Thank you to guest blogger Denise Nix, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Glaser Weil, for providing her insights into “Trends in Media/Pr for Law Firms: What’s Valuable and Effective Today” from the recent Legal Marketing Association annual conference.”
Really the only LMA session this year to focus exclusively on the PR side of marketing, the panel broke down the topics into The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Future. Panelists:
- Eleanor Kerlow, senior public relations manager at Hunton & Williams LLP
- Kathy O’Brien, senior vice president, public reputation, Jaffe PR
- Susan L. Peters, senior public relations manager, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
- Paul D. Webb, director of marketing, Young Conaway Straight & Taylor, LLP
- Lisa Sachdev, senior public relations manager, Dentons US LLP
THE GOOD – sharing good news (new hires, successful outcomes, office moves, etc.)
- “Content is queen” because it is used to create relationships and connections, and build awareness. Scoring (measuring and weighing reach of content and what it leads to in terms of hires, matters and other opportunities – or engagement) is key. Engagement is what we create from that content. (Eleanor)
- All firms should have media policies, written and circulated to all staff and attorneys regularly. (Kathy) Make them a part of the staff handbook. (Paul)
- PR can be used to influence litigation (Eleanor) or create the right visuals on the courthouse steps (Lisa). Attorneys are being, and should be, proactive in how they write court documents on cases that are, or might, be followed by the media. While the attorney may not be able to comment on the case, key message points in the filing intro will get the point into the press. (Kathy)
THE BAD – handling bad news about the firm or its client
- Have a crisis communications plan in place (Jaffe has downloadable templates on its website. ) Identify a spokesperson and practice the key message points with him or her. Keep internal staff informed – a well-written memo with your key messages is a good strategy, especially if there is a chance it may be leaked. (Kathy)
- “Killing” a story is difficult, but can happen. Get partners involved if need-be (Lisa) or ask for a delay to at least get your message together (Kathy).
THE UGLY – surveys, directories and submissions
- The audience groaned at this topic, but a few indicated they have received business from these.
- Think about how to use the content in a new way once the information is published.
- Use the information gathering step to really mine the attorneys for information about themselves and their practices to be re-purposed for other uses. Turn it into “marketing gold.” (Kathy)
- Be strategic when dealing with the politics of who is being submitted and who is not (Susan). Be transparent with the reasons why and use as incentive for work/communication in the future (Paul).
THE FUTURE – social media
- “Social media is the megaphone” for your content. (Kathy)
- Social media is like winning the PR lottery – use these platforms to drive traffic to blogs, website, etc. (Eleanor)