3 Topics Finance Reporters Will Continue To Write About In 2017

Navigating the media landscape is often times difficult. There never seems to be a slow day in the news, especially considering the 24 hour news cycle and its coverage of all local, national and international happenings. In the world of media where every story development is dictated by breaking news, world events and as new publications emerge from the depths of the internet; how do you know what the hot topics will be?

 We spoke to a handful of reporters who cover topics regarding finance, investing and money, and found three themes they believe will dominate headlines for the foreseeable future.

 The Disruptor: Fintech Companies

The integration of finance and technology or fintech is changing the tainted stigma traditional financial institutions have carried for decades. New fintech companies are taking it upon themselves to change how investors and potential investors perceive the industry by breaking down the barriers-of-entry and making investing more relatable by removing industry jargon. A handful of automated investment apps marketed towards the normal everyday person have truly disrupted the industry by swooping up younger generations who are turning to algorithms instead of costly financial advisors to invest their money.

This switch from traditional investing through a brokerage to investing through an app is mind-blowing to generations older than Millennials. Generational attitudes toward investing and overall money will dominate headlines as the next generation under Millennials, Generation Z, is starting to flex their purchasing and investing powers.

More and more fintech companies are establishing themselves overnight with the goal of fixing common money problems ranging from investing to budgeting to payments and beyond. The integration of technology in every industry is newsworthy but in finance, an industry that’s so controversial already, the topic will surely continue to dominate the headlines.

DOL Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, the law that requires financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients officially took effect June 9. The ruling was delayed by two months because President Trump requested that the DOL review the regulation one final time to ensure investor and retiree protection.

The Rule, which has been noted to protect against another financial crisis, will remain a hot-bottom topic as all financial advisory firms are complying with the complex set of regulations. Most advisories started implementing best practices early on when the DOL rule was still being discussed by conducting a level of transparency with investors and adopting diversified investment strategies.

Those companies who have been complying with the rule before it was mandated by the DOL earlier this month have not felt the earth fall from under their feet since many compliance teams have been holding firms to fiduciary standards for quite some time now. The media reporting on this issue will track how the regulation unfolds and how advisory firms integrate the new regulations into their existing books-of-business and how advisors handle the new changes.

Some of the bigger issues of the DOL’s Rule will be whether or not the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) will be involved in the process going forward. Supporters of the Rule are calling for more collaboration between the DOL and SEC to create a uniform definition of fiduciary enforced by both overseers. More to come.  

Trump, Trump, Trump

It seems to be that every time there’s a breaking news story from Washington D.C. the markets fluctuate. Pinning market movements to the administration’s every action is not entirely accurate, but how the markets have reacted to the Trump Administration will be a topic reporters will write about for years even after Trump leaves office.

Presidential actions and policies do impact investor decisions and in turn will make markets soar or fall. The market has seen groundbreaking performance during the first 100+ days of the Trump Administration. It has yet to be seen whether it will continue to ride high for the next three and a half years. Nevertheless, the media will continue to report on how the Trump Administration and market performance are correlated.



Three Free PR Tips to Get More Customers, Credibility

I had some time at work today and decided to lay out three ways you could increase awareness and get more customers, because your comms strategy should be about awareness, customers and credibility.

  1. Affordable Surveys – Through Google, you can conduct a survey for less than $3000.
    1. Result: Lots of content, increased credibility around an issue and tons of media coverage (5+).
    2. Note: The more surveys you do, the more interest you will get.
  2. External Op-Ed and Writing Strategy – A dedicated 6-month campaign to publishing writing outside of your own website/blog.
    1. Targets: LinkedIn, Medium, Forbes, Fast Company, etc.
    2. Result: Positions executives as thought leaders, increases credibility and awareness to customers, creates more opportunity (more op-eds, speaking engagements, media coverage, etc.).
  3. Customers and Visuals – The media loves to hear from real people, and don’t forget that TV needs a visual (your app or platform doesn’t work on TV).
    1. Result: Big national TV, impactful local coverage and ongoing media coverage   

Tell us what you think- ask any questions or give feedback in the comments section . Like what you see? Sign up for updates!

Bonus Tip: You can measure the value of PR by having a call to action! Instead of just creating tips for the media like “Three things every millennial should do to XXXX,” create a “Millennial XXX Toolkit” on your website, so the media can link back to it and you will know how many people downloaded it based on media coverage.  


The Key to a Successful PR Campaign in Philanthropy? Strategic Variety

It doesn’t take an expert to know that a successful communications plan means something different for everyone - whether you’re working in fintech, education or philanthropy. Successful PR results will come from a specialized, bespoke plan that is designed to meet your individual business needs. 

Defining the Goals of PR

When we first start with a client or at the beginning of a large project, we meet with the extended team to discuss the overarching goals and the desired results of a project. Many people think the goal of PR is “to get as much media as possible.” In reality, you need to define why you want to get media in the first place. Let’s take this a step deeper.

The goal of PR could be anything –  increasing awareness of your mission or cause, educating an untapped audience, creating a dialogue with key stakeholders or elevating the credibility and current standing of your organization. Ultimately, the goal should directly correlate with impacting your organization’s business objectives.

Setting the Strategy

Once we have an idea of what your specific goals are and what success looks like to you, we build out detailed strategies to achieve these. While being in the news certainly brings brand awareness, “get as much media as possible” isn’t a strategy. To reach key audiences such as foundation leaders, project managers, and board members as well as the general public, a strategy could be something more along the line of implementing a multi-pronged media relations campaign to increase reach to specific stakeholders.

Identifying the Tactics for Executing

 What’s the best way to reach each specific stakeholder group through the media? The message you want to convey to the public will undoubtedly be different (e.g. more general or less in the “jargony" weeds) than that to a foundation’s board. For this, you’ll want to look at different publications to reach each with the right message, and this is where the multi-pronged approach comes in.

Don’t Overlook the Trades – We regularly work with trade media and often find ourselves explaining the value of pursuing these opportunities. It’s simple - trade publications are important because they drive thought leadership and brand awareness, build credibility within the industry and national media reads them. Working with trades gives you the opportunity to delve deeper into a subject matter than you would with a mainstream media outlet because their audience has a strong understanding of the philanthropic sector. Trades also often have opportunities for bylines or op-eds. Smart, timely op-eds are another tactic for sharing insightful POV while also taking the opportunity to delve deeper into a subject than an interview with a journalist would.

Mainstream, Millennial Story - In order to maximize exposure beyond the trade publications or through various influencers, it’s beneficial to focus on a mainstream or Millennial outlet that focuses on a larger and sometimes younger audience. An ideal group to target would be a young entrepreneurial and business focused audience that is looking for insight into the latest innovations, practices, ideas and people. While it’s important to tell your story to the trade audience for credibility, it’s equally as important to tap into a larger more mainstream audience for broader awareness.

Influencing an Influencer  – There are a handful of journalists who act more as an influencer than a beat reporter. Someone who follows the most inspirational and innovative works happening in the space and stays on the cutting age of what’s happening in the philanthropic sector – everything from wealth management and philanthropic giving to politics and international relations. It’s beneficial for a brand or company to be on the radar of influencers in the space because they have a built-in audience of followers that trust their opinions and regularly turn to their work for industry knowledge as well as people and trends they should be aware of. This is a great way to amplify your company or brand message.

Utilizing an academic outlet is a great way to validate findings and results. Academic outlets are widely-respected publications within the community and being published in one adds to the overall credibility of your work. It tells readers, who are often the most well versed audience, that the work you’re doing is something innovative and ground breaking in the industry. The other great thing about academic outlets is most other media outlets and journalists don’t view them as direct competitors. If anything, they too turn to their academic journals or magazines as a trusted source for research and data.

There isn’t a perfect equation for successful communications results, but ensuring that you are talking to a combination of media across a variety of publications is your best bet to reach a broader audience and come across as a leader in your industry.