Two Donts for Financial Planners Seeking Free Publicity

Many of my clients have had the misguided perception that they won't be able to get media coverage from a publication that their larger competitors advertise in. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most respectable publications erect a wall separating advertising and editorial (news/feature) coverage. Reporters and editors are specifically instructed to not give preferential treatment to advertisers. It's one of the first things you learn in Journalism 101. Many larger publications are so cautious about this; they end up actually being less likely to write articles about or containing quotes from advertisers.

This leads to two very important "don'ts":

  • Don't give up hope of getting quoted in or writing an article for a publication just because you don't advertise in it.
  • Don't ever suggest to a media person that they should use your story because you are an advertiser. This will irreparably damage your reputation with the media.
  • There is a small minority of publications that do give advertisers favorable editorial coverage. I argue that these are publications to stay away from.

    Remember, the point of media coverage isn't to get your name in print, but to influence potential customers. If you saw a favorable article about a vendor next to a full-page ad for the same vendor, how likely would you be to trust the article?

    The wall between advertising and editorial is a time-honored journalism tradition. Crashing into a wall usually hurts, so don't try it!

    Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit or call 212-243-8383.

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