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Don’t Forget This One Key Audience When Writing a Press Release

The press release has gone through quite an evolution over the past decade or so. Before the age of the internet, the press release was generally only seen by the press. Companies and their PR agencies would distribute the announcement and hope that it was compelling enough to warrant a story.

Today, the release plays a more dynamic role. The disruption of the web has splintered press releases into a variety of formats to serve different audiences and different purposes, including journalists, customers and industry analysts. Social media and company websites allow for direct communication and interaction with customers.

But there is one additional “audience” that should not be forgotten – search engine spiders, or web crawlers. These automated bots constantly scour the Web for content, and their findings are used to determine which websites are shown when an individual conducts a search using various keywords. If you anticipate that your press release will be posted anywhere online – on your website, through a newswire, or any media outlet with an online presence, then it’s important to consider the language used from a search engine’s perspective. Integrating key words, phrases and embedded links optimize their “findability” and rank within traditional search engines such as Google or Yahoo. In this case, the greatest targets for SEO releases are actually customers, not journalists. Many say that if you’re not on the first two pages of search results, then your company is losing the battle for online mindshare.

When drafting the release, ensure that your top keywords are included towards the front of the release, especially in the headline, subhead and boilerplate. Choose up to three words and repeat through the release – especially in the boilerplate. Search engines seem to pay more attention to the natural bolded words as well as the repeated words toward the top of press releases (first half).

It’s also extremely helpful to use those keywords as anchor text to link back to strategic landing pages on your Website, ensure that those pages are also keyword optimized as well. It’s important not to overuse each word or over link.

Also, be sure to include industry and product names and categories in place of generic descriptors such as, “the product,” “the solution,” and “the company,” throughout the release, without ruining the flow.

Press releases are a mainstay for public relations campaigns. By keeping search engine crawlers in mind when crafting the language within them, releases can continue to provide benefits for a long time.

5 Mistakes Law Firms Make When Advertising Online

When it comes to Google Advertising, the competition is big and the pressure for results is high. Law firms can spend anywhere from $10 to over $500 per click so the key is to focus your marketing dollars in the areas closely aligned with your expertise and with the highest profits. Let’s go over the major mistakes most law firms are making with Google Advertising:

Unfocused Campaign and Keyword Strategy. Most law firms would say that their practice area covers a little bit of everything. However, trying to advertise that on Google when your marketing budget is limited won’t work. Clicks are too expensive and you will end up spreading your budget too thin to excel in any specific area. The first step to avoid this mistake is answering the question: What types of cases produce the most revenue for your firm? Or, what area of practice would you like to expand this year? Stick to effective advertising in one or two areas of practice before trying to expand too quickly. Furthermore, it is important to target keywords that show “buying” intent. The more general the keyword, the less buying intent you can assume.

Not Writing Effective Ad Copy. The biggest mistake law firms make when writing ads is not writing to be noticed. The worst ad is the one people skim right by while clicking on the competitor. Here are some tips to stand out:

  • Include parentheses and brackets in your headlines.
  • Include numbers.
  • Mention specific offers or discounts.
  • Add dollar signs or registered trademarks.
  • Include part of a testimonial or quotation.
  • Focus on a stronger call to action than your competitors.
  • Include the keyword in your ad Headline and in the Display URL to reinforce the message.
  • Keep your ads local and individualized to target specific cities.
  • Don’t focus on how great you are but tell the potential client how you will help them.

Not Having Consistent and Compelling Landing Pages. A compelling ad is what gets your potential client in the door. Then, the first thing the user sees after clicking an ad is your landing page, and it will be the first real impression they will have of your practice. Many law firms link their ads to their website homepages, but did the user search for everything you have to offer? No! They searched for a specific service they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time looking at all the other services. Here are some techniques for making sure your landing pages are designed to convert visitors into clients:

  • Focus on the benefits you provide clients.
  • Have a strong headline that demonstrates your value immediately.
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors and explain clearly why you are the best option.
  • Include social proof and let happy clients speak for you.
  • Make it easy to contact you and provide short and quick forms.

Not Tracking Leads Through to Actual Cases. Your law firm should know how many of your clients came from a Google ad click and how much revenue your Paid search accounted for. This information is absolutely critical to making optimizations that make a difference, but most law firms can’t answer those questions.

Not Testing for Viability and Optimizing for Profitability. Law firms often want to start by bidding on a wide range of keywords with low bids so they can learn which areas are profitable before committing more budget. However, this approach can actually ensure that no specific keywords get enough traffic to learn anything useful so firms conclude that advertising doesn’t work for them and give up. The best way is testing for viability and then optimizing for profitability. Focus on a very small core of keywords to begin with and bid for the top spot on the search results page. It will allow you to quickly test whether or not a keyword can actually produce the types of leads you want for your practice.

If your law firm doesn’t make those mistakes and follows this advice, your Google AdWords campaigns will likely produce more quality leads than your competition for less money!

9 Components to Master Before Crafting Your Next PR Plan

Every PR campaign relies on a clear and attainable PR plan. Having a concise outlook on what your team will do is the key to an effective campaign. Here are 9 crucial elements to consider for your next PR plan:


  1. Objective


What is the ultimate goal of your public relations campaign?

Clear objectives help set up and guide the rest of the PR plan to your final goal.


  1. Goals and measurement


What do you want to achieve, and what will success look like?


Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Don’t let measurement be an afterthought. Measurement should be defined at the outset and tracked throughout a campaign to gauge performance.


  1. Publics or audience


What target audience do you want to influence?

The key to good PR practice is defining your public as robustly as possible. This may be based on behavior, location or a demographic. Having a clear audience in mind allows for more effective and relevant messaging.


  1. Research


This may sound like a given, but take the time to research the audiences you wish to reach.



  1. Insights


Your research should reveal insights that drive your strategy. Let the data shape your content ideas.


  1. Strategy


Your strategy statement should clearly and concisely summarize how you plan to achieve your goals.


  1. Creative


What content will your audience clamor for? It’s all about what they want.


  1. Channels


Modern PR campaigns must work across an array of platforms and channels. Earned or owned media content typically leads the way, with paid distribution and social media efforts used as a means of amplification and engagement.



  1. Calendar


Make sure to craft a detailed content calendar that schedules campaigns, channels and timelines.

What makes for an ideal pitch?

When it comes to pitching, there are certain circumstances that create the most favorable conditions for eventual media exposure. Public relation professionals pitch journalists with suggestions for stories on behalf of their clients and it is crucial that they secure and arrange the right opportunity. However, not all pitches are created equal and there are some specific factors that make an ideal pitch:

Business Relevance. The most vital step in any media relations program is to consider what kinds of coverage make the most sense from a business perspective. If you want to sell more widgets, focus on the media whose audience may be interested in those widgets.

Current Events. Make sure your pitch addresses a current event. News, by definition, is the reporting of a recent event and journalists need sources to comment on them. The more you can match the needs of your source to the needs of the journalist, the better it is for everyone. Provide a source for commentary and the chances you are going to be heard are a lot higher!

Source Expertise. Take a moment to consider whether the topic you are pitching aligns with the expertise of your spokesperson. It may seem obvious but sometimes PR people get a little too excited with the media relations before doing due diligence with the source and that`s a mistake. The last thing you want is to have the source decline an interview you got with a journalist because they are not familiar with the subject. Make sure your clients have been following the subject and could speak about it with authority.

Timeliness. What is hot today will be old news by tomorrow. The world of public relations revolves rapidly and media deadlines are short, so timely outreach is vital. PR professionals have to pay close to attention to what is makings news and to what is likely to be making news in the near future. Also, keep in mind that journalists don’t wait so make sure that your spokespeople are available and ready.

Legal Services: Commodity or Brand?

Are your legal services viewed as a commodity or a brand? Law firms are struggling with price pressures from customers and prospects, yet few law firms actively and comprehensively market their services in a branded way.

What is a commodity? It is a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors such as brand name.

What does it mean to be a brand? Branded product marketing communicates higher quality, greater overall satisfaction and the higher likelihood that the product will meet the customer`s specific needs. In the case of branded services, the customer service dimension, including a satisfaction guarantee, is highlighted along with the promised end result.

How are legal services becoming commoditized?

·         There are too many attorneys and whenever there is a wide availability of a service, that service risks becoming a commodity.

·         Many attorneys are using low prices as a weapon to gain market share, which drives their margins down in order to increase their client base.

·         Most people don’t know enough about law to distinguish high quality services so they often focus on low price as their number one factor in choosing an attorney.

How to avoid becoming a commodity?

·         Establish a near-perfect track record of quality and success. What percent of cases that you handle are successful?

·         Improve your processes to increase speed and accuracy.

·         Take time and energy to give clients the attention they need.

·         Create high quality marketing messages.

Law firms that seek to build market share and pricing power should develop a branded marketing strategy and communicate their brand promise in a consistent, comprehensive way. Branded product and service marketing are the key differentiators that make a product or service unique.

If legal services become a commodity, it could harm your law firm`s profitability. You will see price wars, lower margins and higher difficulty in establishing differentiation and brand image.


Are Marketing and PR the same thing?

The answer is no. But they need each other. Although they share similar methods and tactics, at their cores, public relations and marketing have different goals. Let’s break it down:

The goal of PR.

The desired outcome of a PR professional is a trusted relationship with his audience. Public Relations main goal is to create awareness and trust by communicating with audiences, directly or through intermediaries such as the media.

The goal of marketing.

The job of a marketer is to stimulate demand in an audience by triggering a response, a need, then directing that need to products and services. The desired outcome here is an interested buyer.

Why Marketing and PR aren’t the same thing?

The methods and tools used by both is very similar, if not the same. However, there a few differences. A PR professional uses the media to create awareness and the social media to communicate with audiences. The publications provide information to audiences and advertising drive awareness to content. PR professionals use trusted third parties like publications to create social proof and trust in the company and its products and services.

On the other hand, a marketer uses the media to generate demand and the social media to trigger need, pose questions and to highlight implicit problems audiences have that the company will solve. Marketers use advertising to reach audiences that are hard to reach organically, but with a different purpose other than awareness: demand generation.

Why marketing and PR need each other?

Awareness needs demand and demand needs awareness. Let’s put it that way:

Demand without awareness and trust is like having a coffee shop that customers can’t find, and awareness without demand is like having a coffee shop that customers never visit. Combined, marketing and PR encourage people to tell each other about the coffee ship, trust that the coffee is good, come to it and buy something from it.

They are not the same thing, but they need each other.