fintech pr

FinTech PR: How to Build or Maintain a Positive Public Image

Note from Garit: This article is part of a series on FinTech marketing. This article was written by Amanda Triest, a Public Relations veteran who I’ve worked with quite a bit.

She’s one of the best, and I definitely follow her advice on all things PR-related.

Public Relations (PR) can be one of the smartest ways to invest time and money. Over the last decade, I’ve created and executed award-winning PR campaigns for a multitude of brands, companies, and individuals. 

These campaigns resulted in helping my clients obtain:

  • Media coverage
  • Positive brand awareness
  • Venture capital investments
  • New partnerships
  • New clients
  • Valuable SEO backlinks

Of all the industries I’ve focused on, FinTech is one with the most to gain from a thoughtful and strategic PR strategy. 

Unfortunately, many don’t reap the rewards of PR because they have huge misconceptions about its true purpose. PR is not meant to provide instant gratification, stroke egos, or impress LinkedIn connections. 

PR’s goal is simple: build or maintain a positive, public image. And, successful campaigns are built from the ground up, taking time and expertise to craft and execute.  

New to PR? Here’s where to start.

Build a Plan & Set Goals 

media coverage through fintech pr

Like many things in life, the worst thing you can do is start a project without a goal in mind. 

Think about it: you wouldn’t go to Home Depot and spend thousands of dollars on lumber and supplies without knowing what you want to build, right? Talk about a waste of time and money. The same thing applies to PR.

Identify Your Audience 

The first step in creating a PR plan is to identify your audience. Or perhaps audiences. 

In the past, I’ve had clients that told me they wanted to leverage PR to build brand awareness. This statement leads to a follow up from me: “Brand awareness among whom?” And then, usually comes the inevitable response — “Everyone!” 

If your goal is to reach “everyone” with PR, you need to take a big step back. PR is not meant to reach everyone. It is meant to reach specific, targeted audiences that will help your business reach a goal. 

PR is not meant to reach everyone. It is meant to reach specific, targeted audiences that will help your business reach a goal.

Here are specific audiences that you may want to leverage PR tactics to help you reach: 

  • Customers 
  • Potential Partners 
  • Investors

Measurable & Specific 

Most importantly, when you’re setting goals, make sure they SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

A generic goal such as “secure coverage” is abstract and can mean many things to different people. Goals should be defined and definitive so there is no room for interpretation of success at the end of the day. 

Here are two examples of goals that you could have for PR: 

  1. Secure 2-4 interviews for the company CEO within the next 60 days 
  2. In 2021, secure feature story in industry publication like WIRED or TechCrunch 

PR goals should always ladder back to helping achieve larger business goals, and setting the goals can actually take more time than most people think they will. 

Often there is a bit of back and forth between the PR expert and the company about what realistic goals are. But, goal setting is the only way to know if your PR campaign has netted the desired results and if you’ve gotten your return on investment. 

Define Your Narrative 

PR is the storyteller of your company. 

PR efforts can be leveraged to get the word out about newsworthy announcements like fundraises, C-suite changes, partnerships, or product launches.  

It can also serve as a way to help create feature stories and coverage in larger editorial pieces that convey industry trends. Keep in mind that FinTech is a crowded sector, so it’s important to develop a narrative that will help you break through the noise. 

One of the key areas that your company can focus on is differentiation and what makes your company or product different from others in the industry. 

In FinTech, PR affords the opportunity to make very technical subjects and Doctorate-level expertise easier to understand and relevant. Remember, while you may be an expert in the field, knowing all the acronyms and insights, others are not. 

PR is the tool that affords the opportunity to humanize an individual’s expertise or a company’s technology or data. 

Create Collateral

The 24/7 news world that we live in makes the jobs of journalists extremely difficult. It’s hard for reporters to stay on top of all the different news stories and possible angles, not to mention reporters are bombarded with emails. 

Here’s what two journalists shared with One Pitch about their inboxes

  • “I have 57,000 unread emails in my inbox [from the past two to three years],” — Max Willens, platforms reporter, Digiday. 
  • “I probably have somewhere close to 1600 emails at any given time. It’s, it’s a lot.” — Jacob Krol, associate tech writer for CNN Underscored. 

Due to the chaos of inboxes and competing attention of reporters, a PR professional’s job is to make a journalist’s job easier. 

busy journalist checking emails

This involves communicating information in a clear, concise, and organized fashion. To do this, it’s important to make sure that you create compelling, easy-to-understand collateral that helps journalists understand your company, key messages, and compelling narrative. 

Here are the different types of collateral that each PR push should have: 

  1. Press Release or Fact Sheet. Crafting a formal press release or fact sheet allows you to summarize your announcement, giving a reporter everything they need for a basic story in one place. Whether paragraphs or bullet points, these documents are the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the story you want to tell. 
  2. Visuals. Select a handful of images or screenshots that help communicate what your company and products do. 
  3. Headshots & Bios. Put a face to your company by sharing professional headshots of leadership and subject matter experts that are available for interviews. Include biographical summaries of their role at the company and expertise. 
  4. Video. While not always necessary, a video can help a reporter quickly understand how your product works. 

Make The Right Connections 

In the words of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington: “Treat PR like biz dev.”  

That means you’re going to need to keep a keen eye on publications that you’d like to be included in and reporters that you’d like to build a working relationship with. 

Making connections with the media comes down to time and effort. The most successful PR pros spend copious amounts of time reading, researching, social stalking, and engaging with media connections when there isn’t news to talk to about. 

You’ll have to do this too, but first, you’ll need to pick outlets and reporters that cover the types of news or information that you’re willing to share or want to be associated with. 

In the words of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington: “Treat PR like biz dev.” 

Once you’ve landed media friendlies, one of the best ways to keep the relationship alive is to ask for a quarterly “off-the-record” meeting to share trends or insights that you may have, along with updates about your company. 

Your job is to become a highly valuable resource for that reporter, so they are checking in with you, just as often as you are with them. 

PR is an incredibly valuable tool in the arsenal of tactics that can help bolster a company’s or individual’s visibility and credibility. 

But the most important thing to remember is that you only get out of PR what you put into it. PR is all about time, patience, and perseverance. 

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to PR, hire a professional. This is one area of your business you can’t afford to ignore or worse — do wrong.

The previous article in this series discusses the anatomy of a successful FinTech SEO campaign.

Feel free to reach out if you’re looking for a FinTech marketing agency.

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