The reason public relations is so much more effective than advertising is because of the credibility factor. What is said in an ad, which you pay for, is controlled by you, whereas what is said about you (hopefully in a favorable light) in the media by an independent third party is free advertising for you and your firm. And, since you want good press, make friends with reporters.

One way to do that is to quickly respond to requests for comment. (Of course, not commenting on any client matters without prior approval). You could become a general source for legal related stories and someone a reporter can rely on when they on a tight deadline. With that thought in mind, I love today’s tidbit from 365 Marketing Meditations: Daily Lessons for Marketing & Communications Professionals by Larry Smith and Richard Levick of Levick Strategic Communications:

“Two journalists getting married were in such a hurry to meet deadlines that all they had time for was ‘I…’ Remember that when a reporter calls you for comment.”

Their advice is not just for PR professionals. Any lawyer can apply their meditations to their own experiences, and in this situation especially. If you want to become recognized as an expert, and get “free” media coverage, remember to return a journalist’s call ASAHP (as soon as humanly possible). Read that as immediately, even if only to tell them you’ll have to research the issue and get back to them. Always ask when their deadline is. They will come to rely on you, and that is a good thing.

  • I have provided public relations services to law firms and other professional services firms for nearly 20 years now. The media want reliable and credible sources. Responding to a reporter goes a long way in establishing yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. And since one good deed deserves another, these same reporters will be available to hear your proactive story ideas as well.

  • Abbie has a good point. Better to be a honest, credible sounding individual than to look like a pretentious jerk.