How Ad Agencies Can Help Reporters Discover Their Clients

About three months ago, I started handling PR for a Chicago hedge-fund firm called Steel Vine Investments.

Spencer Patton, the firm’s founder and chief investment officer, had already forged a relationship with Dow Jones, and he was regularly quoted by DJ reporters on various movements in the commodities market.

One of those stories was picked up by The Wall Street Journal, so he had a good start before I began working with him.

I built on this initial coverage by sending introductory e-mails about Steel Vine to a variety of financial media, which resulted in several additional interviews.  We also created a free weekly newsletter that provides expert insights into the commodities market, and announced the newsletter through a PR Web-distributed news release.

A couple days ago, Spencer was contacted by a business writer for Associated Press, who found him after doing an Internet search for a commodities source.

He subsequently was quoted in the AP story, which received extensive online pick up from major media such as ABC News, BusinessWeek, CBS News, CNBC, Forbes, MSN and Yahoo Finance, as well as newspapers throughout the nation.

I’m fortunate to have a client who “gets it” when it comes to the value of PR and is a gifted communicator who really knows his stuff.  It also doesn’t hurt that his fund has had seven months of consecutive gains and outperformed the S&P 500 by 22.56%.

But more than anything else, this is a textbook example how publicity begets publicity.

Ad agencies that know the secret of using publicity to build their clients’ reputations, and understand how to make them “discoverable” as experts in their fields, will find it much easier to retain these clients long term.

Clients who are responsive, articulate and competent will find reporters coming back to them for future stories.  They also may hear from reporters who learn about them not through a PR pitch but from other media sources.

The result is a stream of ongoing publicity – and a happy client. 

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.