love a story idea that falls in their lap, too. "If you regularly read trade magazines, you can get a good feel for seasonal interest," said SunStar account executive Bob Tebeleff. "Of course, you have to be out in front of the schedule by several months. By making a phone call to the reporter, you may help influence that upcoming story. Or, your call could spark interest in your firm for what's on the reporter's computer screen at that moment." Being proactive is the best watchword you can apply to your PR campaign.
Whether you hire a PR firm to pitch your story or plan to do it in-house, commitment and professionalism is the name of the game.
News is Now.
With the flurry of blogs and news websites, the media needs a constant flow of new information and insights to ensure they stay fresh and continue to entice readership. They need your expertise and they need it now. "Your firm may have only one or a very small handful of spokespeople, but it’s vitally important that any member of your staff who has the responsibility or occasion to talk to the press be knowledgeable about your message and professional in its delivery," said SunStar account manager, Melissa Murphy. "Training for everyone from the phone operator through CIO is a worthwhile investment."
Good media relations are essential, excellent ones are priceless. Let SunStar Strategic help you get your media strategy up and running.