Law Firm Marketing: PR For Attorneys
Our third & final piece on law firm marketing will focus on earned media for lawyers. We'll discuss the state of PR for law firms in 2023, the different techniques you can exploit, and how it can lead to client acquisition for your firm.
Much like all digital marketing for attorneys, PR has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. From the way press coverage is obtained to what benefits it can provide, the landscape of earned media for lawyers is a true gold mine for firms and solo practitioners.
How Do You Get Press Coverage For A Law Firm In 2023?
In the vast majority of markets, there are a handful of large or well-known firms. But there are usually hundreds of smaller firms trying to earn the same business as the bigger players. We're going to use one particular metropolitan market as an example for this article, but the same lessons can be applied to any major market in the U.S.
In the Metro Detroit area, attorney Geoffrey Fieger is a household name. Why? He has taken on many high-profile cases, has run for Governor of Michigan, and has generally kept his name and brand in the news for the better part of 30 years. He has ads on television, public transportation, radio, and online. Fieger has spent millions to become a quasi-celebrity in the area and nationally.
Mike Morse is another well-known name in law in Metro Detroit. His humorous television commercials have helped him build the largest personal injury business in the Metro Detroit market. The high-dollar settlements Michigan personal injury attorneys can earn has enabled Morse to invest in advertising on television, billboards and radio, among other advertising channels.
Given the millions spent by these two attorneys alone, how can an attorney in Metro Detroit that isn't a voracious publicity hog earn press coverage for their firm? The beauty of PR for attorneys in 2023 is that there are ways to get your firm's name mentioned in major news outlets. Digital PR is the new method in which most organic media placements are earned.
One other major change to the PR landscape for attorneys is the fact that 'journalists' and 'reporters' have essentially turned into content creators, no different than social media influencers. This means that very little research or traditional journalism occurs anymore. Yes, major outlets like The New York Times still practice true journalism, but even publications like Forbes essentially source content directly from attorneys in the form of commentary.
There are platforms that enable you to provide commentary on a wide variety of subjects, some of them free. Based on the success of Fieger, Morse and others, you can ascertain that press is something that can truly make your law firm grow exponentially.
PR For Attorneys: Techniques That Win
Given the media landscape in 2023, how do attorneys earn media coverage in major publications? There are several techniques that will get your firm coverage in publications like Forbes, The New York Post, and U.S, News & World Report, among others.
Rapid Response PR Is One Way Lawyers Can Earn Press Coverage
There are several rapid response platforms where journalists and reporters simply ask for lawyers to give their input. Typically, these placements are commentary on major national stories, such as this article one of our clients appeared in regarding the FTX scandal.
Other requests are more general, written to explain the complexities of consumer law to the lay person. This kind of press is very valuable as it establishes you or your firm as an expert in a specific area of legal practice. As you build a strong presence, you will see trust in your firm become stronger.
Guest Posting Is a Form Of PR & Also Improves SEO For Law Firms
Another way to earn PR is to become a guest poster on various legal websites. Many sites are looking for original content, and legal websites are no different. You can submit writing samples to these sites and get approved to be a regular contributor.
One important thing to keep in mind when attempting to become a regular contributor to a website is to not be overly self-promotional. Your byline is what provides you with the credibility, so your article can be more general in nature.
Traditional PR For Lawyers Still Works
The traditional PR techniques still work for attorneys. This involves a lot more proactive effort. The general practice is to submit pitches directly to journalists that are working specific legal beats at news outlets. While this might sound difficult, the benefit is that you will be able to be featured in a full article in a major publication.
The tricky side of traditional PR for lawyers in 2023 is the fact that there isn't a lot of new topics to cover in legal news. You can always pitch a novel concept or take on something that has been covered. One hot topic would be the way your firm is utilizing new technologies to improve client services (that's a free tip!).
Marketing For Law Firms: Is PR Worth It?
Like any marketing tool, it helps to evaluate the costs and benefits. Is PR worth the investment for a law firm? Let's look at the benefits of earned media for lawyers.
PR Gives Your Law Firm Credibility
Just like any product or service, coverage in a major media outlet gives a law firm credibility with consumers and potential clients. If I am trying to decide between 2 different bankruptcy attorneys, I will most likely choose the one I see in a major media publication over the one that I don't.
This is especially true of the thought leadership pieces we discussed above. When you are providing value up front in your media placements, you are giving your potential client more reason to trust you and believe that you are the right attorney to help them.
PR Will Improve Your Law Practice's SEO
Digital PR is the way most firms will be able to earn press coverage in 2023. That being said, many publications, in return for the expert commentary you provide, will give your firm's website a backlink. Because news sites are inherently 'trustworthy', they tend to have higher authority scores, which benefits your firm.
Why is this important? As an example, let's say you are a new kid at a high school. Would you rather have the captain of the football team or the president of the A/V club introduce you to classmates? Getting a backlink from Forbes or another major news outlet is like getting the captain of the football team introducing you at your new school.
As your authority score rises, you will begin to see your site rank for more valuable keywords and also have better search visibility. As we discussed 2 weeks ago, having your firm appear on page 1 of the SERP will help you represent more clients.