This is the fourth installment of our "Case for PR" series. We've put together a series of topics to examine the various ways in which a public relations strategy can help a firm grow.
Our series covers the following topics. Stay tuned in the months to come to see the remaining installments.
- PR and your brand
- Competition is doing it
- Importance of specialized PR expertise
- Support marketing/sales initiatives
So, without further ado...
The Case for PR - ROI/Growth
Now that we’ve covered the importance of PR and how it shapes your brand, it’s time to dive into the return on investment (ROI) of your PR program. One of the great aspects of a PR program is that the return on your investment is shown in more than just a percentage.
Not only will you be seeing an increase in press coverage, awareness generated, and digital interactions, but you’ll also see growth in assets under management (AUM) and improved advisor relationships. With having your ROI spread out across multiple avenues, there’s a lot to be excited about for your new PR program.
One of the simplest ways to measure PR success is through the quality and quantity of press coverage you receive. If you’re an asset management firm that’s never used a PR firm you’ve likely had sparse coverage. An investor googling your firm’s name will see only your website and no thought leadership. Once your PR program has begun, a quick Google search will show your recent live TV and radio appearances, as well as any investing articles you’ve been mentioned in.
While the exact number of “hits” an article received is difficult to track, you’ll be able to use audience statistics to track the success of your press coverage. For example, The Wall Street Journal reaches a global audience of 42.4 million digital readers per month. Getting a high profile quote in The Wall Street Journal and other similar publications shows an immediate return on your investment.
To get investors interested in putting money into your funds, they first need to know the funds exist. As mentioned earlier, if a potential investor googles your firm or funds, would you like for them to only see your website and no press coverage? Or, would you rather have them see your website, a feature article in Barron’s, and a CNBC live interview? Probably the latter.
A great way to measure the return on your investment is how much awareness you are generating. This can be done by tracking your website hits with Google Analytics, or even just word of mouth to key spokespeople within the firm. Are clients and potential investor’s bringing up recent media clips?
The best part of generating awareness through a PR program is that it’s directed toward your target audience. You won’t be generating awareness to an unknown crowd. There will be a targeted approach to the audience you select. For example, you might aim to reach advisors via advisor publications, and target the mainstream media to reach the retail investor. Or, if you have a niche fund, there are more targeted publications that are tailored specifically toward that type of investor (ESG for example).
Generating awareness doesn’t only affect potential investors, it helps keep your current investors happy. If there’s a downtick in performance, instead of keeping investors in the dark, you are showing up in the national media explaining your investment philosophy and why you’re not concerned as you’ve weathered such times in the past.
Growth of AUM
Perhaps the most important aspect of ROI is the growth you’ll see in assets. While we all love feature stories and television appearances, the ultimate goal is to translate those press hits into dollars invested into your funds. The main thing to understand about growing your AUM through public relations is that it is a process.
Establishing a rapport with reporters, delivering a consistent message to your target publications, and sharing your press coverage across social media outlets all contribute to getting investors interested in your funds. If you put in the effort required you will see a growth in assets. While the effort may seem laborious at times, it’s crucial and is a valuable way to grow your business.
Part of the public relations process is fine-tuning your program to convert press hits into assets. If you’re consistently seeing an uptick in website hits after a high profile television interview, then getting future TV hits will be a priority going forward. The same goes for the opposite, if a publication doesn’t seem to reach your target audience or drive any website hits, it will become less of a priority as your program evolves. There are numerous avenues to getting an investor to put money into your funds, and part of the fun of a public relations program is figuring out what works for your firm, and what doesn’t. A successful PR program is constantly evolving.
Growth of Advisor Relationships
As the name suggests, a main part of public relations is about relationships. A PR program can vastly improve your relationships with financial advisors. This can be achieved via targeted outreach to advisor publications such as Financial Advisor Magazine, Financial Planning, and ThinkAdvisor.
Improved relationships with advisors is another pleasant “side effect” of positive of media coverage. Press coverage can help an advisor see you as a relevant, informative source in the community. The more times an advisor sees your name in relevant publications, the better. It’s much easier to go into a meeting with an advisor who has seen you in the press and is aware of your investment philosophy than one who hasn’t. Your press coverage instantly implies credibility and positions you as a thought leader in the industry.
Social Media/Website Interaction
“Going digital” seems to be a common buzzword when it comes to businesses in 2018. This includes having a responsive web design, active social media accounts, and content for your followers. We live in a day and age when investors can do more than just be aware of your brand, they can interact with it.
If they see your portfolio manager on CNBC they can visit your website, sign up for an email list, and follow you on social media. Part of the PR process is creating a brand investors want to interact with. Make sure to keep your website fresh and up to date both with design and content. A good website should showcase your messages, highlight your coverage, and be a destination full of information and valuable resources for investors.
Social media is also a great platform to share relevant press coverage with your followers. Gone are the days when an investor would have to make sure he’s in front of the TV at 3:55 pm to watch your Fox Business interview, now he can see the interview clip posted to your social media accounts. With your compliance team, you can obtain reprint rights to most media coverage and post links, images, and clips to your site and social media accounts. An interview doesn’t have to end when the camera stops – you can leverage the coverage to get “more mileage” from each piece.