Last week we discussed how to recognize whether the new case that has come across your desk is “PR-worthy” -- whether it offers a story that might interest editors and producers, thus generating publicity for you and your firm?
But what happens after that case has made the news? What happens after you’ve been interviewed, filmed or videoed, and asked every silly question under the sun? How do you leverage that experience to enhance your visibility?
The answer lies in understanding the very nature of public relations. When it comes to publicity, the more you have, the more you’ll get. And when you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. Just as your legal credentials allow potential clients to feel comfortable in your ability to represent them, so do your media credentials allow producers, editors and reporters to feel comfortable using you as a source for a story or as a respected “expert.” If you have been a central figure in a major event, have been articulate in presenting facts or opinions and have proven to be credible, the perceived risk of using you for future stories is dramatically reduced. That is why we always suggest that our law firm clients be willing to speak to anyone, anywhere – even if that media outpost is a small hometown paper or radio station. They provide the foundation for bigger and better media “hits” in the future. The strategy is to build up enough of such hits so that, just like a resume, the reader is persuaded about your knowledge in a particular subject area. Keep in mind also, that the media watches the media. There is nothing that prevents them from reaching out to an individual that they have seen interviewed or written about elsewhere.
The notion of “particular subject area” is also important. Yes, you are an attorney, but that does not make you the ideal person to speak with on every aspect of the law. You know your niche. Focus on it. If, for example, you previously handled a big pharmaceutical liability case that generated a large amount of media attention, then anything that involves similar matters (be they new cases, new statutes, new research, etc.) becomes an opportunity to further highlight your expertise. Send pitch letters to the media that describe your story idea or opinion. And be sure to highlight your involvement in that previous “big case” along with the associated media coverage you received.
Once you have established substantive media credentials, (i.e., you’ve garnered quite a few articles, interviews, stories, etc.) it is not a bad idea to trumpet such in ongoing media pitch letters, on the firm’s web site and/or in online or offline media kits disseminated to a carefully developed list of media contacts.
In summary then, the notoriety you’ve gained on the “big case,” should be augmented with whatever additional exposure you can create – big or small. Eventually, you will have enough mass to become the media’s “go to” guy on a particular subject. And at that point, you won’t have to worry too much about reaching out to the media. They’ll be chasing after you!