Legal professionals are not supposed to call themselves experts, and we lean far away from ever using the term. But if you have a focus in estate planning, you have developed an expertise and can discuss any number of topics with local reporters. For some of you, national reporters are a worthwhile effort, as appearing online in a national media outlet is a great boost to your social media program.
Just don’t call yourself an expert.
First, how are your credentials? Are you a member of the local or state bar association? Best candidates for media coverage have leadership positions with their peers. Journalists are more comfortable when they know that you have these positions, as they set you apart from your colleagues. If you have been considering getting more involved with the bar or any related organization, we suggest jumping in. With both feet. It will also help your professional development and your practice.
Next, what topics are you most qualified to discuss? If you have never met a trust you didn’t like, that’s your bailiwick. If you work with high net worth clients who own real estate and a good chunk of your practice concerns helping transfer real property from generation to generation, you have a different topic to cover. For attorneys who work with business owners where the family business is a farm business, you have insights and experience to share with farm media also. A more traditional personal finance columnist might not be that keen on your topics. In other words, know thyself and know the media.
Have you reached out to local media in the last year or so? Depending on whether you are, in a major media market or a mid-sized city, you might have even gotten a call from a reporter asking questions about a story they are working on. Do yourself a favor: make a note of the reporter’s name, email address and phone number. If they are not a personal finance reporter, they will be able to tell you who is. Start adding a media list to your E2 CRM.
Did you ever send out one press release and then complain that it didn’t do anything for you? Does Coke run one ad a year? One of the keys to media relations success is being in the right time, at the right place. That means sending out press releases or story ideas or lists of facts on a regular basis. If you are sending out a steady stream of useful, substantive information, reporters will come to know that you are a “working” source that is trying to get their attention.
This is just a taste of what you need to know about building a successful public relations program. IMS will present a webinar on public relations scheduled for April 5 – stay tuned for details!