Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Media Opportunities Are There for the Asking. Choose Your Niche."-- guest post by Lisbeth Wiley Chapman

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Lisbeth Wiley Chapman of Ink &Air knows how to get national exposure for financial advisors. Her MediaStar newsletter  features practical tips that’ll also boost your visibility. Here's her guest post on "Media Opportunities Are There for the Asking.  Choose Your Niche."


Advisors often dream of a client list full of like-minded people such as wooden boat enthusiasts, Ford Mustang collectors, or fellow Triathlon competitors.

Or they covet a regular column in a publication for a vertical market -- all the dry cleaners in the U.S., contractors in New Jersey, or all the civil engineering firms in New England.  Every group mentioned above has a publication.  You can access that publication.  It takes effort and time, but not money.

Just Ask!
You might be amazed at the results.

Here are four case studies of unlikely successes where advisors were able to get invitations to write for target market audiences in athletic and trade publications.  One caveat:  most opportunities in an economic downturn will be in a web-based publication.  Don't let that dissuade you.  You are still being presented to an audience of readers as an expert and you can easily send your clients a URL to access your clip.  It's your job and it's easy to make sure your clients, prospects and centers of influence know you were a trusted expert and served as a source.

We'll call him John Jones, the advisor I met at a meeting of financial advisors. He wanted to be the financial advisor of choice of all the construction companies in New Jersey.  he wrote the editor of the largest trade newspaper for contractors and suggested a column.  They said yes, and the rest is history.  His practice is made up almost entirely of owners of construction companies, large and small and his column did generate referrals.

How Can You Find More Clients Who Fit Your Profile?
Replicate your best ones.

Anne Barry, a client of Ink&Air, who consulted to small and medium 401(k) plans, wanted to multiply her best client, a civil engineering firm.  "They have a lot of chiefs and some Indians, and their 401(k) plans are relatively rich.  I called the editor of Civil Engineering Magazine, and he said he would never run a story about sorting through competitive 401(k) proposals in his magazine, which focused solely on the technical aspects of civil engineering.  As I was politely thanking him, he said, "But, our sister publication Management Engineering, would be very interested.  Here's the editor's number.  My client was able to get a full-page story and picture about what to look for when comparing 401(k) plan proposals.  Who knew?

Don't Believe the Experts.
Nothing is Impossible!

Jeff White heard me speak at the FPA national conference last fall and corrected me during my talk.  He said it was not "nearly impossible" to get small newspapers to run financial advice stories, and that he had done this successfully with 10 or 12 weekly newspapers in a New England state.  I had indicated during my talk that such publications did not have the space for personal finance and rarely covered it.  The advisor produced columns and sent five to eight at a time.  He made it entirely up to the publication as to when and whether he got his fully attributed columns into the newspapers and frequently there was space and his information ran.  He did get referrals from this effort.  Don't believe me, try it and see.

Follow Your Passion to Clients You Know, Like and Understand
But you have to ask for the opportunity...

Following your passion makes sense.  Ben Perry is  a financial advisor and triathlete who told me that his dream clientele would be other athletes who participate in triathlons.  I Googled "Triathlete Publications" and got a mish-mash of state-specific running publications.  I called one and was referred to the publisher of seven state running publications.  He was delighted that my client could offer a financial column for runners, written in terms that an athlete could understand.  I never expected a "yes" and should know by now that the most amazing things happen when you simply ask for an opportunity.


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_________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

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