You are making it very difficult

Noam Stiekema

A look at how a few small changes in thinking and a few simple tweaks to your website can attract media attention and keep you in the news.

PR communications for brokers

Just a short one today but quite a serious thing to pay attention to if you deal directly with customers.

Over the past week we have been in contact with various brokerages around the world in order to arrange interviews with their CEOs.

Whilst we often have direct relationships with most executives in this business worldwide which makes this process quicker, we insisted on using the regular channels in order to arrange interviews to encourage the process as a whole.

The regular channels in most cases are: visit the website, find the contact section and usually the media relations or PR department’s contact details will be listed there. Even better when a broker has a fully fledged Media Relations section.

Why is this important? Firstly, if your brokerage is up and coming or an existing powerhouse, not having a PR or Communications Manager is poor form. Secondly, you are under-utilizing one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing channels out there.

Yes, you guessed it, the media!

As usual, without naming or shaming, well over a majority of brokerages out there offer no further contact details besides the standard set of emails (sales@, info@ et al) and consequent phone numbers.

Not a biggy. I hit the live chat button and if not prompted to sign up first (and end up on another lead list and spam for the next two years), I ask the simple question of “who do I contact regarding media enquiries?”

What happens next is amazing… Total shock, confusion and poor customer support. It almost feels as though there is a fear of negative press thus tend to go on the defensive instantly.

“No sir, no media contact person- what do you need? What do you want to write about? For which site?”

“No sir, no marketing manager either”… and eventually I give up and resort to my trusty LinkedIn search waiting for my connection requests to be approved in order to touch base with the right folk.

Who is doing it right?

I have to admit, some of the bigger firms really came out strong and set an amazing example of how to do it.

IG Group  what a pleasure. Got what I needed in a few seconds (from their main site).

Saxo Bank  – another classic example of doing it right.

CMC Markets – Exemplary

What you can do right now to improve.

Here are some suggestions to quickly get yourself ready for some great media coverage by simply making it easy for journalists to get in touch.

The beauty of this is also having a dedicated person to deal with media inquiries and an easy to access portal; will also allow you to work better with negative coverage should that be the case.

  • Appoint a dedicated media relations’, PR / Communications manager. If you don’t already have one on the team, the investment is priceless considering the work a dedicated and skilled communications guru can do with almost ZERO budget for marketing and branding of the company.
  • If hiring one is not an option- there are some good companies that work on contractual or per job basis such as Wachsman PR (NYC) or Monk Communications and Wigwam PR in the UK.
  • Update your website to at the minimum, include a pr@ or media@ contact email address and phone number.
  • Create a portal on your website such as above examples that are about the company. This should include:
  • Executive management- photos, bios and how to contact them (either direct or through the general office number). This adds transparency, puts a face to the brand and shows you are going places.
  • A media kit- assets such as photos of the executive team, office and high resolution logos and other creatives. You have no idea how easy this makes it for journalists.
  • Useful data like when the company was founded, history, volumes et al. No need to inflate. Give what you can but a simple history of the company in simple by date format is great.
  • In the news / press section- show off when you are featured in the news. This also encourages more interaction and engagement with the media. The media love those that want to engage.

Don’t do it 10% better- do it 10 times better!

If someone on your front facing service team cannot hold a conversation in the main language you are offering your service in, or simply cannot comprehend basic questions like “do you have a media contact person” or anything beyond the usual sales script they should not be holding this position.

This slows down support, frustrates and gives your company a terrible first impression.

To gain further perspective on how to do things properly, FinanceFeeds spoke to Tony Cross, owner of Monk Communications in Britain, an industry specialist with 15 years experience, who explained “Brokers can get valuable exposure through the media, but they need to accept that the high quality news outlets want to be telling their readers compelling stories.

Being just another MT4 platform with no differentiators is unlikely to generate much meaningful interest, but having justifiable opinions on the latest innovations – be that in terms of technology, regulation, or even the market itself – is what sets brokers apart.”

“It’s also important to be responsive – make sure you know when the deadline is and adhere to it. If you’ve got knowledgeable insight and can deliver that in a timely manner, the journalist is going to be that much more likely to come back in the future. And if you’ve nothing to contribute on this occasion, just let the media know – they have a column to file regardless” – Tony Cross, Owner, Monk Communications

“A good PR will work with the client to help them identify the stories that are of interest to the media, build that relationship with the target journalist and then keep the rapport going to ensure they can be seen as a reliable and trusted source for comment” concluded Mr. Cross.

I am a firm believer that positions on the front line (mainly support) are your most important. A good first impression or quick response works wonders even when you are in the wrong.

The same is true for your PR / Comms team. Answer quick. Journalists often require news out fast. Whether it be a comment on a topic, a market commentary or simply a quick article. Get it out fast as the boat sails very quickly as journalist are busy and ideas / topics for articles get old very quickly.

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