sound law firm marketing program will include public relations. Part of the public relations work will include holding out the firm’s lawyers as experts in the area of law within which they practice. The goal is to get the media to contact the lawyers for information on stories and to quote the lawyer as an authority in the story. Typically law firms do this PR work by having a news room on their Web site, networking with journalists & reporters and issuing timely press releases via fax or email.
Setting up a blog where the firm becomes the source of news – the Associated Press, if you will, – on a particular area of law may be a far more powerful way to get the job done. Journalists doing stories relevant to the area of law picking up feeds from the blog by RSS or email now have an instant source for stories and experts to quote. Those journalists not subscribing to the blog will pick up your blog in a New York minute when doing a search on the topic at google.com. Heck, you will be doing journalists a favor.
Journalists get so much junk email and faxes your chances of having one of your releases read is extremely low. Unless you have a journalist as a friend it’s unlikely they will call you as a an expert when covering a news story in your area of law. However, if you are a good lawyer paying attention to legal updates and news stories in your area of law, there is a way you can turn your research into news coverage by helping the media.
Simply by tracking news stories, changes in the law, verdicts or judgments and writing or linking to a short synopsis of each development in your blog, you can help the media who cover these subjects by cutting their research time. By feeding the press with these stories you magnify the chances that you will be interviewed or that your law firm will be credited as the source of the information.
I suggest subscribing to google news-feeds on keywords relevant to your area of law. You will get an email from google alerting you to the story. Take a look at the story and put a short blurb about the story and a link in your blog. Follow up dates in the law and write about those in your blog. There is plenty of information you see by email alerts, bar magazines, law journals, cle materials and newsletters. You need to keep up to speed on that stuff anyway – store references of it in your blog. If you do not have the time to key things in, have a staff person in your office do so. Upload documents and files you believe would be helpful. This is not expensive or time consuming.
Once your blog is growing look for journalists in the local, state and national media covering stories about your area of the law. As a courtesy, let them know by email (emails are always in the footers of stories) that you have created a blog to act as a news wire on the subject and that the may find it helpful from time to time. Journalists subscribe to numerous blogs and RSS feeds as a sources of information.
If you build a blog news wire service related to your field, your coverage is going to take off. As Steve O’Keefe (no relation) says in the Complete Guide to Internet Publicity:
You serve the highest goals of the public relations professional: to become a relied-upon source and conduit for the media, someone who can assist them with story ideas, leads to supporting documentation and supporting interviews.
Companies did news wire services before blogs. They prepared summaries of the news and emailed or faxed them to journalists. Boy, that was a heck of a lot of harder than doing it with a blog. With the ease and next to nothing cost of a blog, what are you waiting for?