One way for Publicity Hounds to form relationships with media contacts is to take them to lunch.
If you’ve never done this before, it can sound daunting and maybe even downright dangerous. What if you say something stupid? What if you end up with a piece of spinach on your front tooth? What if the reporter asks you something you don’t know?
First, it doesn’t have to be frightening. Remember, if you have something reporters want–like information on topics they cover, or story ideas, or other sources they can contact–they will welcome the chance to meet you.
Second, spinach on your teeth isn’t the end of the world. I have known reporters who barely know the difference between a fork and a spoon.
And if they ask you something you don’t know, just say “I don’t know, but I’ll try to find out.”
Lunch, or coffee at the local sandwich shop, or even a 15-minute meeting at the newspaper office, are great ways to introduce yourself and ask the all-important question: “How can I help you?” When they tell you, listen to what they say, then help them. Be sure to take your media kit and offer it.
Learn more about what to do when you take a reporter to lunch in the article I wrote titled “18 Ways to Schmooze with Reporters.”