For our purposes, the gatekeepers of these stories are reporters. Whether you have a public relations agency, consultant or are doing it yourself, your job is to build lasting relationships with reporters from targeted publications and/or become “The Trusted Advisor.”
Case history: Tax planning and estates attorney embarked on a public relations campaign several years ago. With help of public relations professional he sent media kit to a personal finance reporter nationally and locally. One of those reporters was with Bloomberg News. With the permission of reporter every couple of months he sent the reporter story ideas. Part of his due diligence included phoning the reporter and asking if she was still open to his pitches. When President Bush passed the tax cuts of 2003, Guess whom the reporter called? The reporter had kept his file on record.
Lesson: The attorney had planted the seeds several years in advance. During that time he became a source for the press in his neck of the woods. He gained a fair amount of exposure on local television stations. Both his practice has grown and he charges significantly higher fees.
Note: this was not an attorney from a big law firm or from New York! He was from a small town outside of Chicago.
This case demonstrates a good media relations plan:
1 Shows the attorney with the help of pr agency was clear on which reporters to contact.
2. Knew who the reporters that covered his subject matter.
3. Crafted story ideas and sent them regularly to reporters.
4. Offered to be resource and help them anyway he could
5. Didn’t forget common courtesy.
Internal Audit: First thing you need to do is to conduct an internal audit of your clients:
- Who are my clients?
- What do they read?
- Do they read online publications?
- Are there any industry publications that they read?
- Are these publications local or national?
Where does your target market get their news, local radio or evening broadcast?
Knowing the answers to these questions will guide your choices of the publications to target, whether they are local dailies, weeklies, magazines, trade/professional journals. Being quoted in the New York Times, while prestigious is meaningless, if your target market doesn’t read the publication. There are attorneys who want media exposure for personal reasons often this is in direct conflict to the targeted media relations campaign.
Full Disclosure: this blog post is part of a tele-seminar: "How To Grow Your Law Practice On A Shoestring Budget," I gave with Allison C Shields of LegalEase Consulting.