As a new decade dawns, it’s a natural time for reflection. Many businesses will be looking at what they do and asking, “should we still be doing it this way?” or, indeed, “should we be doing this at all?” With digital and social media seemingly now critical to day-to-day operations, whether there is still a place for traditional public relations is a legitimate question to ask. But, the answer is that there are still plenty of good reasons to invest in PR because PR in the form of high quality media coverage is extremely relevant to the challenges faced by law firms as they enter the third decade of the millennium.
1. Attracting talent
It’s no secret that it’s an uphill struggle for firms of all descriptions to attract the right people. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, the quality of a firm’s lawyers is perhaps, the main thing that will make it stand out. And everyone wants to work for a firm that a) they have heard of and b) that's going somewhere. Regular press mentions can provide a brilliant way to create a buzz around a brand and a feel good factor in the workplace thereby helping to attract and retain the best talent.
2. Brand awareness
Few law firms, unless they are working in the smallest of niches, can claim to offer a truly unique service. Many firms can provide high quality service and present almost identical offerings. This can make it extremely tricky to stand out from the pack and build brand identity. Establishing a brand personality is not a quick process and requires an investment of time to “tell the story” over and over again until it starts to stick. Research shows that senior decision makers are more comfortable choosing a well-known b2b brand and are willing to pay a premium for it. Over time frequent media coverage will help raise brand awareness and reputation thereby providing that competitive edge.
3. Building trust
It’s easier to win work when you are known for it so raising awareness of your expertise and understanding of your services can ultimately have a positive impact on the bottom line. The third party endorsement provided by media coverage cannot be underestimated. A quote in a national newspaper or leading trade title will help to position the commentator as a thought leader, enhancing the reputation and credibility of both the individual and the firm. Standing out as an expert on the key challenges facing clients will help to establish the firm as a trusted adviser with existing and potential clients.
4. Cementing expertise
Showcasing expertise to the outside world can only enhance reputation over time. Once a firm or individual can legitimately say they are an expert in a particular field, then client trust will follow. A media mention in a national newspaper or trade journal can then be “recycled” on social media accounts such as Linked-In or the firm’s website, repaying the initial effort exponentially.
5. Staff morale
Whether done in-house or by an agency, PR should involve everyone from junior fee earners through to senior partners. Arguably, contributing to the PR effort is part of becoming a well rounded professional so showing that as a firm you are willing to invest in this with staff should benefit retention and recruitment. Seeing their name, or the name of someone they work with, in print or on traditional media such as TV or radio can be a real boast to individuals – a win-win for the firm!.