I recently caught up with ProfNet member, Crystal Cooper, a senior account executive at public relations firm, Porter Novelli.
She told me how she continues to gain media exposure for her clients using ProfNet. “We have been able to strategically use ProfNet requests on related topics to get our message heard. In just this year alone, we have garnered more than 40 million media impressions with the help of ProfNet queries. Our original media impression goal for the entire year was 25 million impressions. We have far surpassed that by mid-year!”
ProfNet has given her client, the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, an opportunity to talk to top-tier financial and general public publications about the importance of fixed indexed annuities as part of a balanced retirement portfolio. Most recently, her client was quoted in a DepositAccounts.com. She has also gotten her clients into MoneyRates.com as well as a bylined piece published in Thomas Reuters Westlaw.
I wanted to hear some tips for how to successfully respond to reporters’ queries straight from the source. Here’s what she had to say:
How do you choose which ProfNet queries to respond to each day?
I only choose topics that are relevant to IALC, and I never try to make something fit if it doesn’t. It’s important to never waste a reporter’s time by pitching something that isn’t relevant. IALC’s messaging on fixed indexed annuities is very specific, so it can be a challenge. But, they are experts on the retirement industry as a whole. So, I choose topics that allow my client to offer value to the reporter, while at the same time solidifies my client as a leader and expert in the space.
What do you include in a typical response?
In the subject line, I say “ProfNet Query: Then the name of the topic.” I do this because I know reporters get a lot of pitches in general, so this is my way of letting the reporter know, this is not a typical pitch, this a response to something you requested. The pitch, is short, but comprehensive. So, I simply say, in so many words, hey, in reference to your query, I have this person for you. Here is a little about him, here is a little about what he has to say on your topic. Then I end it with a question, would you like to talk with him further. Sometimes, the email I gave is enough, and they just pull tidbits from that. Sometimes they want an interview.
Do you have tips for PR people for responding to ProfNet queries?
Don’t try to make a subject fit just because it’s in a top-tier or target publication. You could end up damaging the relationship with the reporter, or you could end up getting a media hit that the client doesn’t consider a “win.” I do believe in the follow up, simply because it is possible for an email to get lost in the clutter. But, after one follow up, leave it alone. Always, always, always, reach out to the reporter after the article. Just a simple email saying “great read, thanks for including my client,” goes a long way! The follow through has led to reporters reaching out to me for other stories. In fact, the other link I provided for the annuities article is from a relationship that I nurtured from follow through on articles placed with ProfNet. This article specifically talks about annuities, a huge *win* for the client.
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