February 15, 2010 – OK; so we’ve long preached the power of social media and consistent blogging as a key component of any legal firm’s online marketing approach, but what about the public relations aspect of maintaining a strong presence in these markets?
Your law firm would do well to take advantage of the PR opportunities afforded by your firm’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Digg profiles, not to mention a regularly updated blog(s) dedicated to your practice areas. This is because in addition to acting as an approachable and easily-accessible public face for your law firm, these online entities are increasingly valued resources for journalists of every stripe.
A recently conducted study by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University shows that a majority of journalists for both print and online publications rely on social media and blogs as research and source material for their stories.
How An Online Presence Can Enhance Your Firm’s PR Plan
Busy reporters can use Twitter and Facebook and the like to garner story ideas and to find potential resources for stories that are already in the process of being written. What does this mean for you and your firm? It pays to follow and friend as many local, regional and national news sources as you can handle, and to stay active in your social media presence.
To give an example of why this can prove valuable to you; Let’s say that you are a divorce lawyer in Georgia who specializes in issues of child custody. Your city’s local crime and courts reporter is doing an in-depth piece on child support enforcement laws in Georgia and uses the newspaper’s Twitter account to post a request for an expert on the matter. You see the Twitter message and send a personalized message with your contact info. to the reporter. The reporter contacts you and quotes you for the story, thereby elevating your public status and cementing your position as an expert in your field.
Blogs Are Increasingly Important to Reporters
Busy reporters are increasingly relying on blogs as a source for research when working on their stories, and this applies for print journalism as well as those journalists who write only online content. The Cision survey found that 89% of reporters said that they used blogs when researching stories.
What does this say about the importance of blogging for your law firm? Not only can you use your firm’s blog to reach and convert potential clients, but you can use it as a way to educate journalists and hopefully be used as a resource in a news or feature story that relates to your particular practice area.
A few ways to increase the chances that a reporter will find your law firm’s blog and choose to contact you as a resource in his or her story:
- Post frequently and cover current news events so that you can submit your blog posts to Google News.
- Provide web content that is search engine optimized (SEO) to ensure that your blog is found by any journalist researching stories on your area of expertise.
- Have contact information that is easy to find. A busy reporter won’t spend tons of time on your site looking for a phone number; be easy to reach.
- Have well-written, extremely informative original content that is provided in clear language without complicated legalese. A reporter wants someone who knows what they are talking about, but who will also offer easy-to-digest soundbites and quotes for the reader.
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