How to Write a Compelling Opinion Article

investment news

By Ray Young

By-lined or opinion articles are a great way to position oneself as a thought leader. You know your stuff; you know your space. Just put pen to paper and let your thoughts flow.

Here are my top tips to making a great article:

Take a hard stance or opinion.

No one likes lukewarm commentary. Conflict is what matters. Make it compelling and take a solid position.

State your thesis early.

If it takes too many paragraphs to get to the point, no one will bother to read it.

Back it up with facts and data.

Whatever you write, whatever your opinion, make sure you use data to support your position.

Make it easy to read; use bullet points.

Everyone likes lists. See David Letterman’s Top 10 lists.

Be specific.

Editors and reporters like actionable data. Give them some red meat.

Have a conclusion.

What should the reader do? Give a call to action.

Top 5 Reasons You Don’t Need a New York-based PR firm

Sterne Agee collage

Stifle collage       

(And Why You Might Get Better Results with a Non-Big City Agency)

  1. Instantaneous Communication Is a Beautiful Thing – It’s not 1985, no one walks press releases over to TV stations anymore. It doesn’t matter where your agency is located in terms of effectively pitching the media. All firms interact in real time with business media all over the world on behalf of our clients and no one ever asks, “Are you based in New York?”
  1. Madison Ave. Isn’t Cheap, Somebody Has to Pay for Those Digs – New York PR firms often charge massive retainers. So if you want to pay more just so you can say you have a PR firm in New York…it’s a free country.*
  1. It’s a Big Retainer to You…But Maybe Not to Your NY Agency – Big city agencies are used to big retainers, so if you aren’t spending $30,000, $50,000 or $100,000 a month with them, you might not be a priority.
  1. Airplanes…Outside Agencies Can Be in New York on a moment’s notice – Should you need to have people on the ground in the City, no matter where your agency is in the country, they can be in NY same day. And many have partners in the City if something more instantaneous is needed.
  1. Good Media Relationships Don’t End at New York City Limits – Agencies all over the country have solid relationships with New York media. And like many of them, we are often in the city and meet with reporters and producers on a regular basis.

*There are plenty of reasonably priced boutique NY firms, but the percentage of firms with massive retainers in Manhattan is off the charts.

7 Reasons Your Financial Firm Needs to Be on Business TV…Regularly

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  1. Credibility Increases Client Trading, Investment – Like it or not, if you’re on TV, you’re immediately on another level as an expert. Existing and potential clients will view you that way and it’ll be reflected in their account activity. Keep in mind that you won’t be giving away any house secrets, but just highlighting your ideas. It’s a teaser to get clients interested.
  2. Visibility Drives Penetration with Key Accounts – For some accounts, only good media visibility will get your sales team in the door, especially if they are previously unfamiliar with your firm.
  3. Consistent Publicity Will Make Your Firm Seem Bigger – Whether you have 10, 350 or 1,000 employees, media exposure will make it seem like you’re many times your actual size. And that makes a difference.
  4. Seeing Your Company Logo on TV is Priceless – Institutional trading floors have CNBC and Bloomberg TV on their floors all day, every day. Retail clients are watching Fox Business. That’s why repeatedly seeing your firm’s logo – and your people – is a huge reminder to them. And this is especially important if your brand is new or relatively unknown.
  5. Dispel Client Uncertainty Post Merger or Acquisition – There’s nothing like M&A to make clients jittery and push them quickly to the sidelines. Being seen consistently on TV and in print is a huge tool to combat this uncertainty and help them feel comfortable.
  6. Highlight Good Calls, Awards and Other Relevant Accomplishments – You’re good at what you do, make sure clients know about your successes.
  7. TV Appearances Are a Powerful Sales Tool – Consistent media coverage will provide sales with a new tool to use when pitching clients: “You may have seen my analyst on CNBC this week talking about his/her great call. It’s definitely worth your time for a meeting.”

Bottom Line: More visibility = more credibility = more clients = more AUM.

Ray Young has promoted Wall Street firms for more than 12 years and works with top analysts, strategists and CEO’s to deliver their insight to key audiences. 

Top 14 Ways to Successfully Use Twitter for Business

Social Networking Concept Birds
Social Networking Concept Birds | Rawpixel
  1. Fill out your Twitter bio.  Make it interesting since it’s one of the first things potential followers see. Explain who you are and what you do and make sure you include your city. People like to know where you are located.
  2. Create a blog bio. Your Twitter bio is short, but you can link to your full bio on your blog where potential followers can find out more about you.
  3. Add your Twitter handle to your email signature. And your business card, your website and anywhere else people interact with you. Basically make it easy for people to follow you.
  4. Follow relevant people.  It’s about quality, not quantity. 100 key people are better than 1,000 random ones.
  5. Don’t obsess over your follower count.  Again, quality over quantity.
  6. Tweet interesting, funny and informative content. Be a resource for your followers. Add value.
  7. Find your niche. Consistently tweet about topics you know. Keep it focused. Be known for a specialty.
  8. Tweet often.  Nobody wants to follow a “dead account.” Tweet at least a few times a day. Give people a reason to follow you.
  9. Keep tweets short. Don’t use all 140 characters. That’s because you want to leave enough space for people to retweet you. Try to keep it to 100 characters or less.
  10. Don’t be a pushy sales person. Only rarely tweet about your service or product. Think value.
  11. Promote your blog.  Tweet your blog posts, guest posts and anywhere else you have an article.
  12. Engage with followers and influencers alike. Be sociable and friendly. People like that.
  13. Retweet others consistently. It’s about sharing…share others’ content and they will share yours.
  14. Use hashtags…it’s a great way to connect with like-minded users.

Top 5 Ways Wall Street Firms Can Get on CNBC


CNBC has long been the top financial TV network, but for many Wall Street firms, getting interviews for their analysts on the network has remained elusive.

If a financial firm were to pay for a five minute commercial on CNBC, it would cost about $75,000, give or take, so why don’t more financial houses work to get their people on TV since it’s so valuable for reaching institutional investors, retail investors and other potential and existing clients?

The simple answer is that they don’t really know how. So below, I’ve outlined the top five ways to land an interview on CNBC (or Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, CNBC Europe, CNBC Asia, Wall Street Journal Digital, Reuters TV, Bloomberg TV Asia, Canada’s Business News Network, etc.):

  • Earnings – It’s ultimately what drives share price and financial TV covers earnings that move the market, so get your analysts on to comment.
  • Economic Data – These come out on set dates every week and every month, so get your market strategist or economist on to comment.
  • Top Equity Picks – TV loves top picks, especially those that have a big upside…or downside, so get your analysts on to share their insights.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions – Whenever a company is bought out or is taken over, TV will cover it, so get your analysts and strategists on to comment.
  • Leadership Changes – The same goes for a CEO or chairman stepping down, so get your people on to comment.

Ray Young has promoted Wall Street firms for more than 12 years and works with top analysts, strategists and CEO’s to deliver their insight to key audiences. 

PR professional Ray Young takes business to Texas

Sacramento Business Journal Logo

As of a couple days ago, the description of “local” public relations and social media professional Ray Young no longer fits.

The president of Razor Sharp Public Relations put his Lincoln house on the market, and he and his wife and business partner Christine Young packed up their seven kids and began their move to Texas.

The Youngs will live in Leander and operate Razor Sharp PR from Austin, Ray Young said in an interview Friday evening before hitting the road on Saturday.

“My clients are spread out all over the country,” he said, adding that he has no clients in Sacramento. “I can do my business from anywhere.”

“It makes more sense to do it from a place where the economy is doing well … and where it’s a better place to do business,” Young said.

Young said he has many reasons for choosing Texas, but key considerations are the challenges of doing business in California and what he considers to be a more business-friendly climate in Texas.

Read the full story from the Sacramento Business Journal here.

How Does Social Media Augment a Classic PR campaign?

Image from: Elevate
Image from: Elevate

Social media gives a whole new avenue to promoting a company and its traditional PR efforts. It has also decentralized the media. Now many bloggers are just as, if not more, influential than traditional media outlets, some ordinary citizens are now among the most trusted names in news and product reviews.

Here are some ways in which an integrated campaign approach works:

  • All traditional PR stories and interviews are sharable across social media
    • Social media users can instantly share posts and information with their followers
    • Visitors to the blog and website can see the traditional media that has been done
    • This lends credibility to you and/or company
  • Immediate response to issues
    • Social media allows for immediate response to an issue
    • When breaking news occurs reporters and the public can go directly to your social profiles for relevant and timely information
  • Reporter research
    • Reporters do research on company blogs and their social profiles even more so than on a regular website. Often because blogs and social media channels are updated more often than a traditional corporate website
  • Connect with reporters
    • Reporters are all over social media, especially Twitter, which allows us to interact with them on a regular bases and discover what makes them tick


How Can Social Media Add Value to My Business?

Image from: Sentiment Metrics
Image from: Sentiment Metrics

Social media is not just for personal use, it has business value. As commercials and traditional advertising continue to lose their value in many cases, being seen on social media can help a company educate customers and build brand awareness. In many cases social media even allows customers to opt-in to marketing messages, by “liking” a page on Facebook or following a brand on Twitter, customers are saying “we want to hear from you.”

How do you social media to add value to your company? Here are a few tips:

  • Share and promote news to new audiences
    • Share interesting and relevant content on a blog and across social channels to reach investors, reporters and other audiences who are currently unaware of you
  • Build an image as a thought leader
    • Use video blog posts (vlogs), pictures, commentary, research, guest posts and re-purposed traditional media stories and interviews to credibility as a leader
    • Direct audiences to important posts and news
  • Identify influencers and help them spread your message
    • Find relevant audiences with a large and/or significant following on social media
    • Introduce them to you and your work
    • Host event(s) with these influencers
  • Reach reporters and producers with your social content
    • Social media releases
      • More and more, reporters don’t want traditional press releases
      • Instead, they want releases with links to pictures and video, as well as other relevant information
      • Direct them to your blog content, informational pages and social network profiles
  • Share TV, radio and print stories on social media

I Know About Facebook, But What Other Networks Are Good for Business?

Image from: One Brown Crafter
Image from: One Brown Crafter

There are many different social media networks, each serves a purpose and many target different demographics within our society.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and blogs are some of the most pervasive, reaching customers, friends, current and prospective clients and more. Each social network requires a different strategy to be effective.


  • A company’s internet home, can act as a hub for all other social media channels
  • Use video and pictures to enhance posts
  • Regular posts can inform current and prospective customers on subjects in which the company is an expert

LinkedIn – The Top Networking Site for Professionals:

  • Professional profile allows people to follow news and information
  • Connect and interact with other professionals, investors, companies and reporters
  • Link to and promote blog posts

YouTube – Second Largest Search Engine after Google:

  • Makes it easy to share and post videos
  • Keep videos short and punchy

SlideShare – Largest Presentation Sharing Site:

  • Post presentations
  • Professionals use this site to get detailed information on topics

Twitter – Largest Open-Networking Site:

  • Interact and follow investors, reporters, other audiences and general public
  • Tweet blog posts
  • Jump in on relevant conversations, no matter where people are located

Talkbiznow – Business-to-Business Networking:

  • Link to blog posts
  • Connect and interact with relevant businesses and organizations

Cause Marketing Forum – Cause-Based Networking Site:

  • Connect with professionals, businesses and non-profits who work to do good
  • Maintain profile
  • Post blog links


  • Send out regular emails to subscribers
  • Include news, blog posts, links to social profiles

6 Things to Help You Get the Most Out of #SXSW 2014

Texas Capital Building, Austin, TX
Texas Capital Building, Austin, TX

1) Stay downtown.  We tried to save money and commute from a friend’s house 20 min away from downtown Austin, but that really bit into our time – both with sessions and with networking events. (Note to friends – we love you and really appreciate your generosity.)

2) Book a hotel and flight early. Even if you not sure you’ll be attending in 2014, book a room as soon as they will let you. They sell out quickly, and flights can be crazy expensive if you wait too long.

3) Ask friends attending if there are parties not on the official SXSW list. And pre-register for these – if you don’t, you may be sorely disappointed.  Some of these are really cool and we found to be great networking.

4) Make time to walk the trade show floor. There are a lot of amazing companies and networking opportunities that you don’t want to miss. It’s not just about the sessions and the parties.

5) Fly into Austin. To save money, we flew into Killeen, TX, and flew out of San Antonio, but because of rental car costs going one-way, we ended up spending almost as much money if we’d just flown into Austin (flight prices are high during SXSW). And it was really time consuming.  But we did see The Alamo and the River Walk!

6) Make the most of your time. Some sessions and parties will consume your time and you won’t be able to make the “next event.” Don’t worry about it; SXSW is huge and you can’t do everything.  If you find a good event or session, get all you can from it because the next one may be a dud.