+1 (703) 299-8390
300 N. Washington St. | Suite 505 | Alexandria, VA 22314



Does PR work?

PR has many components, so it is difficult to say whether it works or not without defining "PR". In this instance, let's assume that you are asking whether good news stories will help you attract clients or investors.

When your current associates and friends find out about your product, whether it's a mutual fund or a company developing community projects, do they want to invest in it? Is your product superior to its peers? Does it have a proven track record? If the answers to these questions are yes, then news media coverage will probably attract investors or customers.

The people who already know about your company or investment opportunity are all consumers of the news, so they can act as a small sample of the wider public. If they are interested in your product, then it is more than likely that others will be, too.

News media takes the news of your superior product or investment opportunity and tells the world about it....or at least a lot of people who have never heard of you.

Why should we consider add PR to our mutual fund marketing?
If we open a new mutual fund, how will PR help?
How will a public relations program help us grow?
Why doesn't PR and marketing always work?


How do you measure the success of a PR program?

Once you've committed your time and dollars to a PR program, you will naturally want to be sure you're getting your money's worth. But too often, clients only consider public relations efforts successful when it translates into sales or an uptick in phone calls. It's essential that clients understand that the impact good PR has isn't always directly quantifiable.

For starters, every article written about you and every positive mention is earned credibility. Simply having your name in the news brings your name to the attention of viewers and readers, each of whom adds another impression to your brand and status as thought leader. Remember what PR stands for…public relations. Part of the process is establishing relationships with the media and a reputation of reliability. You want journalists to feel comfortable calling you for your take on their story.

So before you try to measure your campaign's success in dollars, ask yourself—has your name been in the media? Have reporters come seeking your opinion? If you answer yes to these questions, it's safe to say your PR program is on the right track.

What can we expect in 3 months? In 12 months?
How does PR translate to sales?
Do you have examples of firms similar to us that grew AUM?
Why doesn't PR and marketing always work?


How much does a financial services PR program cost?

The costs of a PR program can range from $25,000 to $200,000, depending upon what you want to accomplish and what elements are included in the program. Media relations, message development, and website development all come at a cost that varies based on the scope of the project.

What are your goals? A PR program can be much more cost effective than an advertising program that depends upon one campaign. Many public relations programs plan on at least 6-12 months of promotion that builds over the course of time. For example, some magazines can have lead times of several months for article placements. Likewise, relationships with highly influential media usually take time to develop. Knowing the end goals for your PR plan will help you determine a realistic cost estimate.

Our budget is small, How much money should we allot to PR and marketing?
How do you measure the ROI of a public relations (PR) program?
How will a PR program help us grow?
What kind of time investment is required of our portfolio managers to do an effective PR program?

Can we D-I-Y?

How can I get on CNBC?

Appearing on CNBC is a goal for many asset managers, but most won't be invited for an on air interview. How can you be one of those chosen? Let's start with your broadcast media experience. Have you ever been on TV? If you haven't, the first time might be the most difficult to make happen. Producers do not want to take a chance with a guest who might flop. If you have not been on TV but have evidence of your success on camera, such as a video on your website, that may help you convince producers that you should appear on their segment.

The topics that you feel comfortable discussing may also determine your ability to be interviewed on a major broadcast. Are you willing to talk about what's moving the financial markets generally or do you want to only discuss a narrow niche topic? Of course you want to talk about what makes your mutual fund tick, but producers need people to talk intelligently about broader topics.

Equally important is your availability to appear on camera. This is important because many broadcast segments are planned late in the news cycle, and only shortly before air time. Making yourself available when a producer is scrambling to find a guest will earn you appreciation, particularly when many potential guests turn down interviews because of conflicting schedules.

Finally, your assets under management might be the most peripheral element to affect your opportunity to get on CNBC. Generally, producers want their guests to have a minimum of $500 million in AUM if they are to be featured on a broadcast.

How do I submit a press release?
Can I just send my press release out to big publications like The Wall Street Journal?
Do you have examples of firms similar to us that grew?


Are there any conflicts of interest when you work with similar types of clients?

Each of our account executives is assigned clients based on multiple factors, including their current client mix. We normally do not give directly competing clients (for example, two MLP funds) to the same account executive or client services team. While we avoid this "conflict", it's often more of a benefit to work with many financial services companies, many of which have similar expertise.

Our media contacts view us as financial services experts and often come to us as a one-stop-shop for sources. We also have many opportunities that go unfilled, but that could be very beneficial for an up-and-comer client who may otherwise struggle to get quality media mentions.


What is a SunStar Media Briefing?
What types of reporters can we expect to attend a media briefing?
How much media coverage can we expect after a media briefing?
How often can we participate in a press conference?
What is the format of a SunStar Strategic Media Briefing?
What makes for a strong presentation to the media?
Will you help prepare my presentation prior to the press briefing?


What platforms should we be on?

The term "platform" is often used to refer to a specific financial services firm within various mutual fund distribution channels, which can include wirehouses, broker dealers, RIAs, DC/Retirement, Bank and Trust. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to these firms and channels and your strategy should be tailored to where you can get the best traction and return on your investment. Just because one asset manager has had success at Merrill Lynch and UBS, doesn't mean that your firm and strategy will garner similar interest.

First, you should determine who is most likely to invest in your financial products and services? Is it geared more for the retail investor? Will advisors be able to sell your funds to their clients? Do you have load shares where brokers might be interested?

Also, utilize any industry contacts that you may have. Do you have friends or former colleagues who might be able to get you into the door at a major Broker Dealer or Bank's Trust and Custody?

After determining some of these building blocks, you should analyze the cost associated with being on these platforms. It can get quite expensive to be available to every investor, advisor, broker and institution and you may never be able to recover some of those costs if you can't generate sales from those channels. Start with the firms where you think you will get the most bang for the buck but don't be too frugal. Think of these firms as grocery stores. If your products aren't available on the shelf when people are shopping, they won't be able to buy.

Some of the largest platforms in terms of assets and new flows include Charles Schwab, NFS (National Financial Services), Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Edward Jones, Pershing, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, UBS Financial, Northern Trust, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise, LPL, Raymond James, BNY Mellon and TD Ameritrade. However, being available on some or all of these platforms does not guarantee that you will generate assets. In addition to being available, you will need to get noticed.

What conferences should we attend?
Should we be on social media?
What should our website include?
Should we hire a wholesaler?
If we could only do one thing to promote our firm, what would be most effective?