It is not a bad idea to remind ourselves once and awhile about the differences between advertising and publicity. I’ve written on the topic several times and reference a couple of them with links below. It’s important to keep in mind that (good) publicity is more effective than advertising, because someone else is quoting you and/or writing about you.
Advertising, on the other hand, is controlled by you, and thus less credible because you are “writing” or otherwise providing information about yourself and your firm. Not objective nor without self-aggrandizement, I think most would agree.
Accordingly, almost everyone would agree that publicity is the better of the two. Advertising is not a bad thing. It’s just that, as I have preached previously, it is not the most effective way to develop business for your firm. It has a role but not in my mind until other more effective marketing and business development tactics have been put into action.
What brought this to mind is today’s meditation in 365 Marketing Meditations: Daily Lessons for Marketing and Communications Professionals, by Larry Smith and Richard Levick with Levick Strategic Communications. It states:
“Publicity is far less controllable and takes more time to work than advertising, but has far greater credibility. If I read it, it must be true.”
Well, we all know it doesn’t mean it’s true, but media coverage that has a quote or other positive things to say about you/your firm certainly is more believable.
Bottom line: make friends with the media so they will get to know you, and hopefully, talk about you and your practice. It will be far more effective than any self-serving ad in producing more legal work for your firm.