Don’t fall asleep, and 30 other tips to help you become more visible


Aug 15 • Practice Management • 52801 Views • No Comments

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Most of us are on the side of being too critical of ourselves and are often too kind when critiquing others. Yet, constructive feedback after a media interview is invaluable to financial advisors who want to grow their visibility through third-party endorsements.

Constructive feedback is essential to growing your public relations programThis is especially true today during the era of digital communications. In the past, for example, your story might appear in The Wall Street Journal with a global readership of 3.6 million worldwide. Today the same article will also likely end up on which has almost 14 million unique visitors, not even counting Dow Jones’ other major properties where the story could get picked up.

And if you include the likely shares and retweets from followers, you’d have to use analytics software to estimate of how many more millions of people could have read your article.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get the interview feedback first, so you can get better results sooner?

We’ve chronicled some top “do’s and dont’s” for successful media interviews. This list is based on our experiences in working with our clients and from reporters who were nice enough to take the time to share their thoughts.

And yes, one client really did fall asleep during a lunch meeting with a major news publication.

Other tips that made our list include the following:

Communication skills


  • Ramble on and on and on. The reporter will have lost what you were saying several minutes ago.
  • Fumble through materials or check your mobile phone. If a chart that supports your data isn’t readily accessible, move on or promise a follow-up call.
  • Put reporters in a defensive position or interrupt while being asked a question.


  • Keep small talk to an appropriate level and focus on why you were invited.
  • Keep your comments on topic.

Body language


  • Show your emotions or reactions with odd facial expressions.
  • Get too comfortable, slouching or lounging in your chair.
  • Continually check your watch or clock on the wall.


  • Look the interviewer in the eye.
  • Be conscious of any nervous habits and keep them in check, e.g., moving your chair side to side or clicking your pen.



  • Be late or too early for the meeting.
  • Flaunt other reporters/publications who may be on your agenda or who featured you in the past; reporters are competitive and are not impressed easily.
  • Ask a reporter if or when he/she will be writing about you or if you should expect a visit from the photographer.
  • Make inappropriate comments to or about members of the opposite sex or badmouth other reporters/channels/competitors.


  • Be aware that you’ll need to talk with reporters during breakfast or lunch meetings, so take small bites.
  • Keep your political and religious beliefs at home.
  • Remember to turn your electronic devices to silent mode.



  • Brag about how smart you are or use excessive jargon.
  • Force in your website or 800 number AFTER the anchor say’s “we’re out of time”.


  • Bring plenty of business cards.
  • Answer questions on-topic, bridging to your messages where you can make a relevant statement.
  • Remember to showcase the key messages that differentiate your strategies.



  • Go in cold, knowing absolutely nothing about the reporter, publication and their audience.
  • Over prepare material that is your daily bread and butter, you’ll end up sounding unnatural.


  • Make a concerted effort to remember and use a reporter’s name.
  • Find out what a reporter’s typical interests are in talking with financial advisors.
  • Know where a story is likely to end up, i.e. online, print, syndicated.

Also, to get more bang for your effort, be sure to share your experience by using your digital marketing strategy. For example, if you will appear on CNBC, share it through your networks. Even if followers don’t tune in, they will be impressed that you were on. After the segment, be sure to link to it on your Website and drive traffic to it though your networks.

If you are on a media tour arranged by your public relations firm or internal public relations pro, or just doing an interview, know that it is their job to help you prepare, both in advance and minutes before you meet a particular journalist. They are also responsible to get you to the right place at the right time. This allows you to relax and focus on your message.

Finally, ask for feedback after each interview and keep an open mind to hearing it.

Dan Sondhelm

Dan Sondhelm is the CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm designed to help financial companies attract investors, strengthen distribution and build brands.

Dan was nominated by MutualFundWire in 2009 as one of the Most Influential People in Fund Distribution for his guidance and perspective to help companies grow. Dan frequently contributes to the financial news media and presents or moderates at industry conferences and webinars.

Prior to establishing Sondhelm Partners, Dan was a senior partner and senior vice president at SunStar Strategic for more than 20 years. In this role, he was instrumental in helping boutique and larger firms develop strong distribution and marketing programs.

Dan earned an MBA from the Kogod College of Business Administration at American University in Washington, DC.
Dan lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife Jenna, twin children Madeleine and Gabriel, and cat Remy.

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The above article is for educational purposes only. Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing or implementing any of the marketing ideas, practices or advice found in the DigitalFA. Your use of the DigitalFA website tells us you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service.

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