BUILDING A PR PROGRAM
A well-conceived public relations strategy is the most cost-effective way to gain visibility and credibility in the market. While direct marketing efforts are always important for generating inflows, small firms need to build a “buzz” around them to add credibility to their marketing.
All firms have a story to tell. They just need to make it buzz worthy and get it out through the media.
To succeed, a firm must think about the story it wants to tell and research and target the publications and reporters that might be interested. Then, pitch them a story that can't be turned down.
While many firms have experience working with the media, they tend to treat it more like answering incoming questions from reporters. With this reactive approach, the answers are not always well prepared.
PR IS A MARATHON NOT A SPRINT
Whether a firm engages a professional or keeps PR in-house, someone should be dedicated to the effort. PR is a proactive process: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. By creating and nurturing personal relationships, opportunities for good media coverage can result.
WHAT SETS YOUR FIRM APART?
Before initiating a PR program, executives and spokespeople need to come to consensus on how to talk about the firm and what makes it different from all the rest. Those messages must be compelling and have the buy-in of all the top executives.
The firm owes it to its fund managers to ensure they present the best possible face of the firm. It’s possibly the firm may only get one chance to get in front of a Wall Street Journal reporter or appear on CNBC. The goal is not to have the fund manager answer questions; the goal is to attract assets.
Professional media training should not be underestimated. Asset managers are intelligent and articulate. But, a PR program is not about showing the world the firm has smart people. Rather, it shows them the firm has smart people who can get their message across in the media. It can be a daunting experience to be under hot lights and getting rapid-fire questions, particularly in a remote setting using an earpiece. It takes practice, and, for many fund managers, it takes them out of their comfort zone. But, it is essential if the firm wants to appear credible with a very discerning audience.
LEVERAGE YOUR PR EFFORTS
Finally, it is essential to leverage your PR efforts. After a TV appearance or an article is published through a major outlet, use digital platforms to spread the word; send an email blast informing your clients and prospects; post the interview or article on your social media and website. It will increase your exposure as a credible thought leader and authority.
The role of fund managers must evolve from a singular focus on managing money and talking to clients. Some of the most influential marketing activities must be done by the fund manager, such as media appearances, speaking at due diligence meetings and conferences, working the trade show booth. Investors want to hear from the fund manager, not the VP of sales.
Stay tuned for our sixth installment: Managing Sales
The full report is available for download here.