Friday, September 24, 2004

Getting Air Time - The Audition and the Interview

Read what publicity expert, Gina Rubel has to say about what it takes to wow a television or radio producer to give you air time in the September 2004 issue of ExpertPR.

To read the full article, click here.
Online Press Rooms

Online press rooms should always contain your press releases regardless of whether they were picked up by the media. It is also important to make sure there are words in the title that will help with search engine optimization. You can also use the press room for “SAVE THE DATE” notices if you want to get the word out about a charity event, speaking engagement, seminar, etc. Another great use it to include articles that members of your firm have had published and/or media coverage – of course after first retaining reprint permissions.

Depending on the size of your firm, an online press kit can be quite helpful. It should contain a backgrounder, fact sheet, list of partners who are available to discuss specific topics with the media, key bios, areas of practice, and any other information the media might seek to learn.

Without regard to content, make sure everything has been scrutinized against your state's rules of professional conduct, which, in Pennsylvania, will change on January 1, 2005. However, you must alse keep in mind that if your firm is multi-jurisdictional, you will need to consider all the states’ rules witin which you practice. If you want to err on the side of caution, follow Florida's rules. They are by far, the most conservative.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I was asked to post the name of one of my favorite listservs so here goes - Legal Marketing Association - it is very resourceful, however, it is a membership based list.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Five Suggestions for Finding the Best PR or Marketing Partner

1) Get References: Find other law firms whose programs you admire and then call the Director of Marketing or the firm's Administrator and ask what company the firm uses. Get their feedback. Then narrow this list down to 4-5.

2) Create an RFQ (a request for qualifications): Contact the 5 agencies or consultants and explain to them what your firm wants to do. If they past muster on the phone, send them an RFQ. This should include a short list of questions requesting information on their skills, experience, expertise, etc. It can be done via email. Keep this short! The goal is to see if they have the basic qualifications for you to take the time to meet them. You may want to ask for referrals and samples. Many firms or consultants have capabilities packages ready to send immediately.

3) Meet the players: Narrow down the list from 5 to 3. Ask the 3 firms or consultants to come to your office. Ideally, the meetings should include you and one other decision maker. The goal of this meeting is meet the prospects, get a feeling for how they will fit within your corporate cultures, see if they understand the nature of your business and make sure they understand the sensitivities of legal marketing. Give them a chance to ask you questions. A good firm will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.

4) Request a Proposal: After having met all 3 firms, you should have a pretty good idea which ones you would like to work with - ask the companies that you liked to write a proposal, (don't waste yours or anyone else's time by asking for a proposal from a company that you know you won't use). Be specific about what you need to see in the proposal. Remember, price is important, but it should not be the sole decision making criteria as you may not have provided enough information for them to understand your budget.

5) Meet the front-runner: Pick the firm that you would like to use. Before hiring them, have them come in to meet the Managing Partner and other important attorneys in the firm. It's important that this happens for two reasons; it allows the consultant or agency to know who they will be working with. If for some reason there doesn't seem to be a fit, it's best for everyone that it is discovered sooner rather than later. Second, it gives you one more change to ask questions you may not have discussed in round one and their reasoning for the strategies and tactics they present in the proposal.

The bottom-line is that you should hire a qualified consultant or agency that you can trust. Hiring a marketing or public relations consultant is just like hiring a law firm -- at the end of the day your hiring people (as opposed to buying a product). Being able to trust those people is essential -- you'll be leaning heavily on them to guide you safely through the process and deliver the expected results.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

LAWYER VS. ATTORNEY - Which do you use?

Today, on my favorite ListServ, there was banter about the usage of "lawyer" versus "attorney." The answer was as follows:

According to the Associated Press Stylebook (which journalists and PR professionals defer to when making copy decisions):

attorney, lawyer entry:
"In common usage the words are interchangeable. Technically, however, an attorney is someone (usually, but not necessarily, a lawyer) empowered to act for another. Such an individual occasionally is called an attorney in fact. A lawyer is a person admitted to practice in a court system. Such an individual occasionally is called an attorney at law."

lawyer entry:
"A generic term for all members of the bar. An attorney is someone legally appointed or empowered to act for another, usually, but not always, a lawyer. An attorney at law is a lawyer. A barrister is an English lawyer who is specially trained and appears exclusively as a trial lawyer in higher courts. He is retained by a solicitor, not directly by the client. There is no equivalent term in the United States. Counselor, when used in a legal sense, means a person who conducts a case in court, usually, but not always, a lawyer. A counselor at law is a lawyer. Counsel frequently is used collectively for a group of counselors. A solicitor in England is a lawyer who performs legal services for the public. A solicitor appears in lower courts but does not have the right to appear in higher courts, which are reserved to barristers. A solicitor in the United States is a lawyer employed by a governmental body. Solicitor is generally a job description, but in some agencies it is a formal title. Solicitor general is the formal title for a chief law officer (where there is no attorney general) or for the chief assistant to the law officer (when there is an attorney general). Capitalize when used before a name. Do not use lawyer as a formal title."

Just some good food for thought!