Legal PR: How to become an expert source for journalists
Although the legal world can be complicated for an outsider looking in, it's crucial for PR professionals to credibly translate these complexities. Account executive Cara May-Cole explains how law firms can become credible PR sources.
Legal PR and how it helps law firms
We all know the legal world can be complex. It’s filled with complex legalese and intricate concepts that need to be translated to the public with ease. This is where legal PR comes in. PR (as we already know) is the great art of communication, which helps translate these complexities into effective stories that resonate with the right audiences.
Now more than ever, it is vital for legal PR professionals to be on our A-game. We work to ensure that our work provides journalists with credible stories on behalf of our clients.
Not sure what we mean? Here’s how to do this effectively.
Always know your audience
Let’s not forget how many press releases and pitches (emails proposing collaboration with media titles) are sat clogging up a journalist’s inbox on a daily basis.
You don’t want to waste time messaging them if they are not relevant to your target audience. Be aware of the publications you’re trying to target and ask yourself- what is their presence like online and in print? Is this trade publication relevant to your specific legal sector? Are they large publications like the Lawyer, or Financial Times?
Consider which publications you value the most and would like to be in. If you’re interested in less traditional publications, consider the audience your firm may be better suited to. For example, it could be more blogger led approach with a wide sector-specific audience reach.
Be consistently reliable
It isn’t enough to just know the name and the publication a journalist is working on. In a sea of a thousand emails, being reliable is a great way to become a top pick for a journalist.
Let’s set a very common scenario: a journalist is working to a very tight deadline (as they usually do), a new development from a high-profile legal case has just broken and they need a timely quote from a solicitor right away. They’ll want to contact someone they know gives accurate, swift and consistent responses.
As a busy legal firm, you may not be able to provide media comment each and every time, however, showing your reliability by preparing quality quotes and relevant insight when you can be a great way to push yourself to the “regulars” short list.
Stay on top of the news
Yes, this is obvious, as most of us are immersed in the news on a daily basis. However, even though the law itself may not change very often, legal events and cases do. Journalists need their sources to be prepared in order to gain the best insight possible.
Getting to grips with sector specific legal stories will allow you to pitch and offer up your team’s expertise in a way that can be of personal value to the journalist. We’re all competing with other legal PR experts looking to get their foot in the door too. The more clued up you are about the latest developments, the more useful you can be.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
So you’ve stayed on top of a hot story, noticed a breaking legal development early on in the day and know you would be perfect for comment. You also know exactly who to pitch this comment too. Sometimes, it can be a case of having a fresh new angle on an important story that you think a journalist would really appreciate. If you know a member of your team who could be a good source, don’t be afraid to put them forward.
Sometimes it takes the smallest notice in a development to become a news story- especially if you can sell a reporter a bigger picture perspective.
If you still need a little more advice on this, here’s a more in-depth read on how to pitch to journalists.