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Three Big Mistakes Firms Make with PR

And how to fix them.

Throwing a bunch of things against the wall to see what sticks—if that’s your law firm’s experience of PR, you’re not working with a PR firm that specializes in the legal field and has a deep understanding of strategic communications.

So give us a call and we can change that. We will have a treasure trove of ideas for how you can position your attorneys to be thought leaders, trumpet your successes on important cases, and build your reputation as the top choice in the service areas you hope to develop. And to make the most of these opportunities, you’ll want to avoid these mistakes that tie PR professionals’ hands:

Trying to promote everything at once. Successful PR campaigns are strategic. That means firm leaders must think carefully about the lawyers they want to develop and the practice areas they want to invest in. What are the areas of expertise your superstars (and future superstars) possess, and how could they publish articles and get quoted on these topics? Do they have a novel take, or specific skills, that sets their experience apart? As for practice areas, where are your opportunities for growth? Where can you lead in your market? When you invest your PR resources strategically, with your firm’s goals in mind, your return on investment will be much higher.

Focusing narrowly on “prestige” publications. Every lawyer wants to be quoted in The Wall Street Journal. It’s a newspaper with a storied reputation, and most lawyers read it—it would be a lovely feather in your cap. Here’s the problem: do your clients and potential clients read it? Do you know what they actually do read? In most cases, your clients’ media diets will include niche and industry journals. These may not be splashy, but they carry a potent influence within their field, and a potential client is much more likely to pick up the phone and call a lawyer she saw featured there than in a large national publication. Don’t think of niche publications as small; recognize how targeted and important they are.

Bringing PR help in at the eleventh hour. Unfortunately, some firm leaders continue to think about PR as a stand-alone function they can call on when they’re ready to execute their plan. But effective PR is integrated with business development, marketing and communications, strategy, selling new services, building relationships, and all the other elements of your plan for the firm’s future. Having the perspective of a skilled PR professional at the table as you make these big decisions will help you take advantage of many opportunities and create a host of new ones you may not have known were possible.