Saukville, Wis. (Sept. 3, 2004) -- Newspapers and other outlets can offer a wealth of publicity for firms, but there are tricks to maximizing your relationship with reporters and their publications.

Publicity expert Joan Stewart of recommends that firms' partners invite reporters for lunch or coffee. "Let them know the areas in which you are an expert," she said. "Send them copies of industry reports, articles from trade publications, and tips about trends. This helps your media contacts understand the accounting profession, and keeps your name in front of them."

Among her other tips: Tell the media about the biggest problems your clients are facing, and how you help them solve those problems; offer your opinions on proposed legislation that deals with changes in tax or accounting laws; and give the media news tips and story ideas, even if they don't relate to the accounting industry.

"Establish yourself as a valuable resource and reporters will keep coming back to you for more information," she said. Stewart also recommended writing articles for print newsletters, an often-overlooked publicity vehicle. She cites one good resource as the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters, which lists more than 18,000 newsletters.

"Get the editorial calendar for your local business journal to see which special sections are devoted to the accounting industry," said Stewart. "Contact the editor of that section and pitch a story idea, anything from an emerging trend to ways that your firm solves a particular problem."

-- Jeff Stimpson

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