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Michaela
Morales
michaela.morales@cognitomedia.com

Wealth management didn’t have a choice – it had to evolve.

Industry consolidation. New regulation. New investment strategies. New technologies. A whole new generation of clients. Wealth management doesn’t look like it did a decade ago, as so much has changed.

The media have also had to adapt. And, well, that means people who want to tell their stories in the media need to make sure they are working with the industry as it stands now, not where it used to be.

I’m an expert in wealth management media relations sharing a few thoughts about what’s needed to succeed right now. 

More advisors, fewer reporters

Relationships matter. It’s true in every industry – but doubly important here.

By one McKinsey estimate, there are still over 14,000 different firms offering wealth management. Yet there are 20 – maybe 30 journalists who consistently write meaningful, incisive articles about wealth management. 

That’s a lot of competition for a few column inches. 

Building strong relationships takes time. Start with a coffee – or maybe a drink. Meeting in person is critical for that personal touch. Find out what makes someone tick; how they see the world.

Just this month, I’ve met reporters from Barron’s, Bloomberg, Institutional Investor, 9fin and With Intelligence.

Going digital – better late than never

The average reader of a wealth management publication is middle-aged, with an eye towards retirement. Older readers, in general, have been slower to transition to digital-only content consumption. This means that the primacy of print has continued in wealth long after other trades abandoned physical editions. 

But the digital revolution is finally here. 

The publications that can figure out how to get their audience online will do best in the medium and long term. They can draw in more advertisers with sponsored newsletters, website sections and sponsored content and events. 

Barron’s, InvestmentNews and WealthManagement.com do this well.

Not everyone will survive. Layoffs have hit the industry hard. Survivors have bigger beats and have to be more selective in the stories they cover. 

Remember when I mentioned the 30 reporters who matter? That used to be 60 people, which means someone in PR needs to fight twice as hard to land an article. 

Help a reporter out

Reporters are busy. Make their lives easier. 

Give them a complete story rather than a jargon-filled pitch. I like to give one or a select group of reporters access to news before it is public. This isn’t just for press releases; it also works for truly insightful pieces of thought leadership or letters to investors. 

Access matters. Some founders can be aloof, never speaking to the press. If I have a client willing to do an interview, I’ll try to get time on their calendar while in New York for a meeting. Exclusivity is important – along with quotes that only can come from an in-person interview

All the media that matter

Understand the whole media universe. 

There’s a (shrinking) group of quality wealth management trades. Barron’s is in a class of its own. Other important trades include AdvisorHub, Advisor Perspectives, Citywire, Financial Advisor, Financial Planning, InvestmentNews, RIA Intel, ThinkAdvisor, WealthManagement.com and Wealth Solutions Report. 

The business media tend to write about wealth “planning” coverage and their readers’ relationship with money and wealth. The Financial Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all are doing interesting work here.

Podcasts and videos are increasingly important. Michael Kitces’ “Financial Advisor Success”, Mindy Diamond’s “On Independence,” and Steve Sanduski’s “Between Now and Success” podcasts are three standout examples.

And finally, events. Barron’s has must-attend annual advisor summits, and there’s WealthManagement.com’s EDGE, InvestmentNews and AdvisorHub events. Upstart brands are also trying to break into the market with unusual and innovative experiences. The recent success of the Future Proof Festival should inspire more competition. 

Things will continue to change. Therefore it’s important to have a media strategy that is flexible enough to evolve with changing tastes and outlets. I’ve seen throughout my career how a reliable coverage strategy can quickly need a pivot. We will continue to focus on what works. 

Michaela Morales is an account director in New York