Friday, December 12, 2003

Helpful Pitching Tips - Reaching the Media

A vital component of legal marketing is “good press” and in order to obtain “good press” you must understand how to best relate to reporters.

The worst time to contact a reporter is during their “deadline”. If you try to contact a reporter while on “deadline” most likely he will not be very receptive to your story. Always ask if it is a good time before discussing your story with a reporter.

Reporters receive hundreds of stories every week so it is important that your story stands out from the rest. Research the reporter before contacting him. Know the reporter’s beat (what are the sources for most of his article and what types of articles does he write). Be familiar with articles that the reporter has written in the past (if you can, tie in one of these articles to your pitch). Be specific and brief – this will show the reporter that you are not wasting his time.

It is also helpful to understand that a reporter working for a daily publication will be very interested in a news story that he himself can break to the public. On the other hand, reporters working for weekly publications are more interested in detailed, comprehensive information, and how that information will affect the business community. Be sure to modify your story accordingly.

Use of the above suggestions can help create a more positive response from reporters for your story.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Building Your Practice Through Public Relations

Today lawyers are becoming more aware of the impact and power of public relations. One result of this new understanding is that they realize that public relations is not going to increase business overnight. Public relations for law firms is a long-term strategy that incorporates many different approaches to achieve the firm’s goals. Some of the most important approaches utilized to create a long-term effective strategy include:

• Building a Portfolio – having newspaper or magazine articles about your firm, which gives you credibility

• Obtaining Reference – speaking invitations usually require recommendations from prior presentations

• Creating a Data Base – once you obtain numerous names or business cards they should be put into a data base of prospects which should be used for future mailings

• Cross-Selling – make current clients aware of additional firm capabilities

A strategic collaboration of such approaches can provide a positive impact for any firm willing to make the long-term commitment to a well-planned public relations program.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Holiday cards are a great way to contact your past and present clients, judiciary, referring counsel and colleagues, friends and family. However, it is very important to stand out from the crowd. Take the time to hire an independent graphic artist or direct marketing consultant to design a card that tells your story. Every law firm has a story - why not own it. And why not send a card for Thanksgiving or the New Year rather than during the traditional "Christmas" season? Think differently than all the rest and your card will stand out from the crowd.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

A letter to the editor is a great way to garner media attention in your area of expertise. Send letters in response to articles that are relevant to your practice area. Make sure you have an actual opinion about the article and why you are responding. Do you have a different solution to the problem under fire or do you have a different experience that you'd like to share. Send your letter within a week of the original publication and follow up with a telephone call to make sure it was read. Position yourself as the expert and you will be perceived as an expert - even in states like Pennsylvania were attorneys cannot call themselves experts . . .

Thursday, October 02, 2003

When speaking to the media, writing a press release, or talking to a jury, I always tell my clients to keep it simple. Speak in soundbites. Write at a 7th grade level. Talk to the jury not the judge. And so this morning, I was listing to Zig Zigler's "See You at the Top" during my morning commute and he reconfirms my message. He says we must remember, "there are only three pure colors but look what Michaelangelo did with them. There are only ten digits but look what Einstein did with them. And there are only seven notes but look what Bethtoven and Chopin did with them." His point is well taken! He then reminds us that the most notable speech in American history, the Gettysburg Address, only had 272 words - most of which are one sylabol. Now that's good writing! - Gina Rubel

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Diplaying marketing materials in your lobby is a great way to teach clients, old and new, about your business. You should also display your public relations materials when appropriate. For example, if you’ve settled a large matter, received a favorable judgment or jury award, hired a new associate, landed a large corporate client or promoted someone to partner, the press releases should be available for your clients to read. Only selective press releases or media materials should be displayed and only if the messages support or enhance your marketing materials (as opposed to repeating the same message). A clean and attractive way to do this is to maintain a leather press binder with plastic sleeves and display the most recent press release first. - Gina Rubel

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Great Attorney Marketing & Public Relations Resources

Larry Bodine's Blog - www.larrybodine.com/blog
Law Marketing Newsletter - www.lawmarketing.com
The Legal Marketing Association - www.legalmarketing.org

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Public relations is a communications tool that many attorneys can use in their day-to-day practice to retain current and acquire new clients, create a niche, generate buzz and strengthen their name in the legal community. One example of effective public relations is to write and distribute targeted press releases announcing large nonconfidential verdicts or settlements, speaking engagements, community involvement, honors and awards, milestones, and the like. The press release is not only sent to the approrpiate media but it can be used as a marketing tool. Several basic ways to use the press release for marketing are to:

1. Send it to clients
2. Send to prospects
3. Send it to vendors
4. Send it to referring attorneys
5. Send it to trade associations
6. Put copies in the lobby
7. Put it on your Web site
8. Reference it in your newsletter
9. Send it to friends and family
10. Send it to employees.


Author Biography: Founder and president of Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. (www.furiarubel.com), Gina F. Rubel, Esq., is a Philadelphia lawyer with more than a decade of integrated communications experience in the legal industry. After practicing law for several years, Gina focused on her passion for proactive, integrated communication for the legal, healthcare, and nonprofit industries. Gina has developed and executed integrated strategic communications plans for large and small firms; supervised crisis communications, risk management and media relations for internationally publicized death penalty trials, planned events for major corporate, nonprofit, and philanthropic gatherings; and implemented programs that include corporate branding, publicity, special events, Web site development, and association relations.

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