This post contributed by Paramjit L. Mahli of The Rainmakers Roundtable, a source of business development for lawyers and professionals who no longer want to experience the cycles of feast or famine and are ready to grow their businesses with clarity and ease. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this fast paced world of instant communication and self appointed experts traditional public relations is more important than ever before. Believe it or not, there is a difference between self-appointed Gurus on social media and those portrayed as knowledgeable, credible sources in the media.
The missing factor is lawyers failing to capitalize on public relations opportunities, particularly those lawyers in small firms and living outside of the urban metropolitan areas. Frequent reasons attorneys cite for not incorporating public relations are not having enough time, a lack of understanding of its role, or the dearth of resources to make public relations part of their business development plans.
Too often this is coupled with stereotypes of the press, such as reporters’ interest lying with big law firm news or their only wanting the drama and not the facts, and the cynicism reporters have towards attorneys. It’s no surprise that media relations is frequently relegated to the bottom of business development activities, particularly if the firm has already achieved some “visibility” that did not result in new clients.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Every day hundreds of small and medium-sized law firm are quoted in widely-read publications, raising awareness of their firm and gaining credibility as knowledgeable professionals in the marketplace. Firms that don't realize this suffer from missed clients.
Fine-Tuning Your PR Plan
A good pr plan is at the heart of every good business development strategy. It will:
- Build awareness
- Position the firm's attorneys in their legal area of expertise
- Position the firm as a value added contributor for the legal industry nationally and locally
- Build goodwill among your key constituents
- Educate and persuade your target audience
- Have benchmarks in place
What is essential to the success of any plan is to understand that public relations like most marketing activities requires hard work. Distributing the odd press release by the paralegal or office manager who is wearing multiple hats will not generate calls from the press. Rather a disservice is being committed, you are taking them away from billable work.
The irony of course, is that both groups need each other for their work. Reporters are continually seeking sources for their stories, and attorneys need to get more than their qualifications, out in the market place in other words, they need to get known in their target market.
Start your 101 PR efforts by joining the Legal PR Network for FREE. Since the network was made free, we’ve had media requests looking for legal input on drivers licenses/insurance, the former IMF chief case and banking disclosures. These are just a few of the requests reporters have sent us have the last few months.
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