As we enter 2019, competition has never been more intense for incumbent and startup fintech companies. Whether your tech is revolutionary, your service is best in class, or even if you believe the competitive set lacks any real or material threats, an integrated marketing and public relations program remains critical. It’s not just about driving awareness and attracting new prospects; a thoughtful and strategic communications effort is also critical to instill confidence in existing clients, while also conveying to the broader organization the ultimate mission of the business.
Similar to the fintech landscape, the world of marketing and communications is constantly evolving. Today there are more channels to reach your target audience, and more rivals competing for the eyes and ears of financial institutions. This makes it all the more important that your message is clear and compelling and can transmit a resonant narrative that sticks.
As you finalize your communications strategy, here are a few of the latest trends that should allow your communications team to capitalize on in the coming year.
Securing coverage for product news requires going the extra mile, such as offering an exclusive
For a number of reasons already mentioned, announcements touting basic product enhancements or even product launches rarely garner the kind of attention that used to be quite common from traditional media. By some estimates, the major cloud providers, alone, each produce literally hundreds of updates a year, flooding the market and people’s bandwidth to absorb this kind of news to the point of irrelevancy.
Client wins, on the other hand, are and will always be the cream of the crop when it comes to news announcements. But as we all know, getting a client to sign off to being quoted or even mentioned in a press release is becoming more difficult, never mind convincing the client to participate in ensuing media interviews. This challenge is becoming only more pronounced as technology adoption among financial institutions creates a competitive advantage (and is increasingly considered a trade secret), all of which makes securing endorsements a tall order for vendors.
This is why — when planning a product-oriented press release – it makes sense to take a step back to consider how it might be received in the media. If it’s a product launch or enhancement, do some research to see how your news may align with or buck an industry trend. Then craft a specific pitch and package it as an exclusive with a relevant publication. It’s a great way to strengthen media relationships while improving your chances to secure a quality piece of coverage that offers far more credibility than a press release, alone.
Amplify positive media coverage with organic and sponsored LinkedIn campaigns
The news cycle is now measured in minutes, not hours or days. But despite the pace of the news cycle and consolidation within the media, which hit the fintech space particularly hard, earned-media coverage is becoming harder to come by. Print and digital media coverage remain the gold standard when it comes to PR. However, even a cover story on the Wall Street Journal can get buried quickly. This is why it’s imperative that a company’s communication team takes steps to keep the story alive and ensure it gets in front of clients and prospects.
Promoting via your social media channels should be standard practice by now, and for almost all leading fintech companies, is indeed central to their larger communications s strategy. But in addition to merely tweeting out a piece of news or calling it out on LinkedIn, we’ve seen sponsored LinkedIn campaigns emerge as a very cost effective way to amplify that great piece of coverage. The upshot is that for as little as a few hundred dollars, the articles will get in front of decision makers who reside in very specific segments.
The power of podcasts can no longer be ignored
Podcasts are now one of the most popular ways that people consume content. In 2018, almost half of Americans over the age of 12 (44%) had listened to a podcast, up from just 18% a decade ago. The growth of personal assistants, such as Alexa or Google Home, will only make podcasts more accessible, while automakers such as GM have begun rolling out vehicles with podcast apps preinstalled. Today, financial services-focused podcasts have sprung up quickly. Today, many of these shows present a great opportunity to participate in podcasts produced by key trade publications like American Banker and Bank Innovation, as well as shows hosted by industry influencers such as Breaking Banks and Bank On It.
Podcasts are meant to be conversational, but since they’re recorded (and therefore able to be edited), we’ve found that they are great for spokesperson development. Rather than throw a new spokesperson in front of a TV camera, a podcast can be an effective way for clients to dip their toes into the PR waters and gain experience answering interview questions on the fly.
A key tip for pitching podcast hosts and producers – be as specific and thorough as possible. Similar to traditional pitching, the more compelling and complete story you can offer, the better your chances to catch the interest of the host.
If you feel like you have a big enough audience and the internal resources required, you may consider creating your own company-branded podcast. We’ve begun working with certain asset management clients in this area who also see it as an engaging way to stay in front of their investor base.
As we head into 2019, the fintech revolution is still alive and well, and shows no signs of slowing down. Now is the time to revamp your marketing and communications strategy to stay ahead of the competition and show your clients and prospects how much they really need you.