ITL #212 Fintech: overcoming PR challenges in a fast-evolving sector3 years ago
Many of the biggest financial services stories are related to advances in technology. However, in the complicated fintech sector, it requires skill to convey impactful messages. By Martina Doherty.
It may well be over six years old and thoroughly established as an industry sector in its own right, but the unique approach taken by financial technology – or Fintech – firms is still grabbing headlines. New start-ups are now joining the space alongside much more established firms, many of whom are now Fintech ‘heavyweights’ in their own right.
In turn, this rapid growth has sparked an increase of specialist Fintech PR agencies while larger PR networks are also becoming increasing involved in this lucrative sphere.
Yet just as the phrase Fintech has become a generic catch-all covering all manner of start-ups and new initiatives, the challenges for Fintech PR have also changed. In the early days it may well have been enough to merely highlight that it you had a **FINTECH** story to tell for it to grab attention from the FT, Bloomberg et al. Now, however, it takes a little more lateral thinking, imagination and industry acumen to ensure a Fintech client’s message gets heard above all the rest of the noise.
Fortunately, there are a variety of options open to Fintech PRs which draw from both established, but now often overlooked, practices as well as some clever new ways to get their client’s message out there:
- Keep up-to-date on Fintech trends and issues. Fintech PR needs to keep pace with the rapid changes happening in this innovative sector. It’s simply not enough to know about a niche area. A deep, granular understanding of both micro and macro trends is now a must. In turn, this empowers PRs in all aspects of their business – from creating angles in press releases to having relevant discussions with news agencies and everything in between. Media professionals need to know more than just what a Fintech company does but also why they do it, what this says about the structure of the wider market and how that market is developing. Which leads on to my second point…
- Remember to pick up the phone. The proliferation of new ways to communicate – such as social media or apps – are an essential change in PR. But over-reliance on email etc. for communicating doesn’t help to create real connections. Taking time to generate and foster more meaningful media relationships is still a vital PR skill. Everyone is busy and our inboxes fill up quickly, but we still tend to open emails from people we know first over a name we don’t. And then there is untold value in being able to also phone a key contact rather than risk having a vital email get lost in a typically over-full inbox.
- Generate more than news headlines. Fintech firms naturally want to see their name in lights, but making sure their message reaches the right people, including potential new business, now takes a variety of approaches. Coverage in the FT may be great but a trade publication in their area will likely reach more of the Fintech’s target audience. And don’t forget the power of Twitter, LinkedIn or even a regularly updated company blog. Thought leadership pieces add value and can showcase a firm’s unique approach and ‘voice’. In addition, longer and more detailed projects such as white papers or e-books are now in high demand – so much so that news agencies will often pick-up on any key findings and cover them.
- Recycle and repurpose content. Content is still king and PRs need to work hard with their clients to come up with fresh angles, stories and content which will genuinely spark interest. Where content remains valuable over time or is relevant at specific times of the year, it can be recycled and repurposed to make the most of your efforts e.g. repurpose a presentation into a webinar if it will help your client reach new audiences or update a blog on the value of business awards around awards season for Fintechs. With a little effort you can ensure that valuable content stays relevant and isn’t just forgotten about.
- Offer a global approach. It’s no longer enough for PRs only to be able to offer a network within just a specific region or country. Fintech firms often have a global relevance and even the freshest of start-ups will want to expand into new markets eventually. Initiatives such as the Global Fintech PR Network can help agencies generate and foster contacts from around the world, an effort that will pay dividends to both them and their clients.
There is a reason why Fintech initiatives are still fresh, relevant and creating a buzz in the news. Whether they are seeking to disrupt or enable, these firms are at the forefront of change and innovation in the financial sector.
Many of the key Fintech trends for 2017 are in themselves some of the biggest stories in the financial services market at the moment: artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the rise of Regtech, to name but a few. Ultimately the challenge, and opportunity, for PR agencies lies in making sure these stories are being told. And told well.
Martina Doherty is Managing Director of MD Consulting, a London-based PR and marketing agency. As a skilled marketing and communications individual, she is accomplished in promoting FX, financial and technology businesses, from new company and product launches to ongoing PR campaigns. Martina spent 15 years working with large investment banks such as Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, State Street and UBS as well as market-leading FX technology companies Currenex, FXall, FXConnect, Currency Cloud and Digital Vega.mail the author
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