May the Force Be With You: How to Stand Out From Other Financial Media Resources
In the spirit of Star Wars day, securing regular and recurring “out of this world” media coverage can happen, if you approach each opportunity with a long-term vision.
In my mind, if you appear in the media, you are a star. Maybe you’re not invited to a red carpet event after a few appearances, but to your clients, prospects and community you become a little bit famous. The credibility that comes as a result of appearing in the media has to be earned; you can’t pay for credibility. So naturally, after a few times of getting the rush, exposure and attention from those who you value the most, you may be asking yourself – how do I get more?
With all the competition from other financial professionals in national media, industry media, and, yes, even in your own local market – what can you do to keep the opportunities coming in? How do you separate yourself from the other “stars” vying for the same opportunities? Well, getting the interview the first time is the hard part – but once that’s secured, there are things you can do to improve the outcome of the interview and enhance the experience for the media outlet. Everyone likes a good interviewee, and if things go well, chances are good they’ll invite you back again, and again, and maybe even again. So how do you win at the media game of “Star Wars?”
Here are four must-dos to help you become a financial Jedi Master of media:
- Punctuality! Be on time – if you are asked to participate in a discussion on TV or provide insight in a phone interview for an article – be punctual. Be honest with yourself; your car doesn’t travel faster than the speed of light, so give yourself PLENTY of time to arrive EARLY. If the offering media party has an ounce of concern that you won’t show for a live interview or that they won’t have enough time on their end (due to your tardiness) to complete their assignment on deadline, they aren’t going to ask you again. You do not create stressful situations for the media. If you ever put them in a bad spot, you’ll never have the opportunity to redeem yourself.
- Preparedness. Don’t be a “bucket head”. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t take the interview. Media, by nature, are inquisitive people and will ask you questions until they fully understand a subject. If you don’t understand and can’t fully explain a concept or strategy, they will see right through you. For print, as a result, they may cut you from the story they’re interviewing you on, or worse, use you as an example of the misinformation people are receiving from their financial professional. When it comes to TV, you must be able to communicate your messages simply and succinctly. Yes, financial topics can get complicated, which is why you need to prepare how you will share your insight on a subject within a short window of time. You don’t want to be cut off in a live interview mid-sentence. That could be a damaging blow to your credibility and the likeliness you’ll be a repeat guest.
- Personality. Nobody likes to be bored. Providing your input as if you were reading from a script or getting an unpleasant doctor examination while sharing your message will make you uncomfortable to be around, forgettable to the media and their audience, and undesirable to bring back. Know your talking points but share them with enthusiasm. Your personality coupled with your expertise is your best weapon – use it to your advantage. Star Wars wouldn’t have prequels, sequels, and spin-offs if it were boring, let alone its own day. Channel your inner George Lucas and make you delivery of content a worthwhile experience for its audiences.
- Originality. Yes, we all know you should save for retirement, but don’t be a mindless droid. That advice has already been shared a time or two, so bring something unique to the table. Find an interesting statistic to share; paint the picture of the end result if someone doesn’t save; provide a few outside the box tips to make saving easier. Yes, you could speak on the topic for an extended length of time, but find the uniqueness in your angle and focus your energy on that. It’s the one who provides usable insight or startling information that’s going to stand out from the crowd – both from the media’s perspective as well as their viewing audience.
While these might not be Jedi-mind tricks, they will help the media to see the value in you and what you have to offer, and put you on your way to winning the “Star Wars.”