That’s the sound your phone could be making in 15 minutes from the time you implement the tips and strategies in this article. Let’s face it, all of our practices would be better off if we could just get more publicity and press. It would be even more ideal if it was free! Well, keep reading my friend.
When was the last time that you were contacted by a local reporter and asked your opinion on a financial topic? Well, chances are it doesn’t happen all that often. But there are things that you can implement to get the attention of the reporters and programmers of the local press (newspaper, television, radio, etc).
Let’s take the newspaper as an example. If you think about the way the newspaper works, you basically have two different sections of any paper.
- Those sections of the paper that host paid advertising (ads, classifieds, etc)
- Those sections written by reporters and editors.
When you look through a paper, chances are good that you tend to believe what is written in the stories and put more attention to them rather then the advertisements. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ads. I use them very successfully and would suggest a portion of your marketing budget be allocated to proper advertising, but that is neither the point nor the purpose of this article.My point in this article is to begin an explanation of how you can implement strategies and tactics in your practice to explode your publicity, and do it all for pennies. You want to have publicity. It can be used in almost any industry and being seen as an expert by your clients and potential clients can only lead to higher profits and income. This is a good thing.
I am going to focus on the ground work of generating publicity in this article. That is through the use of submitting a press release. I am only able to dedicate a small part of what is required to explain good press releases here as an entire book could be (and have been) written on the subject. But most financial planners fail to understand how to implement this in their practice. In future articles I will talk about what makes a good press release, but here I will lay out the ground work to get you prepared so you can start your own media outlet.
One thing to keep in mind what it comes to press releases. Even if you produce an amazing, perfect press release, there is no guarantee you will get publicity. I have sent out thousands of press releases ranging from debt, to college funding to retirement planning and more. Some have generated press, some have not. Just keep in mind that this is a tactic that you must commit to doing on a regular basis. Don’t worry, with the process I will explain, it will be easy to do and shouldn’t take more then a few minutes after you learn the basics.
Laying the Groundwork – Who Do You Send it To?
Before you begin writing a press release, it is important to know who you are sending it to. The first thing that you should do is begin to gather a list of the publications and media outlets you want to send it to. How you gather these names and contact info is totally up to you, but this is how I would approach it.
If you go to Google.com and simply type in your city or state followed by the type of media outlet you want, you will have a list of options that will get you started. For example, when I type in “Colorado Radio Stations” in Google there are numerous results that lead to finding local radio stations and their contact info.
Then, all you have to do is search the results and you are bound to find the major radio stations and their contact info, or at the very least, a link to their website where you can find the fax number.
The same result can happen when I typed in “Colorado Newspapers”:
Again, just search the results until you find what you need.
SIDE NOTE – Remember that this process will take time, but if you store the information, you will only have to do it once.
You Have The Contact Info…Now What?
The best way to send the press release is through fax, but I have found that email may also work well too. The only problem with email is it is easy to get lost in the inbox of reporters and editors. Rarely do they get to all the email they have and chances are, if they do not recognize your name, you do not stand a chance. Best thing is to start with a fax, and as you develop relationships with reporters, they may give you the option of sending via email.
Now, here is a key that will dramatically speed up the submission.
Let’s say you have gathered 30 – 50 fax numbers you think will be good to send your press release to. You do not want to be at your fax machine for an hour punching in the individual numbers one at a time. That would be stupid and a waste of time.
What you want to do is send them all out with the push of a button. I personally use a company called Send2Fax . They have plans as low as $11.95 per month, which is a great deal. There are also companies that let you have a free trial, and that may be the way to go. If you would feel more comfortable to get a free one month trial and test this tactic to see if it is worth pursuing, that is fine with me. I just know that if you send out a bunch of faxes, it will be worth it to pay the monthly money (plus you can get a toll free or local number).
To make the press release go out by an online fas service, all you have to do is write the release in Microsoft Word (or any word processor) and upload it to their service. If you can send an email, you can do this. It is very, very easy.
The second option is by joining a website that will send your press release out for you. For a list of websites that offer this service, search Google. I have never used this option because the release usually goes out to a nationwide audience, which is not really what I want. Maybe that is more your style and if so, check it out and let me know what you think. But for the purposes of most of the financial planners out there, there are more effective ways of contacting your local media.
The last option is to submit your press release on each website by looking for a story submission page. Most newspapers have a section that you can submit your own stories, but to be honest with you, I have had only minimal success with this method.
Okay, now it is time to get to work. Go and research the different media outlets and begin to gather a list of names and fax numbers. You do not need all the other contact information like addresses or phone numbers, just the fax numbers.
I hope this helps you prepare to send out press releases. I will continue this discussion by talking about how to write an effective press release in the next day or so.