The Financial Planning Association has launched a program to help its members work better with the media. 

In conjunction with AdvisorPR, a division of JConnelly, the association has launched “Media Mastery 2.0,” a digital media training program for its members. The organization wants to help advisors get greater exposure through the media and help them become more comfortable in talking to reporters and making themselves available. 

“In modern advisor marketing and promotion, you need that additional media attention,” said Ben Lewis, chief communications officer for the FPA. “There are so many opportunities, and by appearing in the media there are so many ways you can leverage that attention through your marketing.

“For any advisor not doing this, they’re missing on a golden opportunity.” 

The introduction of the original Media Mastery coincided with the rollout of FPA MediaSource, which connects journalists working on deadline with willing financial planners who can help lend expertise to an article. The original version of Media Mastery helped train FPA members on the basics of working with journalists and how to use MediaSource. During the course of that program, the FPA realized its members required further assistance beyond access to journalists. 

“It became really evident when we did that that we needed to offer some kind of media training; that way, our members understand the basics of how you best engage with the journalist and meet the journalist's needs when you’re working on deadline,” Lewis said. 

The updated program maintains aspects of the original while expanding on it. The program helps planners not only understand what to do during the course of an interview, but what to do before it and after it, including how to use press appearances in marketing initiatives, according to Alana Kohl, founder of AdvisorPR.

“It’s helping advisors understand sometimes that the hurdles in front of them are really self-created and there are ways to work through them,” she said. It shows them a way to get through things that might seem overly complex, she said. 

The program is broken out into five separate training modules, including a “Module 0” (which retains most aspects of the original program and its primary function to serve as a training for MediaSource). After that, Module 1 deals with fundamentals, including the basics of public relations. Module 2 goes over how to prepare ahead of time for an interview. The third module talks about how to have an impact during an interview and how to maintain relationships with reporters. The final module highlights ways of most efficiently using PR efforts with several tactics. 

Each module takes only a few minutes to go through, and advisors can go back to them months or even years later, said Jill Jagelski Schofield, assistant vice president of public relations for AdvisorPR. 

The modules are available in the learning center of the FPA’s website, according to Lewis. Module 0 is free to all FPA members while the remaining four modules are $99 for members and $199 for non-members. 

“If we can help facilitate an opportunity for our members to forge meaningful relationships with [journalists] where it’s mutually beneficial, where they’re getting some attention, but at the same time being a valuable resource [for the reporter], then everybody wins,” Lewis said.