Sure, working with the media on your legal case may not be a top priority, but it can be a very effective tool for your settlement strategy, as well as a great way to market your firm.
When it comes to law firms and the media, there are many do’s and don’ts. Now, let’s get the biggest don’t out of the way…don’t avoid the media. Don’t avoid the media because the media plays a pivotal role in getting the story out to the public, setting the record straight, and placing pressure on the opposing counsel.
Working with the media on a legal case is one of the best strategic moves a law firm can commit to. Below is a list of tips and strategies to garner your legal case more media coverage:
Press releases are one of the biggest tools a law firm can pitch to the media. In 2020, a press release is one of the most cost-efficient tools in pitching a legal case, or any story for that matter, to the media. It’s efficient, especially if your law firm is located outside of major cities where news publications are limited in terms of availability, due to a lack of reporters and copywriters. So, having a concise one-page press release to email to various local and regional media outlets and news publications in your area is key in maximizing coverage. Make sure your press release is accompanied by a photo and a video (if available). Providing a visual image to the media increases the probability of news coverage. Why? Because their limited team does not have to perform all the leg-work and now it’s a complete packaged story. One tip worth mentioning is to pitch the press release in the morning, at the beginning of the week.
“Over 61 percent of reporters prefer pitches in the morning. Being at the top of anyone’s inbox first thing in the morning drastically increases the chances of getting read and possible action taken.”
Search Engine Journal
Conducting and offering the media interviews is a great way to gain coverage for your legal case. This route may seem slightly nerve-wracking, but it’s beneficial, just like a press release, because you control the narrative. One-on-one interviews are often interpreted as more sincere in the eyes of the media and in the eyes of the public, due to having the ability to putting a face to the name. Do not rely on the public to request an interview from you or your client, because you may be waiting…forever. Being proactive and pitching stories to the media, regarding your latest legal cases, and offering an interview, will enhance the interest of the media. Once landing that interview, to steer clear of any uncertainty, ask your communications or public relations team to request questions from the journalist or reporter before the interview; to ensure you and your client have time to prepare talking points and mitigate any issues.
Providing exclusives to larger media and news publications is one way to secure coverage for your legal case. Still, you want to pitch your press release and photo to the smaller news publications. But, offer the larger media groups and news publications something special, an exclusive item to publish. For example, maybe you have attained multiple photos and one video for your legal case…this provides an opportunity for your team to distribute the photos to the news publications, but offer the larger broadcast media outlet(s) or news publications the “exclusive” video and/or the exclusive interview. Many journalists want to be the one to break the story to the public, just make sure you are pitching your case to the media outlet with the audience that best suits your objective.
Build Rapport with Journalists and Media Figures
Building rapport with journalists is a pivotal role in securing media coverage for your legal cases. Let’s start here, forge a sincere relationship with the media before you need them, not when you need them. By creating a personal relationship with members of the media, it will prove to them that you and your team are genuine and not just using them to your advantage. Some ways to connect with journalists and media figures is by following them on social media, introducing yourself through an email, or connect with them at a public event.
“Strive to make a personal connection with every writer that you pitch. 64% of writers think it is of some importance that you establish a personal connection before pitching. Use Twitter as a platform to socialize with your prospects weeks prior to the pitch. Engage in blog posts. Dig deeper than just “hey great post I really liked it.” Write them a friendly email if you’ve noticed an error or a typo to engage in conversation.”