Press releases are a great way to spread the message about your law firm, whether it’s new cases you’ve won or new partnerships you’ve built. They do not replace full-scale PR outreach to journalists but can get your story out quickly.
In this section, we explain how to best use press releases to market your law firm.
What should your press release be about?
Journalists tend to ignore and delete press releases that do not specifically offer something that they consider newsworthy and/or of interest to their readers, and that fail to include the who, what, where, when, and why in the first paragraph.
A press release is not an article or an ad, and it’s a common rookie mistake to write one that is an overt sales pitch.
The purpose of a press release is generally to help you make an announcement to the world. Because of this, the topic you choose should be unique and also timely. For example, if your firm gained a new partner three years ago, it’s not a good idea to send out a press release about this now, as the information is old news.
8 basic ideas for press releases:
- Milestones such as 10, 25, 50, 100 years in business or number of cases
- Announcing a speaking engagement
- Forging new partnerships
- Opening a new office
- Winning an award or receiving recognition
- Hiring new team members
- Winning a significant case (perhaps one that was being closely followed)
- Offering a new service or a new practice area
A securities law firm that we work with has seen very good results from writing press releases about breaking news related to pending litigation involving wrongdoing by large companies. This is known as crafting your press release to have a “news hook,” and leads come pouring in when people search for that company name and that legal situation and find our client’s press release in the search results.
Always be sure to follow proper ethics guidelines when commenting on specific cases, and get consent if you are including client information in a press release.
Focus on the headline
After you’ve chosen what to write your press release about, spend some time thinking about the headline, since that is what will drive people to click through to your website to read it.
If you don’t get your attention-grabbing headline right, people are unlikely to want to read on. You don’t just need the meat of the story, you need the sizzle.
You can add a key phrase into the headline to help with SEO efforts even for other sites it goes onto, but the headline should be short, strong, and engaging.
For example, take a look at this sample law firm press release.
The headline lets the reader know the press release will be about a new partnership, and explains that one of the benefits of acquiring a new partner is growing the firm’s compliance group.
The first paragraph
The first paragraph must contain the most important (or newsworthy) information, and readers should be able to find the who, what, where, when, and why at the top.
Most press releases that go out to the media should only contain three or four short paragraphs and fit on one page. You can always add extra information to the “evergreen” version that is posted on your own website or blog.
Add quotes and stats
A press release should include quotes from people involved, such as partners at your firm or others connected to the news topic.
You should also back up all your points with statistics and data as appropriate.
Your press release doesn’t just have to be plain text. You can make it more exciting by adding elements like videos. Embedding videos in your press release gives you further opportunities to offer content people might find useful. Keep in mind it may cost more when you submit them to wire services if a video is included (see below).
Subtle calls to action
You can also add links to other pages of your law firm’s site or blog that are relevant and support the story. This way you can direct people to further reading to learn more about your firm or to an attorney’s bio page.
Remember, no sales pitches!
About your firm
At the end of the press release, add one short paragraph about your firm that is not an overt sales pitch but rather helps illustrate your firm’s unique value.
Make sure to include information that allows journalists to reach the key media contact in your firm, or include your PR agency’s contact info.
Submitting your press release
Use reputable sites like BusinessWire, MarketWire, or PRWeb.com. Using these paid services should cost you under a thousand bucks for the basic local release, and sending it out nationally can cost significantly more.
One high-paying or long-term client brought in initially because of a press release could certainly pay for the whole venture. Not to mention that if you really do have a newsworthy story and it gets picked up, not just by distribution sites but by bloggers and journalists covering the topics, you will get some high-quality backlinks.
Going beyond press releases
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and ProfNet are services that feed you leads about journalists who are looking for sources for their articles. Check them out as you develop a variety of PR skills.
Press releases are a great way to tell your law firm’s story and possibly get you tapped as a source by media covering the news in your industry.
If you can figure out how to include the “steak” and some “sizzle” in your press releases to attract the attention of journalists, you just might find you start having fun being your own public relations expert.
Press releases and PR tactics in general may eventually get you television coverage, which can be very powerful to highlight on your website because you appear as a celebrity in your niche.
Follow our tips above to make sure your press releases get the best coverage and organic search visibility and generate new leads for your law firm.