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We Need to Dispel These 5 PR Myths

Nowadays, “hiring a PR firm” means that your company is facing a crisis and you are calling to the rescue. Although PR firms have helped a lot of companies to handle a crisis and to improve the strategic team, it is still newsworthy when an organization utilizes its services.

Due to a lack of strong and ongoing advocacy for PR, this profession is not yet elevated within an organization. Aren’t PR professionals the go-to storytellers, writers, advisors, counselors, organizers, implementers and strategists? Some heavy lifting is needed. Let’s start by discussing 5 myths about PR:

  • PR is nice to have but not need to have.

The truth is that the strongest brands and reputations deploy smart public relations tactics that are integrated into the core mission and culture.

  • PR should not be seen – and needs to stay behind the scenes.

Of course not. You have the advantage of context and clarity – there is no reason you can’t be the spokesperson and certainly no reason why an organization shouldn’t be proud to have a smart PR counselor backing its reputation.

  • PR’s main role is media relations.

Media relations is just a subject of PR, not all of it. Strong relationships with journalists are critical for many PR people, but the public in Public Relations includes those hanging out on social media, the employees in an organization and the people on Wall Street. Let’s change the conversation from positive media coverage to positive coverage!

  • Good products don’t need publicity – only bad products do.

Puffing up a bad product while ignoring your good products is an odd and unproductive strategy. You want people to know about your best product and you should be proud of it. Make it the centerpiece of any publicity or marketing campaign.

  • PR is easy so I will just do it myself!

This is one of the biggest myths about PR. Many business owners think that they can handle PR themselves to save money. After all, all you need to do is write a press release and journalists will be banging down your door and asking for interviews, right? Not true. PR is not just about press releases or pitches. It is about creating a consistent brand, writing well, communicating effectively, acting strategically, creating relationships with media, having extensive knowledge about your industry and the media outlets that you are pitching.

7 Steps on How to Start Your PR Crisis Plan

As a PR firm or company there is nothing more important than establishing a crisis plan for yourself or client to be ready to execute at any time. With an effective plan comes readjusting it as your company evolves with time. This can prove to be daunting when trying to evaluate every aspect of your plan, but Scott Rainone, in PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook, recommends starting the evaluation process in steps by determining which components are the most important to your company’s approach.

Below are Rainone’s 7 steps to finding your starting point:

  1. Analyze if your plan is flexible enough to address challenges such as changes to crisis command location and availability of personnel and technology.
  2. Determine your specific audiences, not just the public, but also ones that might be impacted by an incident.
  3. Test your potential messages with actual members of your audiences to determine if they resonate in the ways you intended.
  4. Explore if your messages are best suited for the communication channels you have planned to use in a crisis.
  5. Determine if your stakeholders are informed about a topic important to your organization that may arise and, if they are not, develop ways you might be able to inform them.
  6. Explore who are the main contributors on your crisis team and if they have the training and resources needed to be able to succeed.
  7. Use interviews, focus groups, and surveys to incorporate feedback from target audiences and others into the planning and evaluation processes.

7 Ways to Find Law Firm Blogging Inspiration Again

Are you experiencing law firm blogging burnout? Coming up with new topics that are relevant and engaging can be a struggle. Here are seven ideas for creating a great law firm blog content.

 

  1. Law firm blog ideas are everywhere

 

Daily events can potentially turn into a blog post, or at least inspire good topics. From interaction with clients and discussions with attorneys to news and things that happened in court, all daily events can potentially turn into a blog post. Or at least inspire good topics. Writing ideas down throughout your day is a good way to have a growing list of topics to draw from when you sit down to write.

 

  1. Set up an annual calendar for your law firm blog

 

Develop a content plan that includes everything you are planning to publish over the upcoming year and the associated deadlines. Think about what is happening in your potential client`s lives in specific times of the year. It is easier to create timely and relevant content during holidays, commemorative dates, awareness dates, and annual or seasonal events. Some of the possible topics are: alcohol consumption during major holidays, tax benefits of estate planning in April, how divorcing parents should manage school vacations or educational blog contents for Equal Pay Day.

The key is skim over a list of holiday and awareness dates that are related to your clients and add them to your law firm`s content plan.

 

  1. Interview other attorneys, judges or locally important figures

 

Are you looking for fresh content and new perspectives? Interviewing well-known professionals can attract readers to your blog and increase the potential that your blog content will be shared. Furthermore, conducting effective interviews is also a great networking strategy because it connects you with potential referral sources and develops relationships with them.

 

  1. Get inspired by news and blogs

 

Another great way to find engaging content is by gathering blogging inspiration from the news. Posts about recent news demonstrate thought leadership, engagement with your practice and can also help grab readers` attention (especially if they have been following that topic themselves).

 

  1. Blog about common misconceptions or misunderstood legal terms

 

Legal terminology can be really confusing and intimidating for your clients, especially if they don’t have a legal background. Blogging about common misconceptions and misunderstood legal terms not only helps potential clients better understand their case or matter, but it can also help establish your law firm as a trustworthy resource. These type of posts have a great potential to be engaging and shareable!

 

  1. Google terms related to your law firm’s practice area

 

Try learning what people are searching for related to your practice area and the kind of terminology they use to search for that information. By doing a quick Google search and using the sections “people also searched for” and “searches related to”, you are identifying potential blog post ideas that may specifically interest your potential clients. Also, this will increase the likelihood that your law firm`s blog content will appear in search results for relevant queries, as well as that potential clients will engage with your blog contents.

 

  1. Step away from your law firm`s blog

 

We all know what it is like to be staring at a blank page for 30 minutes and not having any ideas. The best solution is to take a break, go for a walk and do something else you enjoy. Your brain will keep working and generating new ideas in the background while you are engaged in another activity.

How do you choose the best media request?

You have risen the profile of your brand, promoted your business and built momentum in this media-saturated market.  Now you are getting requests for interviews and invitations to radio shows, TV programs and podcasts. Journalists who didn’t use to answer your emails are following up and your pitches are not going out the door with no media requests anymore. Although those media opportunities can help you with further brand building, there are a lot of aspects you should consider. Should you accept them all? The answer is no and here are 3 critical questions you should ask when making a decision about when to say yes and when to say no:

  • What are your business priorities?

Although PR requests look real pretty, they can be enormously distracting. Any solid PR strategy should align with a specific business goal and you need to keep your short and long-term priorities in mind when your inbox starts getting noisy with requests. Explore your goals with your team and don’t forget what your focus is when considering the requests.

  • What is the journalist`s track record?

You should never believe in the statement that “any press is good press” because it is completely false. As requests roll in, you have the ability to be more selective. Since not every media outlet is the right fit for a brand, you should thoroughly research every single journalist that sends a request. There are a lot of ways to track down their history of covering, their beat, their story and their angle preferences. Look at their LinkedIn profiles, click at their social media updates or google their past coverage. After using your media database, ask yourself if their coverage is aligned to the type of reporters you trust. The answer will guide your decision.

  • What is the relationship at play?

We all know that PR is an industry built on relationship. The last critical question you should consider is the relationship you have with that journalist or media outlet. If you have a good rapport with them, go for it. However, don’t accept a request from a journalist you don’t trust or don’t see any future in your industry relationship. It is far more strategic to decline those that don’t align with your values and priorities than to drag your brand into a media storm. Accepting each and every request that comes your way can cost you a lot more than a polite “no”.

Without proper vetting and consideration, sometimes what seems like a straightforward interview from a respected trade publication can turn into a reputation-damaging story.

PEOPLE SKILLS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS LEGAL SKILLS

In a lawyer role, people are required to interact with a huge diversity of stakeholders from employers, partners and financial clients. Consider how many talented lawyers are out there and you will realize how a lawyer services his/her client can be a game changer in terms of ongoing client relationship. Poor people skills lead to poor service and most clients place a very high value on quality legal services.

When looking for a lawyer, clients are expecting:

 

  • Understanding of their business
  • Better Communications
  • No surprises
  • Prompt Billing
  • Greater Value
  • Security

 

However, when time is squeezed by huge workloads and client demands, it mutes lawyer`s people skills. The higher a lawyer`s workload is, the harder it is for him/her to slow down and know what the client is going through. We all know that sometimes people are hard to understand and the most critical thing that isn’t trained into lawyers is interpersonal flexibility. Since that is a core emotional intelligence skill, here is a list of some important people skills that every lawyer should work on:

  • Have a sense of humor
  • Ask about client’s work routine
  • Learn about their personal life (as appropriate)
  • Build trust
  • Accept people have weaknesses and sometimes they are emotional and unpredictable
  • Know what keeps your clients up at night
  • Ask what are their preferred manner for receiving updates

 

In today`s competitive marketplace, those skills are as important as how smart a lawyer is.

6 Social Media Myths Debunked

There’s no question that Social Media has become one of, if not the top platform for increasing brand awareness and audience engagement in today’s age.

Although any brand can make a social media page, many harbor several misconceptions about how to succeed on social media.

Here’s 6 of the top social media myths many brands believe and how to debunk them

 

MYTH 1: If you aren’t on every social media platform your brand won’t succeed.

A company never needs to be active on all social media sites. Instead, companies should be active on the platforms that work for them and make sense for their brand. Your brand needs to focus on where its reach will be most effective and hone in on these platforms.

 

MYTH 2: Publish as much content as possible and your audience will engage.

With millions of blogs posted, tweets exchanged, and purchases made online daily, standing out among the endless posts is crucial. It’s not enough to just be posting, it’s more important than ever to be engaging with your audiences. Replying to comments, reaching out to customers who have recently purchased your product, etc. It’s beneficial to have a content extension team to reach out to audiences and ensure the reach your target audience needs to take action.

 

MYTH 3: Repost your content. Everywhere.

While it is true that only a small portion of your social media audience is going to see your live content, reposting the exact same content over and over again and posting it on every. Single. One. Of your social media platforms runs the risk of pushing your followers to unfollowing you. Be wary of reposting the same content over and over and everywhere.Social media posts attracting more engagement when they contain other forms of media (videos, photos, GIFs, storyboards, etc.) Mix up your content and your audience will be satisfied.

 

MYTH 4: Social media is the best tool to gain new customers.

In most cases, your primary audience on social will be current or past customers. Looking to drive loyalty through repeat purchases and brand ambassadorship through social endorsement is key. It’s counterproductive to expect social media to be a primary driver of sales for new customers. View social media as a means of cultivating customer retention and increasing brand loyalty.

 

MYTH 5: Social media is solely for increasing sales.

If your first goal of creating a social media page is increasing sales, put that idea back into the box. Your primary goal should always be to increase engagement with your audience. There is great value in offering your audience content that helps them succeed. Sometimes that content is going to be a solution in the form of a product or service. But keep relationship-building and community building front and center of your strategy. Content marketing pieces should relate to your business, but not always be about your business.

 

MYTH 6: The more followers the better.

The belief that bigger is better leads brands to put a follower count above all else when it comes to success metrics, as many brands are beginning to buy followers. There is little to no value in buying/attracting followers who have no interest in your brand or are inactive accounts. Even if small at first, it’s best to cater to a following that is genuinely interested in your brand and your brand’s social media.