One Rule to Follow for Financial Planners When it Comes to Public Relations


Advice about business and life often gets around to one of those “80-20” rules. As in, “80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers or activities.” Here’s my twist on this for publicity and marketing:

Build no more than 20% of your publicity and marketing activities around yourself.

I know. Sounds crazy. “What else besides me would I showcase in my promotions?” a sane person might ask.

But hear me out. Think of all the advertising and marketing messages you’re barraged with all day. Do you welcome them? Do you feel, right now, like hearing from one more person, one more time, about how great their product or service is?

Well, neither does anyone else.

So there’s the problem with building your whole marketing or PR campaign around your credentials, or the superb service or product you offer. Sorry to break the news, but most folks just don’t care.

So the question becomes, what do they care about? And what should you build 80% of your PR around?

Here’s my simple to answer. You even knew it all along, because it applies to you too. Most people care most about one thing.


And that’s why any financial planner should build 80% of their publicity around what the prospect cares about.

Here’s what I mean: Your service helps people. You help them solve a problem, or enable them to delegate a task they’d rather avoid. Every day, you share and apply the highly specialized expertise and professional knowledge you’ve acquired over years.

So that’s what your PR should be all about - 80% of it, at least. Especially your media publicity. Because in the media, information rules. It’s the fuel that drives our society’s vast media machine.

The media love only one thing more than information, and that's people's problems. And didn’t we just say that you're an expert on solving those, too?

The formula's simple: talk to your prospects--via the media--about their needs and the problems they face. Share the information and insights you have on these topics. If you do a lot of retirement planning, send information on the latest changes in IRAs. I you specialize in mutual funds, send them information about the newest and best places for people to put their money. If you do, the media will quote or interview you on the topic. Believe it or not, reporters can’t live without articulate experts to interview. Approaching them, and offering your services, is not difficult. Instant—and free—publicity for you!

And finally, if and when you are compelled to mention yourself, do yourself a favor. Skip the adjectives and superlatives. All of them. Because media folks aren’t impressed.

The remaining 20% of your PR? Go ahead and write some press releases about the awards you won, about the new office you opened, about your great skills. It can’t hurt. But don’t think for a minute the media will embrace it as big news.

So remember the 80-20 rule. Give the media and your prospects useful information they need, and let them reach their own informed decision that you’re a good resource. I have seen countless professionals and businesses become media successes following this route. Share your expertise and wisdom. A little bit of it, you’ll find, goes a long way.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of "102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice." To learn more visit his website.

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Tags: financial public relations, public relations, financial planning, PR

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