Making Digital PR count for the Finance Sector

By Evolved • 13 July 2020 • 3 minutes reading time

It’s a common misconception that Digital PR for the finance sector is relatively easy where it can be very cut and dry. In reality, it can be harder than other sectors like home and lifestyle. The reason? There’s a fair few.

Let’s take a look through the main challenges and how we overcome them to land tier one coverage and award wins for businesses in the Finance sector.

Secrets to Success: How can finance brands do Digital PR well?

Navigating Red Tape

Some financial clients will need to go through a rigorous compliance process and reams of red tape in order to sign off marketing material.

If my past finance clients like Barclays and Money Guru have taught me anything, it’s the following:

  • You can never over prepare
  • It’s crucial to establish the parameters you need to stay within
  • Always get a clear ideas of SLAs from the start
  • Set expectations around quick sign off for press
  • Give yourself pre-deadlines for your deadlines
  • Anticipate and plan for unexpected delays
  • Have a back-up plan up your sleeve

A thorough Digital PR plan and calendar of the key events in your client’s sector allows you to get your campaign essentials, including quotes, prepped and approved ahead of time.

Take Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding, for example. Our client ABC Finance had calculated the costs associated beforehand so we could share the data with the press well ahead of the big day. The client ended up national press positioned as a financial expert. Which, of course, is exactly what they are.

Another example of proactive Digital PR was a campaign we created and ran for thinkmoney around the projected earnings of Love Island contestants. It worked a treat and gained some impressive results. In fact, it stood out so much that the national press got in touch asking us to collate data for our client on how much the new voice of family-favourite Peppa Pig could expect to rake in.

Other press opportunities will quite literally land on your desk and then it’s a race against competitors to provide what journalists need to cover the story to gain that all important coverage. We’ll touch on that next.

Breaking News

So a news story has broken and your client is the perfect fit. Now what?

We experienced this with personal finance client Money Guru. We’d investigated the cost of personal data on the dark web across three different marketplaces using a VPN.

The aim was to inform the public of the dangers of sharing personal data, while positioning the client as an expert in their field.

The campaign was ticking along nicely when the Facebook hack happened. We had the data on the cost of Facebook logins on the dark web, in addition to expert commentary, case studies and screenshots. In short, because it was such an out of the ordinary campaign, we had a wealth of unique data that the press needed.

So we went with the headline “Facebook logins for sale on the dark web for £3” and the rest, as they say, is history. It went viral. We gained national, international and trade press from sites like Independent, iNews, Daily Mail, Metro and New York Post, it even went on Fox News live.

In addition to the 5 industry awards the campaign has won, it’s gained over 350 backlinks with organic visibility rising by 2347% over the course of the project with the client.

Plus the unique dataset continues to pick up organic coverage nearly 2 years down the line, including over on The Register recently.

“Top tip: When dealing with a finance campaign that’s likely to have international appeal, it’s worth putting the time in to provide the dataset and any accompanying imagery in dollars, too.”

Expert Sources

If a client is an expert in their industry, then getting them to share their expertise with the media not only increases brand awareness but can land decent backlinks too.

This doesn’t always necessarily have to be to promote a campaign you’re working on. In fact, it can be as simple as providing an expert quote to an upcoming or recent financial article.

A general rule of thumb is to prep the quote for your client and then provide it for sign off, this saves time on both sides and helps with the speedy turnaround journalists are working with.

“Top tip: Time is key. A hour’s delay in a quote being signed off can mean the difference between a wealth of links or no coverage at all.”

Data Heavy Concepts

Finance campaigns have a tendency to be numbers-heavy which can prove challenging to sell into the press.

It’s vital to identify the main news hooks and simplify the messaging. We’ve garnered some fantastic award-winning results for our finance clients based on explaining a campaign in one sentence.

We all want to know how things impact our bank balance. When we first promoted Money Guru’s piece we went for the big £750 figure being the cost of all your personal data on the dark web, but it was elements like the email and Facebook logins for £3 that really hit home.

“Top tip: Try to explain your campaign in one sentence. If you struggle to do so, it may be time to simplify the messaging.”

Relationships With Journalists

Journalists are inundated with hundreds of emails so ensure your pitch is appropriate for them.

We have established relationships with journalists over time to ensure we can land strong, tier one, relevant coverage time and time again.

Dropbox and WeTransfer are incredibly effective for providing everything a journalist would need to cover the campaign. With the right signposting you can essentially create a one-stop-shop that has everything from press releases, sources and copy to images, quotes and case studies.

This approach has allowed us to make a name for ourselves as a helpful agency that goes the extra mile for journalists and that in turn means we can deliver for our clients.

“Top tip: Follow up once to your original email politely and bear in mind most journalists are expected to produce 10 articles a day. Providing everything a journalist needs in the first email to avoid them getting to touch for more information will be really appreciated and increase your chances of further coverage in the future.”

Creating Unique Campaigns in a Competitive Market

It can be hard to navigate standing out from the crowd in such a competitive market. Essentially if you’re producing the same campaigns as your competitors then it’s like walking into a room and replicating the conversation, so you’re going to blend in.

So how do you stand out? 

We’ve found that the more out of the norm we go on campaigns, the better the results. For example we created a piece from ABC Finance about the weird and wonderful things billionaires were doing to live forever which the press loved. Equally their campaign ‘You vs the Mega Rich’ grabbed the attention of journalists. You can’t beat a bit of gamification.

Digital PR for the Finance sector - example shows campaign for ABC Finance - Evolved Search

Let’s say an idea has been done before. Can you improve on it? Do you have unique data to add to it? If the answer is no, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

If you have something brilliant then evaluate the concept, try and sell it to a colleague. Do they get it? What are the stumbling blocks? Essentially justify the idea multiple times before it even hits your client’s inbox.

We’ve created some fantastic campaigns for thinkmoney that utilise the KISS principle and discuss something we’re all aware of, but don’t know the full picture.

Whether it’s the landmarks causing your home’s worth to increase, or dare I say it, decrease, or the UK’s most overworked region, they’re campaigns that cause a conversation, which in turn results in links, increased visibility and a happy client.

Read John’s post on creating content for the financial sector for more nuggets of creative knowledge.

“Top tip: If at first it doesn’t succeed, pivot. Clear your head, go for a walk, show it to a colleague who doesn’t work on the account to gain a fresh perspective. Some of the best results come from Plan B.”

Utilising Unique Data

Getting sign-off for gathering unique data or using a client’s internal data can prove difficult. But in doing so, you can provide information to the press that makes your campaign so much more multi-dimensional.

Don’t get me wrong, using established data from say the government or ONS can work. If there’s a limited budget for imagery and development then we’ve found that analysing existing datasets in a unique way can harness great results. I’ve done this in the past and gained a link in the Evening Standard from half a day’s work.

But if you have timely, relevant data unique to your client, based on their customers, then you stand a better chance of creating a more well-rounded campaign which will resonate with more people and therefore would be of more interest to the press.

“Top tip: Always ask how long the gathering of internal data will take so you can plan ahead, otherwise there’s potential to collate data too late for the event in mind.”

Landing Links vs Citations

Financial campaigns, like any other need to provide value and give journalists a reason to link. If a campaign can be written about without needing to link to the piece, then you’re going to find it hard.

During ideation, it’s imperative to establish what the main news hooks and assets are that you’re going to provide to press. You need to provide added value; a justification for a link.

A campaign for Money Guru showcasing the best workplaces for maternity, paternity and shared parental leave continues to gain organic coverage years after going live. Why? Because it adds value to a constantly evolving conversation.

The Guardian covered it recently without any contact from us, because it answers a question for the reader and serves a purpose for the journalist.

“Top tip: Some sites can’t provide external links due to their editorial policy. However, coverage is still worth gaining, so make sure you’re aware which sites and sections have this policy in place to avoid any disappointment.”

Find out more

Read more to-the-point marketing know-how in my post debunking 10 common Digital PR and outreach myths.

If you want to find out more about our award-winning approach to Digital PR in the Finance sector check out our work to date for our finance clients.

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