Don’t Sleep on Lesser Known Practice Groups

November 2, 2020

As the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shrink media outlets, fewer reporters are covering the legal industry, and marketing and PR professional may worry that it’s tougher than ever to pitch the stories that matter to their law firms.

One strategy for standing out from the deluge of pitches is to move away from the same old stories about high-profile practice areas and instead highlight unusual niches in the firm’s portfolio. By identifying some less mainstream practice groups and selecting reporters who cover the industries those practices serve, you have a better chance of a targeted — and strategically useful — placement.

Of course, a good media relations strategy never gives up on prestigious publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but, time and again, we’ve seen credible industry outlets bear fruit when the quoted attorney delivers on-message insights that raises her name recognition with an audience of prospects. Large and mid-market firms alike can benefit from this strategy, and marketers can shepherd these pitches by:

  1. Scheduling time to talk with the attorneys. Reading up on bios on the firm website is great, but in order to truly understand an attorney’s practice you need to talk in real time about their clients and the industry trends that shape their work. Even a quick 10-minute phone or Zoom call will help you come up with some ideas for pitches that may not have stood out to you from simply reading the attorney’s online profile. Pay special attention to the “unsung heroes” of the firm: the interesting, quirky or groundbreaking practices that may offer fresh possibilities.
  2. Developing a deep understanding of the specific industries the attorney works in. Especially with broad practice groups like Labor & Employment and Litigation, it is critical for legal marketers to drill further down and learn about what specific industries the attorney serves and which publications their clients turn to for trusted business information. Once you have identified the publications, you can zero in on particular reporters and begin building relationships.
  3. Taking advantage of webinars. While no one is looking forward to attending another webinar, the reality is that webinars have taken the place of live programming, and this is not changing anytime soon. Fortunately, it’s a great professional development opportunity for marketing professionals. You have more access than ever to seminars and podcasts in which attorneys discuss their work. This will give you a broad overview of their practice areas and clients, and make you a more valuable source of ideas for content and pitches.

Identifying lesser known practice groups and finding reporters who are the right fit for unexpected stories is an excellent way to bring media opportunities to your attorneys that they might not otherwise find.