Trust in Traditional Media Is Way Up

March 5, 2019

Media geeks like us have noticed, thanks to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, that something very interesting has happened over the past year when it comes to the average person’s relationship with traditional news media. One year ago, most people surveyed for this report said they were turning away from traditional news because it was “biased and driven by clickbait”; today, however, we see that there has been a massive rise in engagement with traditional sources of news, up 22 points since last year. People are reading news more often than before and are sharing the stories that matter to them via social media.

Another data point: in the midst of a chaotic time, 73 percent of people surveyed say they are worried about “false information or fake news being used as a weapon.” One interpretation of this data is that after a time of disengagement, this era of instability and shattered norms has awakened people to the need for reliable information from trusted news organizations.

What does this mean for law firm leaders and marketers? Because people in general, and your clients and potential clients in particular, increasingly turn to traditional media for information, it is more important than ever for you to invest in a sophisticated media strategy to manage your firm’s relationship with those outlets. Trust is the cornerstone of a strong reputation, but it must continually be built and maintained through the work you do and the stories you tell about that work.

Your firm’s relationship with key reporters in your local market, opportunities for your best attorneys to showcase their expertise and lead the conversation in their practice areas, your firm’s engagement with and ability to talk about the biggest issues in law today—each of these is a crucial piece of a communication strategy that will build trust in your firm.

The Edelman report says that “the state and dynamic of trust in institutions [is] in many ways predictive of larger societal, economic, and political changes to come.” Are you ready for what’s to come? The public’s greater engagement with traditional media demands that your firm engage with it too, in ever more sophisticated and strategic ways.