Make the media your marketing partner

By Jeff Thorsteinson | July 20, 2005 | Last updated on July 20, 2005
4 min read

(July 2005) Many financial professionals are intimidated by the media. And it’s easy to understand why. When it comes to the financial services industry, the mainstream media isn’t always fair, balanced, or even well-informed.

All of this may be true, but the fact remains, financial professionals need the media. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the media is an essential tool for building a thriving wealth management practice. Why? It’s simple: if you’re unknown, it’s extremely difficult to communicate who you are, what you do, and what makes you different from the competition.

So, instead of avoiding the media, what you need to do is to develop a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship. Even better, you should become a member of the media yourself.

What is "the media"?

First things first: Most of the time when we talk about "the media," what we’re talking about is television and newspapers. These are certainly components of the media, but for most financial professionals, they are not the most important components. For the purposes of marketing a financial practice, it makes sense to define the media a little more broadly, to include journals, trade magazines, as well as professional association newsletters, radio and the Internet. All of these can be extremely effective tools to get your message out, and build credibility with prospects and centres-of-influence (COIs).

What can the media do for me?

It’s simple: the media publishes financial content. And published content leads to credibility, both with prospects and COIs. The good news is, the media needs content from you, particularly if that content is relevant and interesting to their audience. And that makes sense: you are an experienced professional working with real-life clients. This is the essence of the win-win that the media offers: in return for content and/or opinions from you, an expert in your field, they are willing to provide you with much-needed exposure and credibility. Understand the reciprocal nature of this relationship, and you can understand how best to use the media to market your practice.

Quotations and comments

Even if you’re not a writer, you can still participate in the media. By offering up expert opinion and commentary to journalists and columnists working the personal finance beat, you can gain exposure and get your message out to a broad audience. This can be an extremely effective way to boost credibility. Prospects and COIs see you as an established expert — someone the media trusts to provide an interesting, well-informed opinion on a variety of financial topics.

Publishing content

Another option is to write your own content, and offer it to the media for publication. This can be an exceptionally powerful method of establishing presence in an over-crowded market, or opening up communication with a given niche of prospects or COIs. Choose a handful of topics that are suited to the publication’s audience, and write a brief (500-600 word) article that explains the topic and provides guidance to readers. For busy editors working under tight deadlines, this kind of ready-to-publish content is welcome.

Become a "journalist"

Taking the above idea one step further, you could write articles that require you to interview key prospects or COIs. By taking on the role of journalist, you offer your COIs the same thing the media offers you: credibility, presence, and the ability to communicate their expertise to a broader audience. This can be a great icebreaker when you call an unknown COI to interview them in an area of their expertise.


Publishing is like other forms of marketing: the more often you do it, the more effective it will be. If you want to build credibility through the media, you must be included more than once. The way to do that is to get yourself on a "go-to" list whenever a given journalist or writer needs a pithy quotation or sound bite. For those writing their own content, the ideal scenario is to sign on for a long-term agreement to supply content for a given publication. The constant "dripping" of content will help build your credibility over time.

Be available

You’ll notice that the same people are interviewed and included in articles. That’s because they understand the extremely tight deadlines that journalists and writers work under. They know that when members of the media call, they can’t wait hours for you to return the call-by then, the journalist will have found another advisor to quote. If you’re serious about building your professional profile through the media, you need to do business on their schedule — that means returning calls promptly, making sure your receptionist knows to put calls through, and making time for interviews whenever possible.

Making the media a valuable member of your marketing team can actually help you build your practice in a way that would be very difficult to do by yourself.

Jeff Thorsteinson is the creator of the YouFoundation, an organization that has helped advisors build world-class practices through innovative concepts, tools, and systems since 1993. Contact or 1 800-223-9332, ext. 21, for more information to help you build your referral business. Or visit the website at


Jeff Thorsteinson