In theory, independent advisers should dominate the national press and media. If we are in the privi...
In theory, independent advisers should dominate the national press and media. If we are in the privileged position of recommending the very best financial products to the public at large, then the stage is set for us to be quoted in virtually every article written by the press. Why speak to a specific product provider when you can get an impartial and independent perspective from an adviser?
This seems simple in theory, so why don't we just get on and do it? The problem is the reality is not that simple. If you are keen to build a relationship with the press, you need an awful lot more than just the will to do it.
First and foremost, you need to be trusted by the press. This can only come with time and there are no short-cuts. You have to know what you say is correct and accurate. Only when you have won this trust will you be in the running to give press comment.
If you decide to go down this route, then dig in for the long run and recognise the fact you may be giving yourself a potential millstone for a long time.
For example, are you or your partner really prepared for a 5.15am telephone call so you can speak on BBC Radio 5 at 5.45am? Do you really want the 11pm Friday evening call when a journalist needs to check something before a deadline?
The press usually want you to be available immediately and a delay of a few hours can be interpreted as a breach of the trust you have spent years developing. Remember: they have got deadlines and pressures of their own. Personally, I have always been in awe of how journalists can write so many diverse articles in just one week.
This brings me to expertise: you really have to know your stuff. Journalists can make themselves experts on a particular subject in less time than it takes to dream up a Consultative Paper. This is not a skill many advisers have and should not be taken lightly. If they know more than you about a subject, you should not be surprised if they do not call you back.
Also, it is probably not worth employing a PR company if you are a small organisation. In my experience, many journalists are not particularly keen on them and nothing beats personal relationships. The trust should be with you rather than with your PR company.
Now, the bits you probably don't want to hear about. The following is what a good relationship with the press will not do for your organisation:
• Revolutionise/transform your business overnight.
• Get investors storming the ramparts.
• Always give you what you want ' or expect.
So, before starting down the road to becoming a press commentator, a few questions to ask yourself:
• Do you really want it?
• Are you prepared to do it long term?
• Are you capable?
• Can you be available all the time?
• Can you make a difference?
Graham Hooper is marketing director of Holden Meehan Independent Financial Advisers
Went into administration April 2018
Threat of legal action looms over Woodford IM
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Retirement Planner Forum 2019