Speech by William Mills, CEO of William Mills Agency
Given at the 18th Annual Leadership Conference for Community Bankers Association of Alabama
1. Find and articulate your vision
- Know your bank, people, products and how they should be positioned in the minds of customers.
- Provide clear, concise reasons why customers should do business with you.
- The ability to articulate your bank’s vision and value proposition is the most important element of success.
2. Know your customer (and prospects)
- Speak with your customers and ask them, “Why are we their banker?”
- Know the WHY behind the real value of your bank’s reputation.
3. Take Your Light From Under That Basket And Show It To The World
- You are doing great things each and every day.
- Whether it’s opening a high school student’s first checking account so she can save for college
- Or helping a college student with online bill pay to lay the foundation for a good credit history.
- You need to commit to investing your time and energy in public relations for your
- Folks in your community
4. Know Your Media
- Actively read, watch or listen to the various media outlets in your local market.
- Take an active interest is knowing the media and understanding everything about them.
- Who owns your local newspaper?
- Is it part of a national chain?
- What’s the circulation of the newspaper?
5. Build relationships with editors, writers and producers
- Like teachers and those in public service, journalists often don’t make a lot of money, and they do what they do because of their passion.
- Like any relationship, you have to have mutual trust and respect if you want it to work. Journalists like relevant, sincere compliments of their work.
- If you like a story someone wrote in your local paper, email the writer and tell them why.
- Offer to help in the future or to be a source.
- Offer to take an editor out to lunch or coffee.
6. Distribute news releases regularly
- At least twice a month as a part of a balanced PR program
- You don’t have to have a degree in public relations to write a good press release. I’m sure there are at least a few people at your bank who can write, edit and proof a good news release in Associated Press (AP) style.
7. Spend ONE CENT on a used copy of “The Associated Press Stylebook” from Amazon
- Journalists recognize when you write in AP style and they appreciate it when you speak their language.
- You’ll know you are doing great PR when you see press coverage about your bank with the exact words that you provided to the media.
8. Embrace Social Media
- I have a confession to make. I didn’t want our company to embrace social networks, but the fact is every month, social networking helps generate new business for my company.
- Here are some of the things we did to embrace social media:
- We formed a voluntary social media committee at our company.
- We identified the types of social media that would best drive traffic to our site.
- LinkedIn profile
- Facebook profile
- YouTube channel
- Corporate blog
- Twitter account
- Social media is so important that
- We did not have prior relationships with HALF of all new clients signed last year, but they found us through searching the Web.
9. Find and use the best keywords for SEO using free online tools
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Help your future customers find your bank’s website quickly and easily for free.
- Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines will rank your bank higher in their free listings IF
- Your bank receives positive press coverage in unbiased, third party news and other media outlets.
- This is why public relations is the foundation of all relevant search engine results.
- Third-party press coverage is the most important part of your bank’s Internet presence
- If prospective customers can’t find you in Google search, they might not find you at all.
10. Take advantage of free marketing measurement tools
- It is best to quantify all the results your hard work in public relations is doing.
- A popular way to do this is by caluclating your Klout score that analyzes your influence in social media.
- Google Analytics is also a helpful source to see what sites are driving the traffic to your site.
In closing, if you remember only one thing, it’s that now, more than ever, PR is the most important part of your work, and in the end you will enhance shareholder value, grow your business and have the reputation you and your bank deserves.