PR involves strategically managing your firm's image, reputation, and communication to build credibility, attract clients, and, ultimately, secure more cases. It's a multifaceted approach that encompasses media relations, thought leadership, community engagement, and more.
In the recent episode of the Grow Law Firm podcast, host Sasha Berson spoke with Janet Falk, a leading expert in legal marketing, about the importance of PR for law firms. To learn more about Janet and listen to this insightful podcast episode, move to The Power of PR for Law Firms section.
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
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
Like law firm digital marketing, public relations (PR) revolves around targeting the right audience at the right time with optimized messaging that addresses their challenges. The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as "a strategic communications process that develops mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its public." Janet Falk points out it is about building relationships with the people who matter to your law firm, including potential clients, referral sources, and other organizations and individuals.
There are many different ways to message your law firm through PR, including:
- Networking and speaking: Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and give presentations to share your knowledge and expertise.
- Writing: Write articles, blog posts, and columns for publication in industry publications and on your own website.
- Sharing with people: Share valuable information, such as checklists, timelines, and quizzes, with your target audience.
- Syndicating your content: Republish your content on other websites and platforms to reach a wider audience.
When messaging your law firm, it's important to be consistent across all channels and mediums. Your tone and style should be the same whether you're speaking at a conference, writing an article, or posting on social media. This will help you create a strong brand identity and make it easier for people to remember your firm.
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)
The Power of PR for Law Firms: Insights from Janet Falk, Public Relations Consultant, in Podcast Series
Join our podcast conversation featuring Janet Falk, a PR expert with decades of experience helping law firms grow their caseloads through effective public relations. Janet shares valuable insights, proven strategies, and practical tips for boosting your brand visibility and maximizing your PR impact. Tune in to discover how PR can help you take your law firm to new heights!
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 a cost-effective way to raise awareness of your law firm, and one effective way to earn backlinks is by connecting with journalists, legal bloggers, and media outlets. Reporters are primarily interested in individuals who possess valuable insights into timely legal issues. For instance, if there are recent changes in tax laws affecting different states, an attorney can position themselves as an expert in this area. To establish credibility, it is essential to develop a media profile that includes contact information and availability as a source for comment on relevant legal matters.
To get started, you can:
- Develop a media profile with your contact information and expertise.
- Send your media profile to reporters who cover your area of law.
- Look for reporters on major daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, Twitter, and Masthead.
- Personalize your outreach and make it easy for reporters to contact you.
Another way to get in the news is to propose an article. When proposing an article:
- Identify a timely topic that your audience would be interested in.
- Write a brief pitch that explains why your article is relevant and why you are the best person to write it.
- Be willing to work with the reporter to refine the article and meet their needs.
You can also publish articles in your own law firm's newsletter or in the media. This can help you to build your credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Furthermore, hire a PR professional. Once you hire a PR professional, you will get featured in various publications over time. Of those various publications, every publication today has something in line. When they publish either a quote or a whole article from you, they'll put your name in there. They're going to put your law firm name in there. They're probably going to have a backlink pointing back to your website.
So within twelve months, that investment in your PR efforts should pay very nice dividends.
Corporate Social Responsibility
One effective way to enhance attorney public relations as part of your law firm's PR plan is to demonstrate a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts can include sponsoring local events, organizing fundraisers, and participating in other activities that give back to the community.
Clients appreciate and value companies that demonstrate social responsibility, as it aligns with their own values and beliefs. Additionally, media outlets often cover charitable events and success stories, providing your firm with additional positive media exposure and another opportunity to connect with potential customers.
To maximize the benefits of CSR, it's important to be strategic in your efforts. For example, you might consider partnering with local accounting groups or financial planners, as these organizations will likely deal with the types of clients you ultimately want to work with.
Instead of just showing up to events, try to be an active participant. Offer to organize panels or provide your legal expertise on topics relevant to the organization and its members. This can help you build relationships with key players in the industry and establish your firm as a thought leader in the field.
In addition to CSR, there are many other ways to share your insights and reach out to potential clients. Consider speaking at industry events, writing articles for trade publications, and engaging in discussion on LinkedIn.
Social Proofs and Awards
Social proof and awards are essential for establishing yourself as a reputable and accomplished attorney in the legal industry. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise and credibility is through certification from authoritative entities such as legal institutions and associations. When your firm receives public recognition for your achievements, potential clients will be more likely to trust your abilities and seek your services.
In addition to certification, winning high-profile cases can also serve as powerful social proof. By sharing your successes through various channels, you can demonstrate your ability to deliver results for your clients and build confidence in your legal expertise.
Reputation Management for Attorneys
Attorney reputation management is crucial in maintaining a positive online presence. One of the most effective ways to do this is by hiring a PR agency or digital marketing agency with experience in law firm reputation management. A talented team can help your firm maintain a strong online reputation, and, more importantly, rebuild it if it has been tarnished by negative press or reviews.
To effectively manage your attorney's reputation, you must focus on three key areas: your website, your contacts database, and your newsletter.
Your website is the first point of contact between your firm and potential clients. It should be up-to-date and reader-friendly and highlight your expertise and successes. Include case studies, testimonials, and a list of industries you've worked in to showcase your experience and familiarity with various businesses and issues.
Your database of contacts is a gold mine of potential referral sources and influencers. These include law school classmates, former colleagues, opposing counsel, and members of your local Bar Association. Categorize your contacts based on their strengths and potential to give you business or influence others.
A regular newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your contacts and maintain control over your online presence. Use it to share best practices, offer downloadable resources, and talk about recent cases or lessons learned from working with clients. A well-written newsletter can help train your contacts to look for your firm's name and maintain a positive association with your brand.
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 lawyer SEO services 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 an online reputation. 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.