Financial PR and journalism have progressed due to advancements in technology. In fact, these are valuable ways for people to make informed economic decisions. It involves both the financial community, like investment bankers, financial media, and the public. The main goal of PR professionals in the finance industry is to help companies communicate a financial position to the general public, the financial marketplace, and shareholders.
Due to the influence that finances have on our everyday lives, media in the financial world is much less forgiving than in other industries. Because there is a large imbalance between what businesses actually earn and what people think they earn, it can be hazardous and expensive to do the work and trust that the financial markets and the general public will recognize it.
Much like other types of PR, financial PR is about developing relationships with media professionals in the industry to get the word out there about the business, its products, and services. We will touch on this subject a bit more further down this article, but companies usually have PR professionals who are there to help them with creating newsworthy content. However, sometimes smaller companies with smaller budgets need to outsource their PR efforts to PR agencies that are a bit more cost-effective.
PR agencies like Pressfarm work with companies of various sizes to create newsworthy content ranging from email pitches and press releases to guest posts and press kits. This content helps businesses to connect with journalists and media professionals and get the word out there about their brand. With Pressfarm’s PR packages, companies can also run their own media outreach. Each package gives you access to an extensive media database of over 75,000 journalists across industries. Their account executives and expert writers also create curated media lists for each client. This saves you the time and energy of sifting through massive databases and helps you to connect with the best journalists in your niche.
It’s true that the world of financial journalism has a broad audience. Even so, with a focus on financial markets, macroeconomics data and trends, government economic policy, corporate news, personal finance, and more in the finance industry, companies that do not find the right media professionals to get their news out there can suffer from minimal visibility to their brand. Finance journalists work in the field for a reason; first of all, they understand the pressure associated with the industry and can explain complex financial concepts clearly and concisely. Previously considered whistleblowers for businesses and governments worldwide, these journalists are now part of an elite group of experts who are sought after to provide insight for companies worldwide. They are the ones that collect data and report information about financial markets for print, broadcast, and digital media. They are also the ones who tell the important stories from different brands.
Why Financial PR is important
1) Present performance to interested parties
Companies in the finance industry are aware that being transparent about financial performance with their stockholders and shareholders will help them earn a positive reputation with the general public and the people interested in the company. Usually, quarterly and annual results, including everything from revenue and net profit to dividends and employee turnover, are presented transparently.
Financial PR is essential because companies get to choose how they deliver their performance metrics and who will present them. Whether through holding a conference call to announce their results and dealing with interested investors or hiring PR professionals to create their story, the goal is to handle the reporting process affectively.
2) Advising on public-facing activities
Formal performance reports are not the only pieces of information that financial PR companies need to present. Sometimes, they will also be called on to contribute information during extensive negotiations between companies or provide insight into the industry. As mentioned before, in the financial sector, the media is less forgiving. So, smaller businesses which usually don’t have in-house experts for this usually opt to hire PR professionals who can help find ways for them to to present their finances in an effective way. Customers are now more open about their opinions of products and services and PR helps shape public perception about companies. For this reason, investing in finance PR is worthwhile for any brand.
3) Mitigating the threat of company leaks
Along the same lines, social media platforms have made it possible for people to share their thoughts freely, in front of millions of people. Sometimes this increased visibility can be a problem for brands. A brand’s reputation can take a significant hit if an employee leaks company information to the digital world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything nasty. In fact, it could just be little pieces of information that lead people to question the competence or actual intentions of the brand. With financial PR specialists, companies can get professionals to evaluate the effect branded content can have on the brand itself.
While the goal of financial PR is not to cover up any crisis, this type of PR helps a company to understand the need structure brand messaging to reflect the brand values.
Ultimately, financial PR is the art of protecting a company’s financial reputation and stock prices by creating positive information which appeals to financial journalists and bloggers who can get the message out there. It involves presenting significant financial results, consulting with media professionals to create content and stories for the general public, and supporting companies by protecting them from any crisis that may occur internally or externally.
The Importance of Local Media for Financial PR
While companies usually want to be featured in national and global news outlets rather than local media, local news outlets are also valuable. They can hold a lot of merit and elevate company exposure and credibility in the local community among ideal clients and prospects. Some benefits of local PR exposure can include:
Local media are well-respected members of the community, and as a result, they have considerable power and influence. Building partnerships with local media can be beneficial simply through association; if the local media trusts a company, the company’s audience and potential customers will as well.
Although the local media is likely to have a smaller audience than national news outlets, a focused audience may have a more significant effect. The local audience is more than likely to connect with a company after seeing them on TV, reading a story about a company in print, or hearing members of the company on the radio station. Since the company and the local media are generally in the same community, community members may see a business as a friend and someone they want to collaborate with.
Google News and other search engines have also recognized the value of local news sources, so they have developed a “local source” tag. Local news organizations gain more credibility due to their inclusion in Google News and online news sites, and it’s evident that Google and other relevant search engines think they’re relevant to media coverage.
Local media placements will also assist companies in gaining national attention. Many national outlets would not simply place companies in front of the camera unless they have evidence that they can have an engaging interview and hold a conversation. However, if a company can provide footage of themselves on TV, even if it only reaches their local market, that shows how they can interact on camera. For this reason, companies might be able to land a spot on the national news.
PR Strategies for Financial Advisors
To build and maintain relationships and financial industry credibility, companies should adopt sound PR strategies. According to FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms, only 50% of Registered Investment Advisors or (RIAs) have an actual marketing or PR plan. To survive stiff the stiff competition in this industry, brands need to invest in a sound PR strategy.
1) Find a niche
Many RIAs recognize the value of identifying their target market, but they continue to operate under a business model that caters to the general public. An advisor can easily get lost in the crowd as a result of this. Financial advisors should not only know whom they’re trying to meet but also identify a niche that would best fit their needs
Rather than attempting to be everything to everyone, financial companies and advisors need to set themselves apart from the competitors by focusing on a single market and dominating it. More people can see a company’s content if they take a more broad approach. Defining a niche based on a company’s values and interests, on the other hand, can result in significantly higher conversion rates among people who share those values.
2) Use social media
Social media has progressed beyond a place where people share funny cat videos and photos about vacations and brunches. Everyone from the up-and-coming to world-renowned academics now uses Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to promote themselves. This means that financial advisors can, and should, establish an active social media presence. In fact, social media is the perfect place to connect with your audiences on a personal level by having conversations and breaking down complex financial issues into something they can understand.
Once companies start posting on social media, they can monitor metrics and gather data to learn more about consumer preferences. They should effectively keep track of the number and type of user interactions and how they change in response to different kinds of posts or keywords. From there, companies can then figure out what works and what doesn’t. Effective data analysis software will assist companies in making sense of the data they have collected.
3) Reveal the wizard
The National Association of Retirement Plan Participants estimates that only 8% of people trust financial institutions. While presenting a company as a financial institution might seem like the best option and the most natural, it can also land them a significant amount of scrutiny and skepticism. But, if a company were to present the faces behind the brand, rather than just presenting another financial institution, they will be able to connect better with their audiences.
Since people connect personally with stories, sharing your brand story could help you to build positive relationships with your audience. Even so, while sharing your brand story is important, it is also imperative to maintain a professional demeanour. Companies can create a compelling narrative for their company by using brand storytelling. If they can craft compelling stories, then they can captivate the public and grow their audiences.
4) Prioritize media relations
To gain media coverage and be successful, financial companies and advisors must develop and maintain good relationships with the media. Media relations can take different forms, including earned media from journalists, partnerships with social media influencers, brand ambassadors, and more. Ultimately, your media relations efforts are supposed to help you build positive relationships with the media.
While it is equally important to use traditional marketing approaches, advances in technology and the PR landscapes have provided the need to gain the attention of third-party media outlets. In fact, only through positive relationships with journalists and media professionals can financial institutions significantly increase their outreach results.
In order to do this right, brands need to take time to connect with media professionals personally. In other words, you need to build a relationship with your target journalists before you start pitching them to ask for favours.
Even so, brands need to focus on building relationships with media professionals who are relevant to the business. To determine this, companies should create a media list of contact names and information so that they know exactly whom to reach when it is time to start a conversation. It is essential to initiate a conversation with the relevant people on your media list weeks before the actual launch date of your product or service.
Maintain an ongoing conversation with your media contacts until you have built a solid relationship. When you need media coverage, you can approach these people with a preexisting relationship and not as a stranger. While it can take time to develop a good relationship with media professionals, this is more effective than sending cold pitches.
5) Understand the importance of digital PR
As mentioned previously, while traditional marketing and PR still hold some merit, the current landscape of PR has shifted towards digital. This has pushed PR professionals and companies to focus on identifying target audiences and converting leads into potential customers.
Digital PR differs from traditional PR in terms of the platforms it relies on to achieve its goals. PPC, social media, paid social, content marketing, SEO, artistic, and web creation are all channels that businesses use when implementing digital PR strategies. Though there are some distinctions, a financial institution’s successful PR approach should include a combination of conventional and digital platforms.
As mentioned previously, being visible in local news and on high-traffic and reputable news sites helps companies to establish a positive image and boost credibility among their target market and the general public. Furthermore, building a comprehensive digital PR strategy allows businesses to boost their online presence by helping them to feature in relevant search results across search engines. A well-crafted strategy should ensure that a company is featured in high-traffic online publications so that they can generate leads, and later turn these leads into customers.
6) Measure the success
Several performance metrics can be used to assess the effectiveness of public relations campaigns. Many advisors want to see hard numbers. These can be obtained through client satisfaction surveys, and recommendation monitoring. A clear understanding of lag and lead steps will also help financial institutions assess the value of their public relations plans, either after they’ve been completed or in the middle of the process.
Digital PR has now given companies easy access to tools which they can use to analyze all the content they have created as well as the earned media they’ve obtained. This makes it easier for them to see what material has gotten attention and what hasn’t. They will then determine what went wrong with the content they produced, allowing them to communicate with their consumers based on their preferences.
Regardless of what industry a company is in, they must implement traditional and digital PR strategies to achieve effective media coverage. This is especially the case in an industry like finance, where less than 10% of people fully trust financial institutions. Ultimately, effective PR should get their existing and potential audiences to trust them.