The media loves to cover some of the things you are already doing at your law practice.
You read that right! Chances are that your law firm is doing a ton of newsworthy things every year, and like most firms you’re not getting any press. But why?…to put it simply, it’s because you’re not asking for it.
In reading this post, you’ll become inspired to recognize the news worthiness of your work, learn how to tell the story in a press release, and start taking advantage of the enormous benefits that come from media coverage.
The benefits of media coverage almost go without saying, but here are some highlights:
- It’s free exposure to the right audience.
- It can be used as content in your website, blog, and social media.
- You can leverage this distinguished and prestigious form of social proof.
- You can use media quotes on your website and in marketing materials.
- Journalists are gregarious and make excellent referral sources.
- You’ll be considered to be an expert and an authority.
The best part, is that leveraging press gets easier and more effective as you continue to build a relationship with the media. And, a great PR strategy can create a powerful synergy with your other marketing areas, such as SEO or content marketing.
The Press Release
You’re sold on free publicity, right? Then, it’s time to start asking for media coverage. So, start by writing and distributing your first press release.
A press release is a brief statement, sent to targeted members of the media, that tells a complete, newsworthy story. It answers the following questions: Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and How?
These days press releases are distributed almost exclusively by email, and there are some very clear formatting rules that must be followed in them. We’ve created No form found, but before you dive into that, let’s discuss the most important part of a press release: the impact of your story.
In order for your story to take advantage of any media attention, you must explain the impact that your story has on the readership of the publication. If it’s a local newspaper, spell out how your story affects the community. If your press release is going to an industry specific publication, then you must connect the dots as to how the matter will affect that industry. This is, in essence, what newsworthiness is. So, let’s examine the 8 stories that your firm could be using.
High-profile, unusual, or otherwise noteworthy cases and verdicts are one of the best ways to earn media attention. Cases that involve new laws or new technology are low hanging fruits that always warrant a press release. Always get approval from your clients before distributing a release.
Recognition or Awards
If you receive any award or recognition, this can be a good basis for a feature. Don’t forget to send these press releases to your alumni associations, your bar association and local paper.
Live Events or Appearances
Live seminars, lectures or panels that you participate in are always worthy of a press release. In addition to giving you press it can generate additional exposure for the event, so they will be more likely to invite you back.
Class Action Lawsuits
Press releases are common for attorneys filing class action lawsuits that are open to the public and they almost always will get coverage. They can be equally powerful if you find yourself opposite of the ‘V’ from a class action lawsuit that you believe to be frivolous.
New partners or mergers
Adding a new partner or the merging of practices can usually generate some good buzz in your local news. The hiring of attorneys who are transitioning from a government position to private practice, or vice versa, can make a good story as well.
Pro bono work
While it’s pretty easy to draw the connection between the pro bono work you do and its benefit to the community, journalists may view it solely as a requirement of the bar. This can easily be overcome by choosing pro bono work that is inherently interesting, controversial or relevant to the readership of your target publication.
Any type of involvement in the community is can earn you some attention in the media, and ultimately bring clients through your door. This could include volunteer work or participation in civic organizations.
Changes to Your Business Model
The general operations of your firm can be newsworthy if you can tie it to something bigger than your firm. If you introduce flat fee billing, for example, you could frame it as “Cutting Edge Business Model Allows Professional Services to Revolutionize Billing: Local Law Firm Adopts New Model”.
Crafting a Press Release
Crafting the perfect press release is beyond the scope of this article, but we’ve created No form found. It outlines the proper format and walks you through the copy writing. Following the format is paramount; it can make or break your PR campaign. With a well written press release, you will be surprised at how little may be changed as it is adapted to it’s final form. And it makes sense, right? Journalists are as busy as you or I, and they are working with profit margins as thin as the paper they print on. So, the goal of your press release should be to give the media a complete story, that appeals to their audience, and is ready to publish. It’s as simple as that.
Media to Target
Press releases can be effective for all types of media, not just local newspapers. Remember that you may need to adjust the angle of your story in order to appeal to the specific audience. You can target:
- Local Newspapers
- Neighborhood newspapers or newsletters
- Blogs or Publications for affected industries
- News or Public radio
- Local TV news
- Legal blogs, podcasts or publications
- Bar association newsletters
- Alumni newsletters
Hopefully this post will help you garner the media attention that your practice deserves. Did we miss any stories that have earned you press? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to No form found.