Have you ever scored a terrific story about your fund in the media only to find out that your compliance team won’t allow you to reprint it or post it to your website?
This experience can be frustrating and disheartening.
Reprints, whether videos, digital or hard copy, are powerful tools to showcase your firm’s investment strategy, expertise and performance. The implied third party endorsements can be more powerful than a host of other marketing materials such as commentaries, fact sheets and brochures. Their impact when placed on your site, handed to an advisor at a conference or used as a part of your email marketing strategy can lead to heightened investor interest and ultimately, flows.
Through the years we’ve worked with compliance teams across the country. We’ve compiled our top 10 guidelines to think about, and practice, before your spokespeople meet the press.
Some of the ideas are straight out of Ethics 101 but others are less intuitive and may help streamline the compliance approval process later, ensuring you’re getting the maximum impact from your strategic media relations plan.
- Be truthful, honest and avoid hyperbole
- Don’t use promissory language; use words such as “we believe” and “may”
- Don't predict the future; couch your thoughts with "I /we feel" or "in our opinion"
- Don't say anything is certain; say "has the potential to", "we see potential opportunities for"
- Don't discuss non-fund performance, i.e. performance related to your similar separately managed or predecessor accounts; remember to say “historically” when talking about beating benchmarks or peers
- Don't say we’re #1, top, best, unless you have the back up (later) to prove it – and it’s current
- Don't quote any yields (these can be very complex to add appropriate disclosures)
- Don't call yourself an "expert,” instead tell about the tenure of you or your team, and the market cycles you’ve experienced
- Don’t discuss stocks you are about to trade – it’s best stick to your top 10 holdings
- NEVER say "unique" - or first - for your process/strategy, etc., unless hands down you have the proof; instead, try "one of few"…."among the first"
Remember, compliance folks are part of your team. Generally, they’ll help you find ways to make a story work. Unfortunately, sometimes that means asking the publication or writer to remove certain phrases – some will, but some won’t. So, practice expressing your thoughts according the guidelines above and make the most of your 15 minutes of fame every time.
Check out our free infographic for ideas on how to Leverage Your Press.