Have you ever seen your fellow financial advisors getting all the ink? Do you wonder what it takes to qualify as a quoted expert in your field? Do you know how they became trusted sources? Better still, has a reporter ever called you for insight about financial advisory matters?
If you’ve seen your competitors getting all the recognition as experts in your field when you are just as qualified – or even more qualified – then you definitely must want the media to take notice of you. However, becoming a quotable source for reporters does not just happen. You must be deliberate about it.
First, you must realize that reporters often work under high tension. They are basically responsible for creating articles, social media updates, blogs and more. It’s a 24/7 content cycle that’s both instantaneous and viral. They therefore need sources that are already familiar with the information landscape, especially in relation to their audiences.
Now, this is an encouragement because it means reporters always need sources. You only have to overcome a few hurdles and you’ll be their go-to source for financial advisory matters.
There are three main steps to become a trusted source.
Step 1 Prepare your Profile and Persona
You may be tempted to think the first thing to do is to reach out to a reporter, but, that’s not true. The moment you reach out, it becomes too late to prepare. As such, the first thing to do is to ensure you’ll pass a reporter’s background scrutiny before reaching out to them. The best way to excel at this stage is by being the kind of person a reporter would like to talk to, not because you want them to, but because you’ve persuaded them through your own platforms. It’ll help if you view media reference as a kind of earned media. What you do with your own media – website, social media profile and paid media appearances – influences how reporters rate you from far. Here are values that’ll make you an attractive potential source:
If you project a person or level of expertise that is beyond you, it can only last for a limited time. The audience will begin to figure you out if you’re a fake. They will also realize it when you’re overreaching. Focus on your area of strength without trying to be a guru at everything. Be true to yourself. That is how your tone, rhythm, flow and language can register in their minds.
Millions of content are produced across various platforms per second. Your voice can easily drown out in the sea of other voices, especially on social media. If you have something helpful to say, don’t just say it. Say it again and again till people begin to notice you. Your persistence will reward you with attention.
As an expert, your words have more weight when backed up by facts. This is where numbers come to play. Use data to back up your points. Data is not just numbers but also photos, videos and relevant links. The more you can refer to data for your stance, the better informed they appear and people will find them authentic.
We live at a time when information flies fast. Even as an expert, you’re not likely to be the custodian of any body of knowledge. Sometimes, being an expert is about finding new ways to apply old knowledge. You need to be creative and original. Financial advice litters social media but a lot of it lacks originality. This is one of the things that can make you pass the reporter’s test.
Reporters rarely quote ‘know-it-all” sources. They prefer people with specialized knowledge. This is an opportunity for you to shine. What are you exceptional at in your industry? What aspect of your niche are you spectacular at? This is the part you should emphasize in your publications, posts, discussions and conversations. It provides context and nuance for your person and helps the reporter find their way to you much more easily.
Step 2 Reach out to a Reporter
The most effective way to reach out to a reporter is through email. First, you need to be sure you’re aiming at the ‘right’ reporter by knowing their area of focus or “beat.” Do your own research about their past stories for proper perspective and background. You must avoid sending your personal finance idea to a real estate reporter, or it’s likely to go to waste. If you are a member of a local chapter of a financial professional organization, consider listing your name on its media resources that links advisors to reporters.
While emails are the best way to communicate with reporters, don’t overwhelm them with constant emails. Begin with a short introductory note explaining your portfolio and background, your relationship with the community and ways you might be resourceful to them. If you can connect them with academic experts and business partners, this is the time to throw it in. Keep the mail brief and to the point.
Step 3 Prepare for an Interview
After all is said and done, you’ll most likely get only one shot to become the go-to source for a reporter. Usually, the decision will be made at the interview. Don’t blow your chance. Do all that’s within your power to meet with a reporter at their convenience, not yours. If they try to set up an interview with you and you’re unavailable, they’re likely to move on to someone else. Except you’re the only expert in your field or you’re already popular, chances are, they have many options to choose from. Here are things you must do to make the most of your interview:
Know the reporter’s needs – Understand their needs by studying past works. Beyond that, conceptualize future trends and how it might interest them.
Communicate clearly – reporters are experts at communication. They need sources that will maintain or improve their communication quality, not those who will water it down. Avoid ramblings and jargons.
Follow up – be proactive enough to provide additional information, statistics or experts, if needed. Don’t pester them about when a story will run. Simply be on the lookout.
Conclusion Becoming a trusted source for a reporter is more about educating the audience than showcasing your expertise. Link to articles that mention you on your newsletter or website, but follow the rules for proper attribution. See recognition as a reward, not the effort. Avoid giving a salesy impression and you’ll last long as a quotable source in your industry.