It has been a tough period for law firms. Confusion over Brexit. A raft of sweeping data legislation changes. A global pandemic. Whether you are a local family practise, or an international legal conglomerate, you will have lost customers, seen revenues reduced and made tough decisions over the last 24 months. With the dust beginning to gradually settle, the first chinks of light are peeking through the dark tunnel. It’s time to shout about everything your legal practise does well. By harnessing the power of positive PR for law firms, companies are starting to finally pull themselves away from the troubles of the recent past.
Before continuing our discussion of PR for law firms, it’s important to debunk a myth. PR does not always mean expensive campaigns, huge magazine spreads and vacuous press conferences. In reality, very few, if any law firms benefit from this kind of approach. Law is very personal subject and most people don’t want their cases amplified to the world. Moreover, if you are a small or medium law firm, you don’t have the budget to do this. PR for law firms can be as simple as a piece in the local magazine, or being interviewed on a local website.
The important thing is that you leverage these opportunities carefully and sensibly. There is no point in rushing in without a precise strategy for maximising the power of positive PR for law firms. You might have a fantastic story to tell, but unless you transmit it in the right way, it’ll fall on deaf ears. Moreover, it’s important to ensure that your story isn’t just lost in the noise of the industry.
PR for Law Firms: First Steps
Consequently, it’s worth having some ground rules in place for every single piece of PR for law firms. The 5W formula is a good starting point:
- Who – who are you, as a brand, as a law firm and as an individual. All three of these need to align perfectly to make your story credible, interesting and inspiring.
- What – what is the story? Although this sounds obvious, it needs to be something that will cut through the noise and interest people both within and outside your industry.
- Where – where has this taken place? It’s best here to think in broader abstract terms such as wider application – an office meeting might be productive but it isn’t necessarily eye-catching!
- When – when did this happen? Again, don’t talk in exact terms – no one needs to know that it was 5pm on a Tuesday in October!
- Why – the most important of all of these points! This should justify the story, tie everything together and leave it open for further discussion and exploration if more people want to get in touch.
At the same time, your justification can’t be time-specific. Positive PR for law firms works best with evergreen content that constantly champions your firm. It’s brilliant having a great piece of news that everyone reacts to positively for one month, but if it goes obsolete just a few weeks later, then it potentially isn’t worth the time.
Four Reasons why PR for Law Firms is a worthwhile investment
It’s a fact that a lawyer’s greatest asset is time. Far too often attention is spent on administrative activities that don’t add value or allow for creative thinking. We’ve established that good PR does take time to craft. As a result, the logical conclusion would be that law firms can’t avoid spending the time required to do this. However, the benefits of PR for law firms outweigh the time it takes to create PR.
Some of the most important benefits that PR for law firms offers include:
Your firm, your lawyers or yourself being used as a reference point by a legal aggregator or news aggregator
Sites such as Law Times, Legal Innovation Aggregator or The Legal 500 produce their own content as part of their own digital strategy. However, in order to bolster their own credibility, they will often refer to industry quotes or information. PR for law firms is a great source for them to use to gain this insight.
If your law firm is releasing quality PR, there is a strong chance your comments on the matter will become a reputable view. This both promotes your law firm and enhances your personal reputation as well.
PR for law firms forms part of your own content strategy
We’ve already covered content creation at length in previous blogs. However, to reiterate, it’s vital for law firms to be releasing quality bespoke content that highlights their brand and showcases their knowledge and expertise. A dedicated news or PR page on your website listing all of your press releases brings a whole heap of credibility to your firm. It’s also useful for charting a timeline for longer-term projects that require more than one piece of PR.
Your PR can be endorsed by other companies
As well as aggregators picking up your stories, chances are other law firms will also cite what you have to say. Firstly, this gives you great personal credibility. Free promotion via PR for law firms can only be helpful. Secondly, it also marks you out as trustworthy. This endorsement can thereby serve as the critical springboard if you want to collaborate with other larger firms as they’ll already know you.
Get link juice authority for your PR
As well as the on-page SEO steps that law firms can take to make their websites more credible, backlinks to your domain are priceless when it comes to search engine optimisation. Being featured in prominent legal publications, having your PR sourced by news firms or even just picked up by other law firms should result in you getting credited and linked from their site. If you can ensure your PR is consistently picked up and referenced, you’ll find your website climbing the rankings in no time at all.
In addition to these, PR for law firms is also a fantastic way to target specific audiences, or sectors. you can promote a success story or business case that applies to them and amplify it. By sharing it with these audiences, you are exposing positivity about your brand to a raft of potential new clients.
Writing Positive PR for Law Firms: Final Tips
We’ve already covered a good structure for positive PR for law firms, but there are a few final small things to remember in order to make sure your PR really hits home the message that you want.
Hammer home the relevance
If someone in the legal industry can’t see the importance of your PR story in the first few sentences, chances are it is going to struggle to get the attention of a wider audience. Be clear and concise. Sum up the main facts and the key talking point.
Know your audience and your angle
Depending on your PR audience, use an appropriate level of detail. Dense jargon might work for highbrow discussions of legal canon, but becomes kryptonite for good PR for law firms. Your angle for the PR should factor in your audience’s interest and level of intent to act. Above all, it should be unique. That’s the only way you’ll stand out.
Get the facts right!
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It’s not just a key courtroom mantra, it’s a press release principle too! If you want other companies, law firms and prominent influencers to be interested in your work, it has be to correct, concise and factual. Keep a record of all data sources and have them ready as evidence if required. No-one wants to have to ring up every single contact for a dreaded redaction or recall.
A Negative Story can be Positive PR for Law Firms
Although it seems like an oxymoron, a negative story can actually be very effective for your law firm. Provided you can explain the full picture, and provide a solution, a negative angle a) won’t be a personal attack and b) won’t reflect failure on your part. Be sure to finish with a positive inference that infers that change is coming, and it will be fine.
Final Words: PR For Law Firms
As Eduardo Reyes states, ‘A public relations strategy need not just be for the very largest practices – in a crowded market, firms of all sizes are seeking ways to stand out.’
This is now more true than ever. As law firms have lost many clients and huge revenue streams, due to Brexit and COVID-19, you need to stand out and amplify your positive stories. PR takes time to get right and you may find it is a slow burner at first, but once you start getting it right, your legal PR network will grow at a rapid rate.
Before long, you won’t be short of people to contact to share your good news and promote your brand and personality to your key audiences. In turn, this will help you grow rapidly and arrest the slump that has plagued law firms for the last 18 months.