Is PR the next Disruption to Finance?

By Mark Macias

Technology has sent the giants falling like dominoes.

Blockbuster Video, Tower Records and others – destroyed after they failed to adapt to technology.

Asset management has remained primarily immune to any major disruptions from technology but that could change soon.

In September 2015, Macias PR hosted a hedge fund and private equity forum where we brought together industry leaders to discuss some of the emerging trends and threats they are seeing in alternative assets. One of the panelists detailed how cyber security is a potential tech disruption to fund managers and predicted it will hit the small and medium sized funds hardest.

But there is another potential disruption that could hit the alternative asset industry. It’s a legislative disruption, called the JOBS Act, which drastically changes the way fund managers find new investors.

I meet hedge fund managers all the time who say they don’t need publicity. But when I ask them: would you want your fund to appear in a Wall Street Journal story? All of them say yes.

One-on-one introductions with investors won’t go away, but now that the JOBS Act allows funds to market themselves to investors via the media, suddenly smart fund managers can reach thousands and even millions of targeted investors with only one news story.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about advertisements. I’m talking about news stories that appear inside the influential financial publications, like the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Institutional Investor Magazine.

Here’s an infographic that takes a closer look at why PR is positioned to disrupt the financial industry.

infographic on benefits of financial pr

 

Market a Fund to Investors

By Mark Macias

Public relations can raise the profile of your firm. Unfortunately, the financial industry is one of the last sectors to embrace PR.

MACIAS PR has led many media campaigns for hedge funds, private equity firms, money managers and financial service providers. Our team secured media coverage for our clients with CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine and others.

This track record is partially why industry peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. And in 2015 and 2016, Finance Monthly named us the Financial PR Firm of the Year.

A recent white paper, How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules, found less than 5 percent of SEC registered hedge funds are taking advantage of PR.

The white paper found fewer than one in 20 SEC registered funds had a website, putting them out of reach of new investors. The research also discovered roughly 80 percent of the funds in Connecticut didn’t even have an email address for  investors to contact.

The white paper was published by MACIAS PR and can be downloaded by clicking here.

How to Market a Fund to Investors

Before the SEC lifted the restrictions on marketing, most funds had not developed a website, fearing it would give the impression of skirting the old SEC prohibition on advertising.

Those funds are now at a huge disadvantage since they are entering a modern world where an online presence is crucial to marketing any service.

Marketing a fund with the media is drastically different than marketing a product to the public. Every fund needs credibility before the media will even consider putting a portfolio manager on TV or quoting him as a financial expert. This is why he says it’s so crucial for all funds to establish credibility now with a strong online presence.

Here is an except from the white paper How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules:

Establish Credibility before any Media Outreach

Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists, says Macias who was a journalist for NBC, CBS and King World Productions. Whenever a portfolio manager is pitched as an expert to the media, journalists will quietly and overtly measure his expertise, integrity and experience in the financial industry. If a reporter doesn’t see an online presence on your fund, credibility questions will be raised, Macias says. Here are a few credibility questions you should be able to address and answer before your fund pursues media placements.

Develop a Content Marketing Plan

Your team of analysts already has a wealth of research that could be turned into white papers, blogs, articles or editorials that could be marketed on the web. This is known as “content marketing.” Content marketing is one of the most effective methods for reaching new investors because it provides a real value to consumers. When promoted on the web, content marketing platforms, like nRelate or Outbrain, can help your original content reach even more targeted business readers on influential blogs and news websites.

Research Financial PR and Financial Marketing Firms

Unlike ad campaigns that stop when your campaign ends, media campaigns keep working for your fund long after a PR campaign is over. The cost for a PR campaign effectively diminishes overtime, since news organizations rarely bring down their stories.

Another benefit to a financial PR campaign is a boost to your search engine ranking. If your PR team can convince a news organization to post a link to your website on their news site, other search engines will suddenly view your fund as more valuable, boosting its ranking to a higher position. Here are a few questions to help you determine which PR firm is the best fit for your hedge fund.

Develop an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing campaigns can be a targeted way to share your investor newsletters with potential investors. When written in a concise way, a fund’s newsletter can be shared with your clients’ sphere of influence, especially when it contains social media links embedded in the newsletter. The key to launching a successful email campaign is to deliver original content that educates readers on your fund.

Macias PR was named the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year and 2016 and 2015 top PR Firm of the Year – USA by Finance Monthly. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

SEC Rules – Marketing Your Fund

What impact will the new SEC rules on advertising have on investors and the overall hedge fund industry?

From an operational perspective, most hedge funds are now at a marketing disadvantage since they have not developed an online presence. An analysis of more than 3,100 funds registered with the SEC revealed that fewer than one in 20 of those funds had developed a website, according to the white paper, How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules

Marketing a fund to investors is drastically different than marketing a product to the public. It requires content marketing, credibility for the fund, targeted marketing to investors, a prominent online presence and a media outreach to stand out from others.

Credibility must be established from the start before the media will even consider putting your portfolio manager on TV or quoting him as a financial expert. He may manage a $100 million portfolio, but the media is not going to take his word for it without seeing evidence of his expertise. This is why it’s so crucial for all funds to establish credibility now with a strong online presence before the new proposed SEC rules on advertising go into effect.

Hedge fund managers can read more white papers on the topic at www.MarketYourFund.com

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR or MarketYourFund.com

Market Your Hedge Fund

Less than five percent of SEC registered hedge funds are prepared to take advantage of the new advertising rules, according to the white paper How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules.

Its analysis of more than 3,100 SEC registered funds showed that fewer than one in 20 had developed a public website, putting them out of reach of new investors, according to research cited in the paper. It also discovered roughly 80 percent of the funds registered with the SEC in Connecticut, identified as opportunistic in strategy, didn’t even have an email address for potential investors to contact.

The white paper was published in July 2013 by the PR firm MaciasPR and can be downloaded by clicking here.

Most hedge funds never developed an online presence fearing it would give the impression of skirting the old SEC prohibition on advertising. These hedge funds are at a huge disadvantage now that they are entering the modern world where a prominent online presence is crucial to marketing your fund.

Marketing a fund with the media is drastically different than marketing a product to the public. Every fund needs credibility before the media will even consider putting a portfolio manager on TV or quoting him as a financial expert. This is why he says it’s so crucial for all funds to establish credibility now with a strong online presence.

The white paper, How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules, outlines five steps hedge funds must take now to market their funds to investors.

An excerpt from the white paper includes the following steps for marketing a hedge fund to investors under the new SEC advertising rules:

Establish an Online Presence

There are multiple ways to design a website, but most developers and content marketers agree that an HTML website is better than a Flash website. Search engines like Google and Yahoo can’t read the content within flash so it makes it harder for flash websites to get picked up by search engines. What good is having a website if Google can’t find it? In addition, flash is not compatible with mobile phones, which means anyone who goes to your website from their phone won’t be able to read your content. The world is gravitating towards mobile so most developers agree it’s only a matter of time before flash websites are transitioned out. The white paper recommends developing an HTML website over a flash website.

Establish Credibility before any Media Outreach

Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists, says Macias who was a journalist for NBC, CBS and King World Productions. Whenever a portfolio manager is pitched as an expert to the media, journalists will quietly and overtly measure his expertise, integrity and experience in the financial industry. If a reporter doesn’t see an online presence on your fund, credibility questions will be raised, Macias says. Here are a few credibility questions you should be able to address and answer before your fund pursues media placements.

Q) What makes you qualified to speak on this topic?
Q) How many years of experience have you spent in the industry?
Q) How big is your fund in comparison to others?
Q) How much of your daily routine reinforces your expertise as a portfolio manager?
Q) What do you know as an insider that other investors would want to know?

Develop a Content Marketing Plan

Your team of analysts already has a wealth of research that could be turned into white papers, blogs, articles or editorials that could be marketed on the web. This is known as “content marketing.” Content marketing is one of the most effective methods for reaching new investors because it provides a real value to consumers. When promoted on the web, content marketing platforms, like nRelate or Outbrain, can help your original content reach even more targeted business readers on influential blogs and news websites.

Find the Best PR Financial Firm

Here are a few questions to help you determine which PR firm is the best fit for your hedge fund.

*Can you give me a publicity strategy for my fund?

*How do you see my fund?

*Tell me about your clients and media placements you have secured?

*Will we be working directly with you? Who is the account executive assigned to us?

*How long before we can expect to see media results?

*What is your media experience?

Develop an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing campaigns can be highly controversial because no one likes spam, but when executed in the proper way, they can be highly effective as an investor outreach program. The key to launching a successful email campaign is to deliver original content that educates readers on your fund. Email marketing campaigns are a great opportunity to share research that is exclusive to your fund.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR or MarketYourFund.com