Public relations (PR) is a topic where you either know what it is, think you know, or have no earthly idea. For law firms, how you approach PR can significantly impact your reputation and eventually revenue. So, here are some of the basics and what they look like in action.
What every lawyer should know about legal public relations.
Public relations (PR) is anything and everything that puts your name, your brand, and your reputation in front of the public. Legal PR is your name in a headline about a verdict. It’s a news release announcing a huge settlement or a high-profile class-action suit. It’s also your firm’s name on a local softball team’s uniform that you chose to sponsor. It’s a guest lecture at your alma mater. It’s a press conference to discuss a verdict or an interview on a news show about the latest legal hot topic.
Remember, PR is an organic way to strengthen the relationship between your firm and your ideal client, which is pretty darn crucial to the success of a law firm.
Being a lawyer is not for the faint-hearted. It is a challenging, noble profession in which you toil countless hours for your clients…and a smart PR plan can help get more.
Law firms are a business, and like other businesses, successful attorneys need a robust public relations strategy to rise to the top – and stay there. This strategy must consist of planned and continuing activities referred to as PR tactics. It’s important to note, though, that they should be implemented with PR principles in mind. Here’s our take.
Meet your clients where they are with confidence and compassion.
Q. What do lawyers and dentists have in common? A. Their clients are usually in pain by the time they call for an appointment.
People who google “DUI lawyer” or “motorcycle accident” are hurt physically, emotionally, and financially. They typically want their legal problems resolved as quickly as possible. You can transform a prospect into a client when you address their pain points AND how your firm can relieve their anxiety. You cannot promise an outcome, but you should offer a firm commitment to use your knowledge and resources for the best possible result. To do this:
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Muhammad Ali
It is not unseemly to share recognition when you are good at what you do. Awards and honors show that you meet or exceed the standards of your profession. Potential clients want to know that you will tackle their case with expertise and experience. They also like knowing that you are not only a lawyer, you’re also a parent, spouse, partner, and engaged community member.
Be a source of solid information whether they’re clients or not.
Legal PR is about building credibility. When you’re considered a thought leader, your personal reputation grows, and your practice gains traction. Your ideal clients will gravitate toward a problem solver and a stakeholder toward the greater good.
People appreciate the personal touch, no matter how many followers you have.
Your social media accounts (and you should have them) are a valuable PR tool. Just use them as a dialogue, not a monologue. Your posts, stories, and videos should support your brand in an appropriate way, and that conforms to the American Bar Association’s marketing guidelines.
Be flexible on the day-to-day; be persistent on the long game.
It takes time to implement a successful legal PR initiative. Be generous with your time and knowledge (without jeopardizing your practice or personal life) to increase name recognition. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but that fifteen-minute guest spot on a podcast or a local talk show can yield big results down the road.
When you apply the fundamentals of law firm PR, you are setting your law practice up for success. Regardless of your size or area of law, it’s never too early or late to put your law firm front and center. Our legal marketing experts are ready to help with tools that include:
If you’re ready to put a solid PR plan in place, give us a call: 888-570-3907