September 17, 2012
How Following the Strategies of the Top 20 Personal Finance Feature Stories of 2011 Can Help You Score Massive Media Coverage
Dorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)
Every year, North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) ranks the top Personal Finance sector stories by the highest number of placements in media outlets nationwide. The articles that editors preferred in 2011 came from a variety of companies and institutions, including Wells Fargo, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Genworth, MetLife, Citibank, American Express and many others.
The articles targeted a variety of consumer groups, including homeowners, car buyers and sellers, small businesses, investors, taxpayers, credit card holders and the general public. Many of the most successful stories were filled with helpful advice from experts, the latest statistics, survey results, money-saving ideas and other helpful information for people looking for financial advice. The most popular topics included home financing options, telecommuting options, tax tips, avoiding foreclosure, car buying and selling, retirement planning and insurance options.
Here are the top 20 personal finance stories of 2011 and what made them so successful:
- Wells Fargo Internet Services Group – Internet Helps Consumers Investigate Home Financing Options. This advice story got over 3,400 placements nationwide. It got placed in every state—and in all top 25 markets. About 80 percent of the placements were in the top 25 markets and the sites it was on were viewed by over 220 million unique visitors per month.
- Hanley Wood – Know Your Home's Value. This story created awareness of a new online tool to help homeowners determine the value of their homes.
- Vocalocity – A Better Telecommuting Option for Small-Business Workers. This informative article provided tips on how businesses could go green and get lean with a feature-rich phone and Internet system.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Your Independent Foreclosure Review. Free reviews were offered to enable readers to determine if they were eligible for compensation or other remedies due to errors or problems during their home foreclosure process.
- Tax Act – Changes Impacting Your Tax Return This Year. The lead of this story included information on getting tax refunds. Helpful advice was also included about recent tax law changes.
- Genworth Financial – Smart and Safe Questions When Mortgage Shopping. This article included a list of seven good questions for consumers to consider when determining which mortgage is right for them. This feature reached an estimated 106+ million newspaper readers in print publications nationwide.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Avoid Foreclosure Rescue Scams. This article alerted consumers to the dangers of false and misleading claims, and included a list of 10 common lines that fraudsters use.
- Carfax – Selling Your Car. This article offered practical tips to help consumers sell their cars for more money.
- Citibank – What Your Age Means to Your Money. Targeting women for Citi's Private Porfolio Group, this article included a list of smart financial planning moves for people in five different age brackets.
- MetLife – The Top 10 Things You Don't Know About Car Insurance. The photo of a classic 1960s Mustang with the caption "What Dreams Are Made Of" helped attract attention to this article, which included tips on what may or may not be covered under an insurance policy.
- Coupons, Inc. – Cashing in on Coupons. This article helped consumers by offering expert tips for cashing in on deals using digital coupons.
- Wells Fargo – Myths and Facts About Renters Insurance. This article included a drawing by a NAPS artist of a criminal in a striped shirt reaching in a window and snatching a laptop out from under a woman's nose while she was talking on the phone. The caption warned consumers that their insurance might not provide them with adequate coverage.
- FINRA Foundation and AARP – Five Fraud Tactics to Watch Out for in 2011. This article presented tips on how investors could protect their assets, and also revealed five common red flags in nearly every scam.
- Tax Act – Expert Tax Tips for Saving Time and Money. This article included a photo of a woman winking from behind a fan of $100 bills she was holding and offered readers seven tax-saving tips.
- The Walmart Foundation and United Way – Tax Tips to Save You Money. This article informed readers about how to get free tax preparation assistance and a billion dollars in tax refunds that went to a million families.
- TurboTax – Free Tax Options Save Time And Money. This article raised awareness of how to file online for free or at a low cost and that such filings can be done from an Android smartphone.
- H&R Block – Tax Changes Often Linked to Life Changes. This article included tips on how to navigate the tax implications of major life events.
- The Treasury Department – Savings Bonds Enter the Online Age. This article included a great image of $100 bills floating from a computer as an investor put a penny into the computer's CD/DVD player. Information was included that outlined how to open a free online account directly with the Treasury Department to purchase savings bonds.
- American Express – Having Fun While Staying in Budget. This article informed readers with expert advice on how to use a prepaid card as a great budgeting tool.
- Lifelock and the National Organization for Victim Assistance – Identity Theft: Who's to Judge the Victim. This article revealed how identity theft victims could get help and offered several comprehensive recovery services.
Additional Ingredients of Successful Campaigns
- Meet format requirements of newspaper editors and bloggers. Thousands of editors require CDs or camera-ready copy, as provided exclusively by NAPS. Each of the stories was sent with captivating color photos and hyperlinks to drive traffic back to company sites. Each distribution covered more than 10,000 newspapers and thousands of online publications nationwide in a variety of digital and hard copy formats.
- Meet broadcast requirements. To secure additional broadcast exposure, NAPS met the formatting requirements of thousands of editors by distributing on CDs, DVDs and a variety of tape formats to more than 6,500 radio stations and over 1,000 TV stations nationwide. All files are also downloadable on Napsnet.com's radio and TV pages. NAPS generates 300 to 400 on-air placements for radio feature releases and 100 to 150 on-air placements for video feature releases.
- Allow for viral social sharing and SEO. Each article was posted on www.napsnet.com with social media links at the bottom for easy sharing by readers and to offer additional traditional media and new media exposure, the articles were also sent by e-mail and as RSS feeds organized by subject. They were also posted to all NAPS blogs and social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Spots are also downloadable on iTunes. SEO techniques were also utilized, including word tagging, and hyperlinks back to client sites. Nearly all NAPS articles are searchable on Google News. NAPS draws readers from the WSJ.com, USAT.com and LATimes.com sites, and many other major daily news sites that link back to special sections on our site.
Cover community news outlets. In the words of Warren Buffett, who was quoted recently in many major news outlets just after he acquired 63 newspapers from Media General, "In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper." People read community newspapers to keep track of local entertainment, sports, schools, politics and other local news that they can't find in major daily newspapers. They also turn to them for stories that help them in their daily lives—including personal finance.
These newspapers are all supported by local advertisers, including some of the local banks and merchants who want to maximize their returns by reaching out to consumers in the wealthy suburbs of America—and compelling personal finance features that include expert advice are a smart way to do that. In addition, many news media outlets in affluent communities have gone hyper-local and the uniqueness of their news is what keeps those strong. As always, they welcome features that are wonderfully written and trust NAPS to send them quality material, thanks to a relationship built up over more than 55 years.
Insist on advanced monitoring and measurement. NAPS finds placements in thousands of media outlets with its in-house monitoring staff. NAPS also uses several external monitoring services, but not one of those generates even one-third of the total number of placements that NAPS finds for clients. One reason is that many publications can't be tracked digitally. Some remove digital tracking devices, making it more difficult to find placements. NAPS goes the extra mile to help clients show tangible evidence of a job well done.
Savvy clients insist on using real metrics to determine return on investment based on sales, not estimated ad values, which are calculated using questionable multipliers. For free measurement tips on how to give management compelling sales figures to justify and get additional budget for your efforts, click here.
NAPS consistently delivers unsurpassed value, engaging more readers, generating more phone calls, e-mails and Web hits, and driving more sales relative to other methods of getting the word out to the target audiences of clients. In addition, we generate many more "earned" than "unearned" media placements to provide greater credibility for client messages. We also provide the best and most extensive coverage in traditional and new media placements by catering to the editors on their terms, in the formats that they prefer instead of what would be more convenient for us or cheaper for us to provide. Our clients don't want to save money by skimping on distribution costs and sacrificing results in the process. We spare no expense to maximize results at a cost that is a small fraction of what clients would pay on their own to get the same placements. Clients choose our service because we offer the most comprehensive distribution platform available at the most cost-effective rates.
North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) is a service that distributes publicity in a variety of formats to 10,000+ newspapers, thousands of online publications, 6,500+ radio stations and 1,000+ TV stations nationwide. Formats include CDs, camera-ready repro proofs, postings on www.napsnet.com as downloadable files for editors with RSS feeds by subject, e-mails, Twitter feeds @NAPSnews, Facebook posts, social media, blogs, tapes, the NAPS YouTube Channel, podcasting via iTunes and more. Expected results are 100 to 400 placements in print, 800+ placements in online publications with each print release, 300+ on-air placements for each Radio Feature Release and 100+ on-air placements for each Video Feature Release. NAPS guarantees complete satisfaction with each release or another one free! For information or a free proposal, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call (800) 222-5551 or visit www.napsinfo.com.