Hope Sander, a Senior Account Executive at Gregory FCA, likes to say that she is “passionate about storytelling.” As a member of the Qwoted 100, she’s certainly proven her chops working in an area that’s not the easiest to humanize: the financial services industry. This author knows; on my Bankadelic podcast, I sometimes have to work extra hard to make subjects like software as a service and robotic process automation spring to life.
Sander treads a well-traveled beat in novel ways. She works with ETF issuers, asset/wealth managers, private equity firms, mortgage originators and lenders, and fintechs. The question remains, though, who gets to tell the storyteller’s story?
As we invite Sander to do just that, we’re rolling out the Qwoted red carpet (which, when you consider our logo, is really more orange).
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any
category you’re passionate about?
Hope Sander: I believe that the future of PR will be more data driven. Data driven in a way that helps show our clients the direct impact we have on their bottom line or specified goal. As PR professionals, we
understand how powerful PR efforts can be. Most of us are fortunate enough to witness how a
successful PR campaign can elevate a client’s brand, credibility and thought leadership. It’s not
always easy to quantify that value to a client in black and white way.
In the future, I believe there will be more high-tech and comprehensive options to truly
understand how a campaign has helped generate leads, grow assets or reach various client
goals. This data can also help us internally throughout the duration of a campaign by providing a
deeper understanding of how certain tactics are resonating with an audience and adjust
accordingly. Overall, I foresee data analytics becoming more prominent in the PR profession going forward.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?
Sander: I do my homework. It’s important to speak a reporter’s language. I put in the necessary time and
effort it takes to fully grasp a certain topic which, in turn, helps me create a stronger pitch. As a
PR professional in the financial services industry, there are many complex ideas and terms
thrown around ever so casually by our clients. I make sure to educate myself on the subject
matter at hand first before drafting a pitch. This has led to a higher response rate from reporters
since I’m able to properly distill my clients thoughts into a timely pitch that speaks to them.
I look outside the box for media opportunities. I’m passionate about finding new media
publications/platforms that could be beneficial for my clients. By doing this, we can develop
long-term relationships with individuals seeking to transform the media landscape and help our
clients become trailblazers in new mediums.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
Sander: I believe there are a few ways to achieve this. First off, it’s important to know who you’re
pitching and you must be able to craft a tailored pitch that either adds a new perspective to a
previous story, provides compelling/original data or tells a fresh story on a trending news item.
Secondly, it pays off to be scrappy. Persistence is key to securing a great piece of coverage for
a client. If you continue to follow up with a reporter or producer in a respectable manner, your
odds of getting their attention increases as does your chances of earning coverage.
If following up over email is not successful, try to contact them on social media or over the
phone. Exhaust all options!
Qwoted: How does PR in 2022 square with the future of journalism?
Sander: Both professions will have a tough time breaking through the noise – whether that be getting a
reporter’s attention in a sea of emails or getting a lot of “clicks” on a story. The future of
journalism is digital and extremely fast-paced. In order to get a reader’s attention, headlines
need to be eye-catching. Same goes with pitch from a PR professional.
PR professionals and journalists need to become more and more in tune with what topics are
important to their audience. PR professionals can learn from this by creating short, catchy
pitches that uncover timely topics that directly impact the audience.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?
Sander: It depends on the type of PR support an individual or company is looking for. At a high-level, I’d
recommend looking at the results a certain PR professional or company has achieved in the
past. These pieces of coverage are indicative of what a certain PR professional or company
could achieve for you.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Sander: Be an information sponge. You won’t advance as a PR professional if you don’t know the ins
and outs of your client and their subject matter. Ask questions and absorb everything you can
about your client. That rule will position you to be a sought-after and expert PR practitioner.