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PR Like the Pros—Five DIY Tips for Advisors

Public relations doesn’t have to be painful or expensive. Learn do-it-yourself strategies to help grow your client list.

Public relations (PR) can help raise your visibility and grow your client list, but many financial advisors worry PR will either prove labor intensive or cost too much. These fears are often unfounded. There are many simple ways to expand your client network and increase your brand presence while investing little time and money. Here are five tried-and-true public relations tips to set yourself apart from the crowd.

1. Fine-tune your audience.
The critical first step is defining your target audience. Different investors have different needs and expectations. It's impossible to be everything to everyone. Instead, narrow your focus to a few specific audiences, such as young professionals, new parents or recent retirees. This way, you can tailor your message to the right audience and pick the best platform to engage with each one. Instagram and text messages may help you target twenty-something professionals who need insight on planning their financial futures. Facebook and email are better for an older audience seeking retirement advice.

2. Build brand, boost buzz.
Now that you've pinpointed your audience, it's time to think about your personal brand. Your brand is more than a logo or mission statement—it's how you present yourself to the world. Spend some time thinking through your brand identity: Who are you? What kind of business do you want to run? What are your values? What is your expertise? What do you bring to your clients that nobody else can?

Once you have a concrete image of your personal brand, you can move forward with clarity and consistency when sharing your brand with others. Review all of your client-facing materials for alignment. Do your website and brochures capture the qualities that make your practice unique? If not, it may be time for an update. Use this as an opportunity to allow your own voice to shine through.

3. Engage in events.
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Offer to speak at your local business school or to civic organizations. Consider hosting a fun seminar series about financial planning at your local coffee shop. These types of events help you reach and connect with a new audience. Make sure to highlight your brand and, over time, these connections can turn into new clients.

But what is the point of an amazing event if nobody attends? There are some great cost-effective ways to help promote your event to new audiences. Social media advertising is a relatively inexpensive way to reach your target audience. Placing flyers in key locations can also help raise awareness. Most newspapers and business journals have calendars of events where announcements can be placed free of charge. And don't forget good old fashioned word of mouth. Make sure to invite your current clients and offer an incentive if they bring a friend.

4. Media Relations.
Mentions in local and national publications can increase your visibility as a financial advisor. Potential clients will view you as an authority on money matters. The more press, the better. Don't know where to start? Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out (HARO)—an email service that connects subject matter experts with reporters seeking insights on a variety of topics, including finance. Once you develop a rapport with a reporter or editor, you may even get opportunities to contribute regularly to columns commenting on shifting markets or financial services.

5. Content Creation: Social Media and Blogging.
A professional social media presence goes way beyond LinkedIn. While still an important resource for networking, you can raise your profile by using at least one other social media platform. Make sure to maintain professionalism in your posts, but keep the tone light. You want your audience to feel like they're having an authentic, conversational interaction with you. Repost financial articles you find interesting, motivational quotes, promotions for events you are speaking at and more.

You might also want to consider starting a blog. By focusing on meaningful topics that fit your brand, blogging allows you to connect with your target audience on a deeper level. For many people, financial planning can seem scary, but a blog provides you with the opportunity to soften the concept and make it friendlier for clients and potential clients alike.

Final Thoughts.
Whether for social media or a blog, make sure all graphics and photos you use are high-quality and consistent with your brand image. It's also essential to make sure images are not copyrighted. If you don't want to create your own, search for websites that provide images for public use. But most important, confirm the social and media posts meet your firm's compliance requirements.

Public relations is a great way to express who you are as a financial advisor. Plus, you get to have some fun in the process. By enhancing your brand with creative content targeted at your ideal audience, you can work some public relations magic. You'll be well on your way to getting your name out there and growing your business.



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