From Public Relations

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

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(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

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  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.

PR professional Ray Young takes business to Texas

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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.

6 Ways Social Media Extends Your Audience Beyond Traditional Means

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  1. Find stakeholders worldwide. You can find anyone who has interest in your topics, no matter their location. In fact, many of the major social networks have a huge portion of their user base outside of the U.S.
  2. Share your content exponentially. Not only can you share blog posts – and traditional media like TV interviews – with your followers, but they can share it with theirs. And then those people can share it with their networks, and so on.
  3. Connect with online influencers. One very important aspect of social media is to connect with influencers who have a thousand, 50,000, 100,000 or more loyal followers or readers with whom you want to engage.
  4. Answer questions and provide better customer service. Social media allows you to respond to questions and solve customer problems directly.
  5. Listen to what your customers and competition are saying. You can see what is being said about you by your stakeholders and even what your competitors are saying.
  6. Connect with traditional print media reporters,  and TV and radio producers. They have flocked to Twitter and now you can engage with them and get to know them, which helps with traditional media coverage for your company.

8 Keys to Media Interview Success

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1) Know Your Material … If you do, you’ll be far less likely to be caught off guard with a question and more importantly, you will build credibility with the reporter and the audience.

2) Know Specifically What You Are Going to Say … Be prepared.  Have three to five points you want to convey about your position, keeping them clear and concise, especially if it’s a television interview.

3) Anticipate Objections … If you know you’re going to make waves with a call, be prepared to defend your position.

4) Stay on Message … If you don’t want to tread in a certain area, but you get a question about it, bring the discussion back to your key points.  For example, you can say, “Well, we’re really advising investors to focus on the areas I’ve just outlined, A, B and C.”

5) Don’t Tell a Reporter Anything You Don’t Want to See in the Headline … Even if you are “Off-the-Record”, you’re still on it.

6) Be Available to the Media … Always respond promptly to reporters, even if you have nothing to say.

7) Make a Reporter’s Job Easier … Provide them with perspective, facts and help them do their job better and more efficiently.  Keep in mind you probably know more about the topic than they do and may be able to direct the focus of the story.

8) Remember that the Media Doesn’t Have Your Best Interest at Heart … They want stories that get the attention of their audience and unfortunately, they may take your comments out of context if it serves their purposes, especially if you’re ambiguous.  That’s why you must be clear about your position.