Given their depth of knowledge, lawyers and barristers are well placed to position themselves as experts in their field. While it helps if a lawyer works in an area where there is a natural media appetite for stories - white collar crime springs to mind here - there is still a wealth of specialist business titles providing media opportunities for PR savvy lawyers operating in a wide range of sectors.
As US-based marketer Michelle Calcote King points out in her article below, it's not easy to become a media star but the effort will pay off. By providing third party credibility, press coverage is a powerful tool for law firms and other professional services’ providers and will serve to raise profile, impress existing clients and ultimately draw in new business. It can even beat personal referrals when compounded over and over again by regular appearances.
The key to media success is to build relationships with target journalists and publications. Reach out to reporters and be helpful. Make it clear that you are happy to have a chat regardless of whether it leads to a quote and respond quickly to requests. Given today's 24 hour news cycle, the most successful media commentators understand that quotes need to be issued when a story is breaking, not later in the day and certainly not the following day.
Use accessible language. As detail people, this is where lawyers can get a little unstuck. Make sure written comment is provided in a friendly accessible tone and avoid complex legal jargon. The same can be said for interviews.
If a piece of comment or a telephone interview does lead to a quote, a quick email to say thank you will be appreciated and confirm that you felt that the reporter's story was fair and accurate. At the same time, think twice about asking for a piece to be amended if you're not entirely happy with the content. Remember the only person likely to scrutinise an article is the contributing source.
Social media can be useful in terms of developing relationships with reporters. By liking and circulating their articles, you will remind key journalists of who you are and what you can do for them.
Once you have built a rapport with one or two journalists, media success will follow because time-pressed reporters and editors tend to return to the same trusted sources. This explains why the same experts tend to be quoted time and time again in the most influential media outlets.
Becoming a trusted media source can be an incredible boon for lawyers and other professional services providers such as accountants, architects and management consultants. The media’s third-party credibility provides nearly the same power as a personal referral — the gold standard in professional services marketing. And, when compounded over and over again (with multiple media appearances), it can even beat personal referrals. But becoming a media star is no easy task. Yet somehow, some attorneys are always quoted and featured in top media outlets, over and over again. Take Jack, for example.