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Public Relations for Lawyers

updated
July 6, 2022
17 min
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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.

While law firms like yours can leverage media coverage to fuel growth and strengthen your brand image, this coverage is a sword that cuts both ways. In light of this fact, PR for law firms has become more important than ever.

Potential law firm clients will thoroughly research a law practice before deciding to do business with them. If you have neglected legal PR, your firm's reputation may be costing you clients before you even have a chance to schedule a consultation.

Why You Need to Manage Your Law Firm Public Relations

Why You Need to Manage Your Law Firm Public Relations

Investing in public relations management services and partnering with legal PR experts offers a multitude of benefits for your firm. For starters, public relations for law firms can enhance the efficacy of your other digital efforts, including search engine optimization (SEO). 

When ranking your law firm's website, search engines like Google will analyze many different factors, including your reputation. If your legal services are highly touted on Google's review platform and third-party sites, you will be ranked higher on 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. If your brand has a poorly managed reputation or negative media exposure, you may find it challenging to land and remain on page one of SERPs. In turn, you will generate very little organic traffic.

Managing public relations will also boost brand awareness and help your law firm build a strong reputation within the legal industry. Once you have established your brand, your law practice will be able to acquire new clients and fuel continued growth.

A good public relations management strategy and strong brand reputation will help you acquire clients in other ways as well. 

For instance, past and existing clients will be more willing to refer your law firm to others if they are confident in your abilities and expertise. Potential clients will be encouraged by these word-of-mouth recommendations and will be more likely to choose your law firm over your competitors.

These are just a few of the many benefits associated with public relations for law firms. If you want to experience these benefits and others, you should ensure that you are not neglecting public and media relations.

Which Platforms to Use for Your Law Firm PR

Which Platforms to Use for Your Law Firm PR

There are many different platforms that your law firm can leverage for public relations purposes, including the following:

Quora

Quora is a widely used question-and-answer forum. All of the content on Quora is generated by website users. One of the most popular content categories on Quora is the legal section. Quora users flock to this section to seek legal expertise.

Your law firm can obtain positive PR by creating a free Quora account and responding to user questions in the legal section. Users ask questions related to many different categories of law, including personal injury, criminal defense, and tax law. 

Find a thread or question relevant to your field and show off your legal expertise. Quora users in your area might seek legal counsel from your law firm after reading your expertly crafted response.

Taboola

Taboola is an advertising company based in New York City, New York. This platform facilitates content syndication, which means that 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.

JD Supra

Like Taboola, JD Supra is a paid syndication service platform. However, JD Supra's audience is a bit more refined. Their subscribers include editors, reporters, in-house counsel, and other professionals.

By signing up for a JD Supra subscription, your law firm gains access to its readers. You can publish your content to the JD Supra platform and get your content in front of more potential clients.

Since JD Supra is geared toward a professional reader base, the platform is quite stringent when deciding whether to publish content. Therefore, you must ensure that every article that you submit is expertly written and well-structured. Otherwise, JD Supra may decline to publish it until you make the necessary refinements.

Medium

Medium is an open writing platform that allows users to create free accounts and begin publishing content. Alternatively, you can join the Medium Partner Program, which allows you to earn money by publishing your content to the platform.

When calculating payouts, Medium analyzes performance metrics such as how much time site guests spend on your content and how many readers you convert to subscribers.

If you elect to create a standard account, you can use Medium to obtain free, self-authored media coverage. If you possess the writing prowess necessary to captivate readers and convert site visitors to paying members, you can use Medium as an additional source of revenue.

Newswire

Newswire allows you to increase media coverage through its distribution platform, but it does not allow you to write your own content. Instead, the Newswire platform helps you discover opportunities to leverage "earned media.”

Earned media is media attention that you do not write yourself or pay to be written for you. Newswire leverages earned media by displaying news releases across major platforms.

Newswire has several different distribution packages to choose from. Higher tiers distribute your press release across more outlets and also offer add-ons like "geo-targeted media.” 

If you want to distribute multiple public relations press releases, you can access discounts by purchasing bundles. Newswire's cheapest distribution package will cost approximately $314, and their most expensive single press release option is just over $800.

Cision PRWeb

Cision PRWeb provides press release distribution for companies that want to expand their reach and obtain positive media attention. When using Cision PRWeb, you will need to create your own press releases.

Once you have created some great content, you can share it using the user-friendly platform. You can post content on social media platforms or websites or share it directly with members of the media.

Creating a Cision PRWeb account is free. However, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription to access all of its various tools and services. Still, the platform is relatively affordable, making it a great option for improving media relations and drawing positive attention to your law firm.

How to Incorporate Social Media in Your PR Plan

Social media platforms like LinkedIn are valuable tools for public relations management. By building a following on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, you gain the opportunity to interact directly with prospective clients.

These platforms allow you to target clients by inviting them to like your page, and they also let you and your team personally respond to inquiries or complaints on your posts.

If you want to make your law firm social media an effective component of a public relations strategy, you must first develop a strong following. To accomplish this, you should post regularly on your platforms. You will also need to interact with clients and potential clients when they comment on your posts.

A lack of activity on an account can harm your public relations efforts. You should carefully decide which accounts would be most beneficial for your law firm. There is no need to create an account on every platform. Instead, determine which platforms are most popular among your core demographic and focus your resources on those.

For most law firms, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are the most useful platforms for public relations. 

Instagram and Facebook have some great tools for interacting with your audience. For instance, you could post polls on your Instagram story asking your followers to choose what topic they would like to see covered in your next attorney blog. Clients both past and present will appreciate that their voices are being heard.

Major Steps to Implement Your Law Firm Public Relations Plan

If you want your public and media relations plan to be a success, we recommend that you adhere to the following steps:

Set Your Law Firm PR Goals

Set Your Law Firm PR Goals

The first step to improving public and media relations is to outline your business objectives. What do you plan to accomplish with your PR campaign? What is your law firm's reputation currently like within the legal industry? Has your reputation been damaged by negative reviews, neglect, or PR mismanagement?

Answering these questions will help you better understand where your law firm currently stands and what you need to do to improve your reputation. At the outset of this process, establish broad, long-term goals. Think about where you want to be in three to five years. You will need to revisit, and potentially modify, your goals annually.

After you have identified your goals, set incremental objectives that will help you achieve them. These objectives should focus on changes that you can implement either immediately or in the near future, such as in the next 12 months.

Once you have set both your goals and objectives, identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to use to measure your progress. You will need to routinely audit these figures to determine whether your PR campaign is moving you closer to your goals. 

If your campaign is falling short of expectations, make the necessary adjustments and reassess your situation over the next few weeks.

Recognize Your Target Audience

Recognize Your Target Audience

After you have determined what you want to accomplish, you need to answer the question, "Who am I trying to reach?" While the obvious answer to this question is “clients,” you need to be much more specific.

We recommend creating various customer personas for each of the different audience segments you serve. When creating a persona, consider the pain points that this type of client is facing and determine how you can market your services to them. 

Other things to take into account when creating customer personas include geographic location, the age ranges of your potential clients, the factors they consider when seeking legal services, and the platforms they are most active on.

Customer personas will help you when it comes time to legal content creation. You will better understand who your target audience is and how you can connect with them through PR.

Identifying your target audience will help you improve the return on investment on your marketing and PR efforts. You will waste less time, energy, and resources on people outside of your target audience while simultaneously generating more qualified leads.

Think of Your Law Firm Message

Think of 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 the challenges they are facing. If your law firm's messaging does not align with your values, beliefs, and field of practice, then you will struggle to connect with clients.

Another consideration when thinking about your messaging is consistency. The tone and style of your messaging must be consistent across all channels and mediums. This includes syndication sites, your website, social media platforms, and anywhere else that you display your content.

If your law firm already has extensive messaging and a slogan or tagline, use these materials as the foundation during this step. 

However, you should make sure that your current messaging aligns with your values and business goals. If it does not, some rebranding may be necessary. If you are satisfied with your tagline and how well it represents your brand, strive to maintain a similar style and tone when creating additional messaging.

Generally speaking, corporate firms need more refined and professional messaging. Conversely, attorneys who handle personal injury or criminal cases might want to adopt a more approachable tone.

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? Most importantly, 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 that you create should include a CTA. One exception is press releases, especially earned media releases.

Keep in mind 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.”

On the other hand, CTAs on blogs or informative articles should be gentler. Instead of the above phrasing, consider something like, "To learn more, call our law firm.” This CTA gives the reader clear direction but will not be construed as pushy or forceful.

Measure Your Law Firm PR Results

Measure Your Law Firm PR Results

After you have launched your PR campaign, closely measure its performance using relevant metrics. There are dozens of different metrics that you can leverage. Make sure to choose metrics that are related to the goals and objectives you identified in the first step.

If one of your objectives was to increase web traffic by 10%, you should be monitoring KPIs such as organic search traffic, time spent on your website, and bounce rate. 

The latter statistic is particularly important for gauging the quality of traffic. A "bounce" occurs when someone visits your website and promptly leaves before navigating past the initial page. If your bounce rate is high, you may need to rethink the layout or structure of your website.

We recommend reviewing KPIs at least monthly. You may want to audit them more frequently at the beginning of your campaign. 

By closely tracking these KPIs, you can gauge the efficacy of your PR initiatives and determine whether you need to adjust your course. That said, don't be afraid to pivot if your PR campaign is not producing the results you anticipated.

Law Firm PR Tactics

The steps outlined above can help you create an effective PR campaign for your firm. However, you will need to pair that plan with great tactics, such as those outlined below.

Bylined Articles

If you are looking for ways to draw some positive attention to your firm, consider producing byline articles. These articles will clearly identify your firm as a writer or contributor to a piece of published content. You can partner with an established publication and make arrangements for them to publish your content.

Alternatively, you can lend your expertise to a writer with an established following. These writers have the power of name recognition and the wordsmithing skills necessary to craft a great article — and you possess the legal knowledge they need to make their content more authoritative. It’s the perfect pairing.

When using this approach, don't limit yourself to blogs. White papers and other types of content can help you establish your lawyers as thought leaders.

Corporate Social Responsibility

One of the best ways to improve media 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 are out covering charitable events. When your firm participates in these events, you obtain additional positive media exposure and gain another opportunity to connect with your target audience.

Social Proofs and Awards

If you want to establish yourself in the legal industry, social proofs and awards are some of your firm's greatest assets.

There are many different types of social proofs. However, one of the most effective types for law firms is certification. This type of proof occurs when your firm receives some sort of "seal of approval" from an authoritative entity.

Some of the most effective kinds of certification are awards from legal organizations 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 then 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 involves hiring a PR firm. A talented firm can help your company maintain a positive reputation.

More importantly, a great agency that is 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 certainly easier to maintain a good reputation than it is to repair a damaged one, great reputation management entities can effectively do both.

Law Firm PR vs. Digital Marketing

Law Firm PR vs. Digital Marketing

Before the latest era of the digital revolution, firms had to hire separate PR agencies to manage their reputations and help them increase awareness about their services. 

However, many PR-related tasks are now performed via digital assets like social media platforms, news outlet websites, third-party syndication services, and business websites. Therefore, hiring a stand-alone PR agency is far less practical than it once was.

If your firm has been exploring ways to garner more media exposure while expanding its reach in the online marketplace, hiring a digital marketing agency would be a much more pragmatic approach. A dynamic digital marketing firm can not only handle public relations management but can also assist with both law firm PPC services and search engine optimization services for lawyers.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing your website's visibility in organic search results. SEO involves conducting keyword research, including these keywords into your content, and leveraging other best practices. 

For instance, a firm that provides SEO for lawyers will ensure that your website is optimized to provide a great user experience. Search engine optimization will also supplement your other PR initiatives, as clients will have a much easier time locating your content.

On its own, SEO can significantly expand your online reach. SEO 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 they are combined with professional pay-per-click services.

A digital marketing agency can manage every aspect of your PPC campaign. PPC marketing is one of the most effective tools available to you, as 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.

To recap, hiring a PR firm offers some benefits. Such a firm can help you improve media relations and maintain a strong reputation. However, you would still need to partner with a separate entity if you wanted to access SEO and PPC services for lawyers.

On the other hand, if you partner with a true do-it-all marketing agency, you can obtain SEO, PPC, and PR services from a single entity. This streamlines communication between your firm and your marketing partner. It is also far more cost-effective than hiring two or three separate organizations for marketing and reputation management.

The Right Partnership Makes All the Difference

If you’re seeking a marketing ally that can manage your reputation, help you acquire new business, and elevate your growth trajectory, our law firm digital marketing agency is the ideal partner for your company. 

Contact Grow Law Firm today to learn more about our dynamic suite of digital marketing and reputation management services. We look forward to helping your firm achieve its growth objectives.

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Top techniques for busy lawyers to bring in more clients in 2022
  • Easy steps you can take to bring in more clients and up this year’s revenue
  • The top website and marketing mistakes holding your law firm back
August, 31st
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    Sasha Berson is a legal marketing expert

    Sasha serves as Managing Partner for Grow Law Firm, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency focused solely on specialized growth strategies for attorneys and their practices.

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