At first glance, your law firm’s relationship with the media may not seem very important. After all, your firm is likely trying to stay out of the news—with client confidentiality and all. Yet, free, positive marketing is generally considered good for your firm. Further, being seen as a source for news articles can quickly build your reputation as an expert in your field.
In any case, this doesn’t just happen without effort. Even if you are an expert in your field, it’s hard to get quoted if media personnel can’t find you. There are some basic steps you need to take. Still, for lawyers who can foster their media relationships, an extra area of marketing opens up beyond content marketing, SEO, and ad campaigns.
To clarify, media relations is a specific sub-section of your overall law firm public relations efforts. And, although not every firm has media relations, whether you know it or not, your firm has public relations—some firms just don’t give it any thought. Sponsoring a scholarship to the local university may be great public relations, but getting an article in the paper about the recipient is good media relations. Both of these actions build your firm’s reputation and credibility.
Media Relations in Your Law Firm
Law firm media relations does not exist in a vacuum. It fits inside of your overall marketing strategy to help your firm build its reputation and credibility in your community and your knowledge area. In the grand scheme of your marketing strategy, it is more akin to networking than anything else. It’s about building mutually beneficial relationships between your firm and specific media outlets.
Building Good Relationships
To build these relationships, your law firm should at least have a basic foundation in brand management. As Tamara Sykes, the PR Manager at Postali, says, you’ll need a website, solid branding, and up-to-date social media profiles. This helps to build trust between you and a journalist—or other media professional.
However, those foundations are really just table-stakes. They ensure a partner can find you, contact you, and learn a little about what your firm has to offer. You’ll also want to establish a history of speaking or writing about a relevant subject and show that other people are interested in what you have to say. After all, you need to bring something to this relationship.
A simple way to do this is to develop your voice and grow a following on Twitter. Tamara tells us that journalists and other media professionals are generally frequent users of this space. Not only is it easy for them to research your previous writing, but they can see what kind of following you bring to the relationship.
Of course, this isn’t the only outlet to establish credibility (or lack of credibility, if you’re certain twitter users). In the end, the medium should match your goals. If you want to land the nightly news, you might create content on YouTube. Or, if you want to write guest articles in industry magazines, you may want to write long-form content on a platform like LinkedIn.
Goals of Media Relations
Ultimately, you need to keep your marketing goals in mind. In general, having a Twitter following for snarky fashion commentary won’t land you many more immigration cases. With media relations, speaking engagements, guest blogging, or even acting as a source for an article, the goal is to build your credibility and your firm’s reputation. This can take some time and requires steady effort.
Law Firm Media Relations Professionals
Here’s where media relations professionals come in. Although it is possible to handle these relationships on your own, it is likely not a good use of your time. You see, media relations professionals bring a host of capabilities to the table. Generally, these capabilities include proactive media outreach, media inquiry management, pursuing speaking engagements, cultivating awards and ratings, and—in some cases—crisis management.
Although the ultimate goal is for you or your firm to speak directly with (or write directly for) the partner you are pursuing, this may take some time. Law firm media relations professionals know the ropes. And, there may be some courtesies or conventions your media relations professional can clue you in on.
Getting Started with Media Relations
As Tamara Sykes says in the video below, it doesn’t happen with one phone call or the touch of a button. The process is about cultivating (hopefully) lasting relationships. So, if you want to leverage media relations in your law firm tomorrow, you’ll have to lay the groundwork today. First, if you haven’t already, determine what topic you want to build your reputation around. Then, consider what sort of publications would help you build that reputation (keep in mind where your potential new clients are likely to see you). Finally, get started creating. As you’ll learn in the video below, before you create content for someone else (or even comment on a story), you’ll likely need to create content of your own.
Take a look at the video below to see what Postali’s PR Manager, Tamara Sykes, says about building your reputation with law firm media relations.
How to Get It
Ready to make PR part of your law firm’s marketing strategy? Contact Postali. You can view some of their work, set up a free consultation, or even read a bit of their educational material. However, if you’d rather do a little more digging, head to our full review of Postali. There, you can read user comments, see a list of relevant features, and compare other providers.