Making the case for law firms engaging in public relations

Advertising vs public relations

How law firms benefit from digital media outreach

Digital media outreach  — public relations for the 21st century — delivers something every attorney and law firm needs: credibility, credibility, credibility!

“Advertising is when you tell people how great you are. PR is when someone else says how great you are” (Guy Kawasaki)

Print publications – from daily newspapers to high-circulation magazines – continue to change and adapt to online, prompting savvy rainmakers to make the jump as well.

Matching the parade of law firms that have REDUCED traditional advertising on television, radio and in newspapers, law firms are discovering that a well-designed and executed media outreach program in conjunction with a first-class web site, search engine optimization and effective social media brings in highly qualified leads.

Is it worth the effort? Yes. Unlike advertising, media outreach is third-party endorsement of your firm and practice. A stranger saying nice things about you is much more powerful than you telling the world how wonderful you are.

A unique feature of online media is very precise verticalization. A practice specializing in mesothelioma can find bloggers who cover that field exclusively. Likewise, a personal injury firm can pinpoint its practice expertise via bloggers interested only in head or spinal chord injuries. The key, of course, is finding the most efficient media outlet.

Today’s PR professionals experienced in dealing with online media have developed unique tools to match a law firm’s specialty to a media outlet, including an online
“e-zine,” or blog. Once identified, the PR pro and the law firm put their heads together to develop the “news hook.”

Bloggers, freelancers, reporters and editors are inundated daily with press releases, backgrounders, media advisories and more—that part of public relations has not changed
for centuries. The news hook, therefore must quickly, completely and creatively explain to the media specialist why an announcement is important.

Concomitantly, if and when a blogger or reporter responds to a release with a request for additional information, perhaps a claimant’s quote, or clarification of a point of law, respond. Now.

Distributing press releases though wire services

Distribution sites for press releases

An effective tool to consider for reaching an effective tool to consider for reaching traditional media (TV/radio, magazines, newspapers) and online (blogs, freelancers, newsletters, etc.) is preparing and distributing a press release at least monthly via PRWeb, Business Wire or Marketwire.

This effort keeps you at the top of Google News, and helps your Google rankings. Over time, The more media coverage you receive, the higher your Google rankings.

Many professional media writers keep a list of trusted sources. If the first contact doesn’t respond, they simply go down the list until someone does. After all the hard work of developing a media list, creating the news hook and distributing the news only to put a request on the back burner is a waste. Manage your media outreach with the same care you manage your cases. The payback is definitely worth the effort.

About John McDougall

John is the CEO of McDougall Interactive, publisher of The Legal Marketing Review and an authority on internet marketing for law firms. His team of over a dozen people helps law firms understand how to create a comprehensive internet marketing strategy and how to use of SEO, Paid Search and Social Media to generate more, and better, leads.

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