A Law Firm Guide to Public Relations

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Chances are you don’t have an in-house public relations specialist, and you probably don’t have an outside PR firm on speed-dial – which means you’re doing it on your own.

If so, there are a few basics you should understand, starting with the fact that public relations is a key ingredient in your marketing and messaging plan.

“While paid advertising has its benefits, it doesn’t build trust or establish a level of legitimacy for your business and brand the way PR initiatives can,” writes Kaylee Kolditz for the US Chamber of Commerce. “So, it’s important to understand what PR is and how you can embark on effective campaigns without breaking the bank.”

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The primary job of PR, says Kolditz, author of “A Complete Business Guide to Public Relations,” is to build and protect your firm’s reputation.

“Reputation is how your business is thought of by those who may buy from you, invest in you or partner with you,” she writes. “If your reputation is positive (e.g., trustworthy, high-quality, offering value for the money, caring and dependable), the odds are in your favor that your business will grow. But if public perception of your business is negative, then it’s less likely that people will buy from you, invest in you or partner with you, and your success is, therefore, unlikely.”

A good PR plan includes traditional, digital and social media. “With the traditional press,” says Kolditz. “You’ll need to either have a compelling story that is worthy of news coverage or become known as an industry or topic expert to be relied upon as a source for articles as needed.”

10 Public Relations Tools
The following 10 PR tools needn’t cost a penny:

  1. Press releases
  2. Press kits
  3. Press conferences
  4. Event hosting
  5. Your bio, resume and CV
  6. Law firm fact sheet
  7. Compelling “About us” page
  8. Guest columns
  9. Blog posts
  10. Article pitch letters

11 Ways to Enhance Your PR Efforts

  1. Cultivate relationships with the press.
  2. Become a go-to source of legal expertise.
  3. Establish an authentic, compelling voice on social media.
  4. Leverage earned media (coverage you don’t pay for but get because you’ve done something newsworthy).
  5. Attend networking events.
  6. Solicit client and peer reviews.
  7. Respond to online reviews.
  8. Start a firm blog and post content that showcases your expertise.
  9. Register with HARO, a site reporters use to find sources for stories they’re writing.
  10. Participate in online forums by sharing industry expertise, thought leadership, the vision and values of your leadership team, etc.
  11. Set up Google Alerts so you’ll know when you or your firm is mentioned on the Internet.

How do you handle public relations at your firm?

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