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  • Writer's pictureHannah Duncan

Money2020: How to get spontaneous interviews (from me)

Ok, so as a financial journalist, Money2020 is a hive of brains for me to go pick at. But better than that, it's a place to meet fresh experts, and get completely new insights. I can be the first to report about totally undiscovered things, which haven't yet hit the press. Amazing.

And honestly, that's how I prefer to go about it. I set up a few interviews in advance, to get the must-have names. But I leave loads of room for spontaneity... Otherwise, what's the point right? I might as well do everything from Zoom.

a table of things I know and don't know - money2020

For new players, bootstrappers, or those who can't afford PR teams yet, it's an opportunity to get noticed. Even if you haven't managed to get your name out much, lurkers like me could be your ticket. So, here is an article to explain how I got about it, to maximise your chances... And make my articles better.

Every journalist is different, but this is how it works in Money2020 from my point of view:

  • So, you get a commission from an editor (yay!). Let's say, it's "Go uncover sizzling trends in wealth management technology and fire out 850 words on it for our magazine next month". Bimba. On it. Let's go to Money2020.

  • You book in a few prominent interviews for safety (and also because you usually need to confirm this with your editor in advance... He or she might have someone they want you to include too). But after that, you can be spontaneous. Especially freelancers like me. We lance around freely, looking for cracking little nuggets to make our articles glimmer. I'm talking two or three lines here on unique ideas or innovations to add a new dimension to the piece.

  • Meandering around the stands, you're reading the signs and slogans... Looking for that cheeky little buzzword or something that could give your article a real zesty pop. So, in this example, any edgy tech company which has "wealth tech", "compliance", "investment management" is a winner. Signs which hint at it are a maybe. Stands that have absolutely f$ck all to do with wealth tech are screened out of my eye-line. FOREVER. No just joking. But for the time being. HOT TIP: I will usually find myself lurking in the general direction of coffee... so put your stand in the caffeine path, if possible. I don't do it on purpose, it's instinctive.

  • When you catch a promising company, you chat to whoever is manning the stand. And sometimes, let me tell you, that can be a surprisingly moody person. But if I like your tech for my article, I won't let that stop me. I will just smile more. The conversation goes something like this: "Morning! Hey, do you do any technology for wealth managers?" "Uhh... yes, we are working on an AI that can ESG" "And do you have any wealth management clients at the moment?" "We actually just signed one yesterday..." "Amazing! My name is Hannah, I am a journalist, and if you have 15 minutes now or later, I'd love to interview you for an article I am writing about wealth tech" "Sure, I am free now" "Great, can we get coffee real quick first? I'll tell you about the magazine while we queue... "

HOT TIP: If I have to come back later, there is a slight risk that I just won't. Sorry. It's just that I might get caught up spontaneously interviewing someone else, get everything I need, lose track of time or find myself celebrating life with a cocktail on a pedalo. Soz!

  • Annnnddd... Hey presto! We're doing it, we're interviewing! Ok, so what can I tell you about this bit...? What I would say is, don't try to sell me your company. I know that's what you want. I get it. I get it. I get it. You need publicity or clients. Understood. Now tell me about the trends. The best publicity you can do for yourself here is come across as an expert, and not an advert. I'm pretty chill to talk to you (unless you're a bad bank), talk to me like a friend in a pub about what's going on today. Your quotes will stand out that way, trust me!

HOT TIP: You can always say "off the record" if you want to give me some context without crossing any confidentiality lines. Or if you need to brain dump your thoughts on me in a manic pile (it happens), and I can pick out the most relevant bits for me, and we'll go from there.

  • Ok, and the interview comes to an end. Nice! ... BTW you can alway ask me for feedback at the end. If you want to improve your interview style, I'm very happy to tell you what was good, and what needs work. Then you know for next time! ... Aaaaaaannndd.... You can also ask me at the end what I think too. Don't forget that I am also interviewing many other people in your eco-system, including your clients. Over the years I have noticed that the most successful CEOs and founders tend to ask as many questions as they receive.

Ok, so hope this is helpful! Catch you next Money2020...? :D

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