The FBAA has called for brokers to seek further media opportunities to promote not just their own business, but the third-party channel too, highlighting its benefits for consumers.
FBAA chief executive Peter White said recent comments by regulators and some media stories may cause some consumers to misunderstand the role of brokers, and therefore it is up to the industry to sell its message with greater intensity.
“As an industry body, we have been working hard across the mainstream media for some time, commenting on major issues and ensuring that finance brokers are promoted,” he said.
The association has been working with corporate public relations firm Mercer PR for the past two years, and believes the relationship has generated beneficial media exposure.
However, Mercer PR principal Lyall Mercer said individual brokers can also be effective in generating positive coverage in the media.
“The more people see brokers giving quality advice, the more confidence they will have in using a finance broker,” he said.
Mr Mercer said brokers could offer their local media expert opinion when interest rates change or when the subject of finance is already in the news.
“If there is a finance-related national story, the local media are often looking for a local comment, and they like to profile a broker on the ground who is dealing with the public,” he said.
Mr Mercer said public relations is different from advertising in that a broker’s qualifications, experience and knowledge will position them as the expert.
“If a broker is not confident dealing with media, a little training goes a long way,” he added.
The editor of The Adviser, James Mitchell, said that when dealing with the media, being proactive is key.
“In today's constantly changing market, brokers are in the perfect position to reach out to the media and build their profile as experts in their field,” Mr Mitchell said.
“While we will continue to report on the latest regulatory changes from APRA and ASIC, news doesn't always have to come from the top down. Brokers want to read about what other brokers are doing, how they're growing their businesses and dealing with ongoing market conditions.
“We recently ran a story from a broker who reached out to us on how the regulatory changes could impact offset mortgages. This is the perfect example of how brokers can engage with us. Any of your observations on industry changes, best practice and marketing tips make for a good story. Engaging with The Adviser is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader and proactive finance professional.”
Mr Mitchell suggests the following tips when it comes to dealing with anyone from the media:
• Be proactive. Get to know relevant journalists across your local and industry press, and provide them with story ideas from your business or comments on wider issues.
• Have something to say. Journalists will love you if you have something thoughtful or unique to say; they (generally) aren’t interested in what you had for breakfast.
• Don’t give one-word answers. You’re being given the chance to comment publicly, so use the opportunity to your advantage.
• Provide clear, concise quotes. That makes it easier for a journalist to get to the heart of what you are saying.
• Avoid being pushy. It can be exciting to be interviewed, but contacting a journalist every five minutes wanting to know when the story will appear is not a good idea. Journalists are busy people with strict deadlines to meet.
• Don’t be afraid of speaking to the media. Some people can be afraid of talking to journalists, but just remember that they are people too. So don’t be afraid to actually have a chat with a journalist – you never know, you could just be a front page story waiting to happen.
[Related: FBAA cautious over FHB super scheme]
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