Newsjacking: the secret to good fund communication

Media relations reputation management

A new US president, COVID-19, an impending trade war with China: there is hardly a sector as sensitive to current events as investment funds. This is exactly why it is so important for fund houses to communicate. Proactive – to ensure that the financial press and the investor know you – but also reactive. For example, by explaining your view of current events, or by letting your expert talk about a relevant investment theme; aka newsjacking. That’s the advice from our expert and financial PR consultant Wim Heirbaut.

Fund communication is just a little bit different from other PR. First and foremost, of course, there are the specific Belgian and European regulations, which, among other things, ensure that fund houses do not give investment advice and thus advertise their products in disguise. This means that, as a fund manager, you can communicate less freely than other sectors. And yet communication is also indispensable for investment funds.

Our advice: use current affairs as a stepping-stone.

Your expert who expounds a bit on the macroeconomic aspects of current events or market prospects: it’s all a lot more relevant to the press and the investor than the technical information about that particular investment in your portfolio. Therefore, respond to current themes in your fund communication as much as possible.

Is there a lot of talk in the media about the European recovery plan or the fast-growing technology stocks? Then use those subjects as stepping-stones. And let your expert – rather than your commercial manager – give their view on things. Then you can make the link with your product. Not only does it make your story relevant, you also comply with the FSMA and European regulations. Admittedly, it’s sometimes like balancing on a tightrope. But you can make a big difference with a little creativity.

Make sure the (specialised) press and the investor know you.

It is at least as important to communicate proactively and make your new fund or investment product known to the press and the investors public. Emphasise the social relevance of your offer, and not just the profit expectation.  The target audience for your communication is limited: it is a select group of specialised journalists reporting for specific media channels, and an audience of private and institutional investors interested in investing in funds.

That is precisely why fund communication is a specialist matter. So hire an expert if you need one. Because the better you know the sector, the theme, the media, and the journalists, the better you succeed in proactively presenting communication themes and discovering opportunities.

Dare to be creative.

There are so many other ways to shine with your news or expertise than the classic press release. For example, organise an online round table for the press in all the countries in which you are active as an investment fund. Or take journalists to your head office for an afternoon, and bring them to the table with senior management and the fund managers. And don’t forget the relevance of the new media: share your news via a platform such as LinkedIn, or use a short YouTube film to give your interpretation of a current topic. That immediately underlines your expertise.

Wim Heirbaut has been working as a financial PR consultant for six years, and previously organised the Trends Investment Summit, a congress for the fund industry, for five years.

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