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With so much competition, it can be challenging for law firms to get their stories or expert opinions noticed by and covered in the media. With a flood of press releases, story pitches and news alerts they receive daily, how can your law firm ensure that its media pitches stand out from the rest and catch the attention of journalists?
If your pitches are consistently being ignored, it’s time to reimagine and refine your strategy. Here are three actionable strategies law firms can adopt to improve their media pitches.
Why is investing in public relations a smart strategy for law firms?
Public relations is a smart strategy for law firms of all sizes for several reasons:
Enhances Reputation and Credibility: PR initiatives, especially those involving thought leadership, can position law firms as industry experts. When lawyers contribute to articles, offer commentary on legal issues in the news or speak at conferences, they are viewed as authorities in their respective fields. This boosts both their personal reputation and that of the firm.
Visibility and Brand Awareness: Consistent PR efforts ensure that the law firm’s name appears regularly in various media outlets. This increases the firm’s visibility and top-of-mind awareness among clients, referral sources, potential clients, partners and the general public.
Crisis Management: No firm is immune to crises. Whether it’s a high-profile case going awry or an internal issue becoming public, PR professionals can help manage the narrative, mitigate damage and rebuild the firm’s image.
Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional advertising, PR can often be a more cost-effective way to generate awareness and build brand equity. Earned media, in particular, offers a form of third-party endorsement that’s more trusted by audiences than paid ads.
Building Trust: Articles, interviews, and other content that features the firm or its attorneys can foster trust among clients and prospects. This trust can be a significant factor when individuals or businesses are choosing legal representation.
Attracting Talent: A strong PR presence not only attracts clients but also top-tier talent. Aspiring lawyers and experienced practitioners alike are more likely to be drawn to firms they recognize and perceive as industry leaders.
Supporting Business Development: PR can be an instrumental tool in the business development arsenal. Positive media coverage can open doors to new partnerships, client referrals and other opportunities.
SEO Benefits: Digital PR, especially guest posts or mentions on reputable websites, can improve a firm’s SEO. Backlinks from high-authority sites boost the firm’s search engine ranking, making it easier for potential clients to find them online.
Clarifying Complex Issues: The legal world can be complex and intimidating for the average person. PR provides an avenue for law firms to break down complicated subjects and communicate them in relatable terms, thereby serving and educating the public.
Highlighting Community Involvement and CSR: Many law firms engage in pro bono work or community service. PR allows these firms to showcase their commitment to social responsibility, further bolstering their image in the eyes of clients and the public.
1. Really Understand the Journalist’s Beat
Why it matters: Before sending out a media pitch, it’s essential to target the right journalist—one whose area of interest aligns with your story.
How to do it: Most publications provide short profiles or blurbs about each of their journalists. These profiles, often only 2-3 sentences long, give insights into the journalist’s primary areas of coverage. Take time to read these blurbs, understand their ‘beat’ or topic and pitch stories that resonate with their specific interest area.
2. Identify the Gaps in Media Coverage
Why it matters: By identifying what’s missing in a journalist’s coverage, you can pitch stories that are both fresh and relevant.
How to do it: Compare recent articles from your targeted publication with those of its competitors. This comparison will help identify potential gaps in coverage, areas where your story can offer a fresh perspective or an unexplored angle.
3. Craft a Tailored Pitch
Why it matters: Generic pitches seldom grab attention. A pitch tailored to a journalist’s beat and the gaps in coverage is far more likely to resonate.
How to do it: Once you’ve gathered insights from the first two steps, draft a concise, compelling pitch. Integrate the reporter’s beat, highlight the gaps your story addresses and present your law firm’s unique value proposition or news angle. Make it clear what’s in it for them and why your story should matter to their readers.
The Importance of Knowing Your Audience
For law firms pitching publications, it’s crucial to write in language that resonates with reporters. Reporters, often juggling multiple stories and tight deadlines, are more likely to pick up pitches that are clear, concise and relevant to their readership. By using language that aligns with a publication’s tone and style, law firms increase the likelihood of their pitches being noticed and acted upon.
In addition, reporters seek stories that are compelling and newsworthy for their audience. If a pitch comes across as overly technical, jargon-filled or not immediately relevant, it may be passed over. Thus, crafting pitches in reporter-friendly language not only facilitates better understanding but also establishes a foundation for productive relationships with media professionals, amplifying the law firm’s visibility and credibility in the public eye.
Key Takeaways for Garnering Impactful Press Coverage
Personalization is Powerful: Tailor your pitches based on a journalist’s specific interests and beat.
Research is Crucial: Identify and address the gaps in media narratives to offer fresh insights. Invest in media listening tools to help you do this.
Clarity and Brevity Win: Craft pitches that are concise yet compelling, emphasizing the unique value your story brings to the table. Always write in language that resonates with reporters.
Remember, successful media pitching is a blend of thorough research, understanding the market and your target publications, and effective communication. By integrating these strategies, law firms of all sizes can boost the effectiveness of their media pitches, garner the right kind of visibility with the people who matter most and achieve the media coverage to help them stand out from their competitors.
Copyright © 2023, Stefanie M. Marrone. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 255