This guest post comes from Sheri Baer who heads our broadcast practice. She shares a behind-the-scenes look at one particular client’s story and how the humanity played out in both print and broadcast media.
As broadcast director at The Hoffman Agency, it’s my job to get executives on TV. I spent 13 years working on the media side of things, so I know what makes a compelling story. And, I’ll be the first to say, we don’t always have the goods.
So we get creative. We try to piggyback more interesting angles. We break the technical down into analogies people can understand. And we coach our clients to deliver with passion and conviction. After all, TV isn’t just about what you have to say, it’s also about how you say it.
But every now and then, a story shows up that has it all: drama, emotion, real human benefit. People you care about. A story that lingers long after it’s told. This was the case with Gordon Murray and Dan Goldie, the co-authors of a new personal finance book called “The Investment Answer.”
At first blush, the PR mission was an obvious one: drive awareness and demand for the book. But after spending time with Murray and Goldie, it became clear that to give full justice to the book, we also needed to tell the story behind the book.
Here’s how it goes. Murray spent 25 years on Wall Street working with many of the world’s largest institutional investors. Goldie is an independent financial advisor who has worked with individual investors for the past 20 years. They crossed paths professionally and became close friends. While they come from opposite sides of the financial industry, they discovered they shared common beliefs about how individuals should approach long-term investing. They talked about writing a book together. But they never did it. That is, until Murray was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Goldie responded by saying, “We need to write this book now.”
And that’s exactly what they did. The result is “The Investment Answer,” a short, easy-to-read book designed to de-mystify the investment process, boiling it down to the essentials every investor should know.
Murray and Goldie are convinced Wall Street stacks the odds against the individual investor. But they also believe you can still have a successful investment experience. That’s pretty compelling. But it becomes downright transcendent when you realize that Murray chose to spend the last months of his life putting this wisdom into words.
For sure, there are media outlets that are interested in covering the book – and just the book. But we also realized that the extraordinary story behind the book could broaden the audience even further. And for Murray and Goldie, the whole point was to get the book into as many hands as possible.
By our painting the complete picture, Mike Cassidy of The San Jose Mercury News immediately recognized how the themes of friendship, loyalty and perseverance would resonate with his readers. And with Cassidy’s expert storytelling in our court, it became easier to spark national interest. We secured an opportunity with Fox Business Network’s “Countdown to the Closing Bell” with Liz Claman.
At this point, Murray was two-thirds of the way into his doctor’s “six months to live” prognosis. In light of Murray’s deteriorating condition, it became clear that a live interview segment would clearly push the limits of his strength. Thus, the challenge: how to help Murray and Goldie make the most of this opportunity while working within the constraints of Murray’s health and the pressures of live TV.
Here’s what we did:
Arranged with the producer in New York for Murray to handle the interview as a “phoner” from home with Goldie live in a remote TV studio
Worked with Murray and Goldie to identify the ideal question and conversation flow
Gathered photos and video of Murray to send to Fox as the supporting visuals for his voice
- Talked through the proposed (and anticipated) questions and responses
Created a mock interview and simulated the interview multiple times; practiced and then practiced some more
In the clip below, you’ll see the results. Fox graciously incorporated our general guidance and flow, and Murray and Goldie performed well, hitting the key notes we had practiced. Murray and Goldie couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome, including the book’s meteoric rise from unranked to the No. 1 seller in Amazon.com’s Investing and Personal Finance categories immediately after the interview.
Judging by the feedback from Fox Business, it was a win-win for both sides.
As one producer commented, “I thought it went beautifully today. Gordon’s answers were inspiring and I thought it had the right mix of business, emotion and information.”
How gratifying to tell a good story – made even better by the story behind the story.
Click below to watch the Fox Business piece in its entirety.