The advent of social media forever changed the public relations sphere. Due to the popularity of social media platforms and review websites, law firms now receive more media coverage than ever before.
On this podcast episode, host Sasha Berson welcomes Consultant, Public Relations and Marketing Strategist, and Speaker Janet Falk to discuss how to grow your legal practice by focusing on critical elements of PR for law firms.
Sasha and Janet talk about:
- Janet’s no-nonsense approach to PR for law firms.
- 5 Key elements to growing your business.
- Changing your perspective of PR to focus on building mutually beneficial relationships.
- 2 Strategies to gain reporters' attention and get published in your target market.
- The importance of investing in your business.
- How to stand out from the competition and earn social proof.
- Top ways to set up your website for maximum client turnover.
- The importance of having a periodic legal newsletter.
- The 3 best ways to grow a small law firm.
Janet Falk's E-book - Create and Monitor Your Marketing RBI
Connect with Janet Falk:
- Website - Janet Falk
- LinkedIn - Janet Falk
- LinkedIn - Falk Communications and Research
- Facebook - Janet Falk
With a precise overview of how digital marketing and PR for law firms work together to help businesses reach their goals via content creation, social media strategy, and audience engagement, you're probably wondering:
How do you start a successful law firm public relations campaign? Simple, follow these steps:
- Implement 5 Steps for Your Law Firm Public Relations Tactics
- Create an effective Law Firm PR Plan
- Incorporate Social Media in Your Law Firm PR Plan
- Integrate Digital Marketing in Your Law Firm PR Plan
- Use Effective Platforms for Your Attorney Public Relations Campaign
This blog goes through each phase so you can level up your public relations strategies.
Implement 5 Steps for Your Law Firm Public Relations Tactics
If you want your public and media relations plan to be a success, we recommend you do this:
1. Set Your Law Firm PR Goals
Strategic public relations for law firms can significantly impact business growth. Prospective clients hire attorneys based on their brand reputation. A well-crafted and consistent law firm PR campaign can build much-desired credibility.
Therefore, your law firm's PR and business goals must align. If they don't, you may achieve success from a PR standpoint but not from a financial perspective - a waste of time, money, and marketing resources.
If used wisely, law firm public relations can amplify success and cultivate thought leadership, as well as:
- Raise brand awareness
- Build recognition for individual attorneys and firms as a whole
- Communicate mergers, acquisitions, and relocations
- Increase business in a new market segment
- Develop employee goodwill
- Garner attention regarding successful settlements and verdicts to influence public perception
- Generate referrals from other attorneys
2. Recognize Your Target Audience
Who are you trying to reach with your PR efforts? While the obvious answer is “clients,” you need to be more specific.
Target audiences typically include current and past clients, prospective clients, referring counsel, and firm employees. However, from a PR strategy perspective, you must also consider peripheral thought leaders - government officials, community leaders, media members, corporate exes, etc. - who shape your clients’ opinions.
Thus, to avoid generalizations and to reach the broadest possible market, we recommend creating various customer personas for each audience segment you serve.
When developing personas, consider clients’ pain points and determine how to market your services.
Some guiding questions:
- Is my target audience local, regional, national, or global?
- In which industries do they work?
- What kinds of content do they read, listen to, and view?
- Which trade and consumer publications do they read?
- What is their general demographic?
- What are the needs of my target audience, and how can I meet them?
Without personas, your communication will be untargeted, impersonal, and ineffective. Personas guide the development of critical messages. As a marketing tool, they ensure you say the right things to the right people and help you create compelling content tailored to specific stages of the sales cycle.
3. Consider Your Law Firm Message
PR and law firm digital marketing are all about targeting the right audience at the ideal time with optimized messaging that speaks to their challenges. If your law firm's messaging does not align with your values, beliefs, and field of practice, you will struggle to connect with clients.
Another consideration to do with public relations for lawyers is consistency. The tone and style of your messaging must be consistent across all channels and mediums. This includes syndication sites, your website, guest posts, social media platforms, and anywhere else you display your content.
4. Imagine the Result of Your Law Firm PR Campaign
What impact do you want your PR campaign to have on your target audience? What emotions do you want to elicit? What actions do you want your audience to take after viewing or reading your content?
During this step, it is time to focus on your call to action (CTA). Virtually every piece of PR content you create should include a CTA. One exception is press releases, especially earned media releases.
Remember that your CTA should align with the tone and purpose of the content in which it is included. For example, the CTA on a service page can be much more direct. It might use phrasing such as "Contact our firm today.”
5. Measure Your Law Firm PR Results
Measuring law firm PR campaigns helps you understand the effectiveness of your PR tactics and refine your strategy moving forward. With such data, you can make informed decisions to improve public relations for your law firm.
As a baseline, you should track the following metrics:
- Media impressions: The number of times your content is displayed, whether clicked on or not. In practice, a PR team will set a benchmark for the total number of impressions sought; keep in mind: it doesn't translate into a literal number of viewers.
- Key message inclusion: A measurement of the number of key messages in media placements or the percentage of articles that include these messages.
- Target media secured: The percentage of marketing campaigns secured through an advertising platform such as a search engine, social media, or online advertising network.
- Share of voice (SOV): The presence of a brand or product in the marketplace relative to its competitors. SOV assesses the total number of mentions of a brand or product in a given medium by the total number of mentions of all competing brands or products in the same medium to determine how well a brand communicates its message and resonates with its target audience.
- Increased web traffic and sales leads: A clear sign that your PR campaign is working is if increased website traffic and sales leads come from PR marketing material. That's why tracking which channels your leads are from is essential.
- Increased SEO: Top media outlets have high-ranking sites, so earning media placement in them can boost SEO, especially when working with a dedicated SEO team.
- Improved brand awareness or sentiment: Measuring consumer sentiment is important for law firms because it helps them better understand their customers and their needs and gauge how the public perceives their products and services.
Software is the most efficient way to track, analyze, and interpret data. It can automate reporting and visualize data.
Below are some trusted analytics software options:
- Google Analytics
- IQ Media
- Mention (social media measurement)
How to Create an Effective Law Firm PR Plan
The above steps help create an effective PR campaign for your firm. However, you will need to pair that plan with great tactics, such as these:
- Get Backlinks
- Publicize Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
- Provide Social Proof and Awards
- Leverage Reputation Management for Attorneys
Backlinks are when one website links to another with an anchor text. They are highly beneficial for SEO because they signify a "vote of confidence" from one website to another.
Backlinking is a cost-effective way of raising awareness of your firm. By connecting with journalists, legal bloggers, and other media outlets, you can propose articles on topics within your area of law and thus receive a link to your website.
Additionally, answering questions on industry-specific platforms can earn you backlinks. Through this, your firm receives publicity and brand recognition, while the media outlets gain the content they need from an expert.
Another useful backlink-building tactic is newsjacking which involves reacting quickly to the latest news stories with expert opinions, advice, and comments. Most top-tier publications seek these types of expert analyses.
Newsjacking is a great PR and link-building strategy that doesn't require any special content marketing knowledge. You just need to offer fresh insights about trending topics and act fast. Make sure your views actually add value and don't just repurpose information.
Corporate Social Responsibility
One of the best ways to improve attorney public relations is to establish that your firm is committed to fulfilling its social responsibilities. Corporate social responsibility efforts include sponsoring local events, organizing fundraisers, and doing other things to give back to your community.
Clients love seeing companies they do business with support causes they believe in. On the other hand, some clients may actively avoid doing business with firms that neglect their social responsibility.
Oftentimes, media outlets cover charitable events and success stories. When your firm participates in these events, you obtain additional positive media exposure and gain another opportunity to connect with potential customers.
Social Proofs and Awards
Social proof and awards are your firm's most significant assets if you want to establish yourself in the legal industry. One of the most effective types of social proof for law firms is certification.
This proof occurs when your firm receives a "seal of approval" from an authoritative entity, such as awards from legal institutions and associations. If your law firm is a member of a prestigious organization and receives public recognition from them, clients will view your company in a more positive light.
You can also earn certification types of social proof by winning high-profile cases and sharing this outcome via various channels. When your firm wins big cases, potential clients will become confident that you can achieve similar results in their legal battles.
Reputation Management for Attorneys
The final tactic for improving public relations for lawyers involves hiring a PR agency or a digital marketing agency with PR services. A talented team can help your company maintain a positive reputation.
More importantly, a great agency accustomed to working with law firms can rebuild your reputation if it has been tarnished by negative press, a few bad reviews, or a highly publicized incident.
While it is undoubtedly easier to maintain a good reputation than to repair a damaged one, significant attorney reputation management entities can effectively do both.
Incorporate Social Media in Your Law Firm PR Plan
Connecting with current and potential clients on law firm social media can build trust and bolster your law firm's brand presence. Every post provides your audience with an opportunity to interact with you directly. Consistently posting is a decisive factor in developing your market reach.
Creating an account on multiple platforms is not necessary; instead, determine which platforms your target audience frequents and concentrate your resources on those.
For most law firms, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are the most valuable for public relations. Instagram and Facebook are great tools for interacting with potential clients and raising your business profile.
For instance, you could post polls on your Instagram story asking your followers to choose the topic they want to see covered in your next attorney blog. Clients, both past and present, always appreciate being heard.
Other ways to utilize social media include:
- Publishing press releases: Social media is a great way to get the word out about press releases. It can be used to spread press coverage quickly to a large number of people, as well as to target specific audiences.
- Keeping in touch with your community: Social media lets you have meaningful conversations with your clients that build a sense of community. When you create a community, your clients become advocates for your business and spread the word about your legal services.
- Offering to be a guest contributor: Offering to guest post on prestigious media outlets is an excellent strategy to build interest in your business and establish credibility in your field.
- Distributing brand messages via content: Content distributed on social media (videos, stories, photos, and other media) is a powerful way to communicate and connect with your target audience.
- Implement real-time crisis management: Social media can quickly spread important information to a wide range of people, including those directly affected by a crisis. You can solicit feedback from stakeholders, monitor public sentiment, quickly respond to questions or concerns, and spot emerging trends before they escalate.
Integrate Digital Marketing in Your Law Firm PR Plan
Before the digital revolution, firms hired separate PR agencies or PR professionals. Today, however, most PR-related tasks are performed via digital assets like social media platforms, news outlet websites, third-party syndication services, and business websites.
Hence, hiring a standalone PR firm is less pragmatic than it once was. Instead, a full-service digital marketing agency can manage public relations, assist with PPC services, create marketing materials for law firms, and do search engine optimization (SEO).
Why Do Law Firms Need Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Law firms need SEO to increase their website's visibility in organic search results. SEO involves conducting keyword research, including these keywords in your content, and leveraging other best practices.
For instance, a firm that provides SEO services for lawyers will ensure that your website is optimized to provide a great user experience. SEO will supplement your other PR initiatives, as clients can quickly locate your content.
On its own, SEO can significantly expand your online reach. It allows you to generate larger volumes of organic traffic, acquire new leads, and connect with clients looking for lawyers in your practice area. However, SEO and PR initiatives are most effective when combined with professional pay-per-click services.
A digital marketing agency can manage every aspect of your PPC campaign. PPC marketing is an effective advertising tool; you only pay for ads when clients interact with your content. Another advantage to PPC is that it allows you to display your content above organic results.
Use Effective Platforms for Your Attorney Public Relations Campaign
There are many different platforms your law firm can leverage for public relations purposes, including the following:
Quora is a popular question-and-answer forum where users ask questions and receive answers from various sources, including other users and professionals. Thus, Quora can be a great asset for law firms.
It allows attorneys to establish themselves as thought leaders and build a reputation online. You can use it to promote your firm's services and generate leads to more than 300 million monthly users.
Taboola is an advertising company based in New York City, New York. This platform facilitates content syndication, which means you can pay Taboola to display your content on websites and apps.
Paid syndication services allow you to spread your reach and connect with prospective clients who might not view your website if they conducted a Google search. While any law firm can benefit from using this New York company's platform, it is particularly useful if your SEO efforts have not yet elevated your site to page one of SERPs.
Like Taboola, JD Supra is a paid syndication service platform with a refined audience. Their subscribers include editors, journalists, in-house counsel, and other professionals. It enables attorneys to track news and trends, keep up with their contacts, and share content with their clients and peers.
The platform also offers legal professionals tools and analytics to manage content better, build relationships and measure their impact. JD Supra also provides news and analysis to keep lawyers connected to the latest developments in their practice area.
Medium is an open writing platform allowing users to create free accounts and publish content with the option to join its Medium Partner Program, enabling you to earn money by posting your content to the platform.
If you possess the writing prowess needed to captivate readers and convert site visitors to paying members, you can use Medium as an additional source of revenue. Medium can help you build credibility, increase visibility in the marketplace, and strengthen your law firm's brand.
Newswire can increase your media coverage through its distribution platform. It helps you discover opportunities to leverage “earned media.” Earned media is the media attention you do not write yourself or pay to be written for you.
You can access discounts by purchasing bundles to distribute multiple public relations press releases. Newswire’s cheapest distribution package will cost approximately $314, and their most expensive single press release option is just over $800.
Cision PRWeb provides press release distribution for companies that want to expand their reach and obtain positive media attention. Once you have created great content, you can share it using its user-friendly platform.
Creating a Cision PRWeb account is free. However, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription to access premium tools and services. Still, the platform is relatively affordable, making it an excellent option for improving public relations for attorneys and generating a positive buzz.
Why You Need to Invest in Law Firm PR Management
Investing in public relations management services and partnering with legal PR experts offers a multitude of benefits for your firm. For instance, they'll enhance the efficacy of your other digital marketing efforts like SEO.
When ranking your law firm's website, search engines like Google will analyze many factors, including your reputation. If your services are highly touted on Google's review platform and third-party sites, you'll rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO and SERPs rankings are critical to the success of your law firm, as more highly ranked pages earn the majority of web traffic. Once you have established your brand, your law practice will be able to acquire new clients and fuel continued growth.
The Right Partnership Makes All the Difference
If you’re seeking a marketing ally to manage your law firm’s public relations, acquire new business, and elevate your growth trajectory, we can help. Grow Law Firm is your ideal PR and marketing partner - we’ve helped 2,000 law firms double their revenue in three years or less.
Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic digital marketing and reputation management services suite. We look forward to providing you with a competitive advantage that helps your firm achieve its growth objectives.
- Get a clear picture of your firm's performance
- Boost your online presence
- Get a clear picture of your firm's performance
- Boost your online presence