During the panel “What’s Now & What’s Next for the Legal Press,” hosted by the Legal Marketing Association, panelists discussed the top trends in legal media as well as tips for PR professionals trying to put their best foot forward to get coverage from reporters and editors. The expert panel included Jenna Greene, Editor-Columnist of AmLaw Litigation Daily; David Houston, Editor of the Daily Journal; and Casey Sullivan, Editor-Writer with Big Law Business of Bloomberg. Below are a few legal marketing takeaways:
- Beat the Competition: There is an increasing request for media outlets to consistently publish “quick-take commentary” similar to blog-like articles—more news, less fluff. The demand for this steady flow of content is fueled by increased competition in the legal publication landscape. There are a lot of new players, which drive more outlets to produce quick-take commentary. However, panelists warned of the blurred lines between marketing and news, especially when it comes to blogs.
- Streamline Press Releases: Press releases are still relevant; however, they should be streamlined and focus on setting the narrative – it’s the information that matters. Some companies have even chosen to get creative in ways they deliver press releases, including through social media. Be creative, but don’t “over-lawyer” it—meaning don’t use complex formats, include unnecessarily fluffy sentences, or spend hours crafting every phrase. Timeliness is a key factor, and in a 24-hour news cycle, a day or two old is sometimes too old for publications.
- Get Creative on Social Media: For the most part, lawyers aren’t using Twitter. However, lawyers are using LinkedIn and seem to be utilizing it as a publishing platform. LinkedIn is also using its data to serve as a matchmaker between legal service buyers and lawyers.
- Set the Parameters for Contributed Content: Contributed content where outside people are the authors was a hot topic among the panelists. They stressed that it cannot be self-promotional and must feature an industry-wide topic.
- Facilitating vs. Controlling: Legal marketing professionals should play the role of facilitator rather than trying to control the story and get in the way. Also, avoid misplaced persistence regarding matters that are irrelevant to editors. Further, asking for a quote review on simple stories will earn you a reputation of wasting reporters’ time. On the flip side, panelists agreed that they really like when they have access to the top people and interviews are lined up for them.
It’s important for PR professionals to maintain a positive relationship with editors and reporters. This relationship sets the foundation for your client and gives them prime media opportunities. Respecting the reporters’ beats, time and work vastly increases the chance that they will return the favor. This creates a win-win-win situation for your client, the publication and yourself.