In the digital era, the media tour is more valuable than ever

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At Gregory FCA, we pride ourselves on being the connecting link between financial services firms and influential financial media outlets. In our current 24-hour news cycle, reporters can pursue various avenues to obtain expert information, so how does one stand out as a go-to source? Phone interviews, while effective and convenient, only give reporters a small glimpse of your personality and scope of expertise.

Recently, we coordinated a day of media meetings in New York City for client Ted Peters, Chairman and CEO of Bluestone Financial Institutions Fund (pictured above). Jetting from one meeting to the next got me thinking:  Digital connectivity has fueled the nonstop news environment, and reporters need easy-access to sources who can feed the increased content demand. But, what does that mean for traditional, in-person meetings between reporters and their sources? Are media tours any more or less important than they were before the dawn of our digital era?

Seeing how the producers, anchors, editors and reporters responded to their time with Ted, I can say that they might be more important than ever. Here’s how to make the most of a well-planned media tour:

Be ready to turn on the charm during in-person meetings. 

Reporters schedule numerous phone interviews each week. Coordinating an in-person meeting gives them the opportunity to connect a name with a face. This also allows for more casual conversation, so that reporters can get a broader view of your background by picking your brain about banking, the markets, retirement, etc. This is the time to engage the journalist behind the story-specific Q&A.

Let them know you’re in tune with their world and relate to their work. 

Take these interviews as an opportunity to flex your current events muscles. Are you keeping your eye on an upcoming earnings report, Fed meeting or national headline? Let them know! Additionally, seize this moment to complement recent stories by that reporter that resonated with you.

While on our media tour, Ted and I had the privilege of meeting with Jim Sterngold at The Wall Street Journal. Having read The Journal every day throughout his professional career, Ted’s eyes glimmered like a kid in a candy store walking through the newsroom. His personal connection made his visit with the media powerhouse all the more memorable and demonstrated to Jim his full understanding of his reporting purpose.

Show the media you can be a resource on reactive issues as well as look-ahead stories. 

What are you working on at your firm? Don’t hesitate to share your recent work with the media, as it demonstrates your value to the industry as a whole. Is your firm changing how it structures portfolios? Are you pushing into a new service area? Being responsive to their story needs, as well as sharing good ideas for future reference, is a natural way to increase your value and versatility as a source.

Ask reporters if you can help with any other stories they have in the works.

This simple gesture often goes a long way with the media as it signals your understanding of their work. More importantly, it conveys that you are aware of the overall sense of urgency in financial news and are happy to serve as a resource for future projects.

Remember, in this digitally-driven media arena, the demand for sources and soundbites is soaring, but the opportunity to stand out remains scarce. Media tours can be effective in breaking through the noise, if you know how to play the game. So, when planning the next phase of your firm’s PR and marketing efforts, don’t overlook the potential value of in-person media relations.