Publicity: Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, Take a Reporter to Lunch

Sometimes a phone call isn't intimate or long enough to convey all the information you have for a reporter.

Two examples would be: if you have a dozen or so story ideas, or if you'd like to explain an extremely complex financial concept or strategy to a reporter.

If this is the case, you should consider offering to meet the reporter over coffee or for a quick lunch, for a "backgrounder" on your topic.

It's a relatively common event in the media world. Many reporters jump at the chance to pick a knowledgeable expert's brain. You may be able to get information from them about what types of stories they are interested in, and what other reporters at their outlet might want to use you as a source.

And, as I'm sure you've recognized from your years of client service, meeting a client in person jumpstarts a personal relationship that can cement a professional one.

One caveat: Whereas you might take a client to an expensive restaurant to emphasize your financial planning success, don't do this with a reporter. No lavish, expense-account spots. It looks like you're trying to buy favor.

Most publications have pretty strong ethics codes-the reporter will probably be obligated to pay for their own meal, and they won't like shelling out for filet mignon. Suggest too fancy an establishment and they probably will turn you down.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit http://www.MediaImpact.biz or call 212-243-8383.

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