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Henry Stimpson’s PR and Marketing Tips
August 2005

Your ideas can make you famous (and rich)

From InvestmentNews - August 22, 2005

If you want to get rich in the financial business, get famous.

Do you need to have a megawatt smile full of white teeth, bulging muscles, a glib motor mouth or the investment results of Warren Buffet to achieve fame?

Nope. Your expertise - your good ideas - about financial planning and investing can make you famous, a media star recognized for your expertise.

Increase exposure
Media coverage comes from just three main avenues.

Get quoted as an expert on investing - in newspapers, magazines and websites. You offer your ideas and expertise to financial writers nationally and locally. By staying in front of them - and by offering provocative ideas - you'll enhance your chances that they'll call you when they need to interview an expert.

When you're quoted in the media, it provides both exposure to your audience and implicit third-party endorsement.

A neutral party deemed that you're a credible expert and sought out your opinion. That carries weight with clients and prospects.

Get your articles published. You write - or have a ghostwriter write - articles on personal finance and investing for local newspapers or business magazines and perhaps national trade publications.

Having your name and picture on an article is a prestige item.

A bylined article - so called because the credit under the headline says "By John Doe" - gives you the opportunity to develop your ideas at length and positions you as a leader in your field.

One of the beauties of writing articles is that you get total control - at most, the publication will do some light editing.

Appear on television and radio programs as an expert guest. This is the third leg of the fame triangle. Appearing on a show is a bit like making a personal sales call to thousands at once.

The audience gets a glimpse of you as a person as well as hears your ideas. You can start to build trust en masse.

Hungry beasts
So, how do you get quoted, published and invited to appear?

You need a way to consistently convey your provocative ideas to the news media - anything from your community newspaper to Money magazine to CNBC.

Remember, media outlets are hungry beasts. They want more stories, more ideas every day. They need new content to fill up pages and airtime every day.

This is where you come in, with your ideas on personal finance and investment neatly packaged as story ideas.

A story idea captures the essence of your idea - whether it's on retirement planning, an innovative product, a trend or debunking a myth - in a few succinct paragraphs and positions you as a source of expert commentary.

Writing a story idea that attracts attention is an art, and you have to get to the point quickly and compellingly.

Reporters and editors also want to know what investors are thinking - how Americans are responding to financial challenges and what they're most concerned about.

Dealing with your clients, you have your finger on the pulse - another good source for story ideas.

Depending on the media and your idea, a story idea can lead to any one or more of these three main avenues of media exposure.

A reporter or broadcaster who gets a good idea from you could become intrigued and call you for a quote or ask you to appear on a radio or TV show. An editor might ask you to write an article on the topic.

Staying competitive
The funny thing about story ideas is that they often work indirectly.

The reporter could have no interest in the story idea you've proposed but will call anyway for commentary on a totally different story he or she is working on. Why? Because a well-written story idea shows that you're a smart, available source.

And don't underestimate availability: As Woody Allen once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

With continuing media exposure, you'll become famous in a substantive way - not for your sparkling smile but as a thought leader with top ideas. You can use your press clippings as part of your promotional materials, both in print and online. Media coverage also can lead to opportunities to speak locally.

You'll be known as a force to be reckoned with in the financial field. And when you talk to people in the community, they'll often recognize your name and face, giving you a head start over the competition.

Henry Stimpson is president of Stimpson Communications, a Wayland, Mass., public relations firm specializing in financial services.

copyright Stimpson Communications


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