We invite you to read our weekly Public Reputation tips which integrate various marketing disciplines including media relations, marketing strategy, creative focus and web/technology/2.0. Please send us your comments or questions and join our conversation.
Public Reputation Tip of the Week
Public Reputation Management Tip for May 22, 2013
Using pocket or cellphone cameras for legal marketing and law firm PR purposes is a great way to share current, authentic and credible visuals. These devices are perfect because they are always with us, easy to handle, and not as invasive and intimidating as professional camera equipment. The hardest thing is to remember to use your pocket or cellphone camera when the photo opportunity presents itself, but taking good photos isn’t as hard as many of us think. Here are a few things to remember to improve the quality of pictures.
1. Plan your shots, if possible.
Think about what it is that you want to capture and how it will best be communicated to your audience. If you are “shooting on the fly” or capturing breaking news, focus on how you will use the photos, the audience and the story you want to tell.
2. If using a smartphone, hold it as you would a camera.
Hold the camera with both hands in front of you and look through the screen at the scene you want to capture, rather than looking past the phone at the subject. This will prevent odd angles and improve the photo’s composition.
3. Avoid the zoom option; use your feet instead.
If you want to take a close-up photo, actually walk up to the subject – get as close as possible. With a tiny bit of zooming, your smartphone camera loses quality and the photo will look grainy. If you need to zoom in on an image, use a photo program such as iPhoto or Photoshop on your downloaded image.
4. Take several shots.
The great thing about digital photography is it allows for many attempts and a lot of mistakes. It is well worth it to have options, so feel free to take lots of shots. Move around and get shots in different angles. Frame your photo subjects in interesting ways and avoid centering everything. Once you see the image you like best, you can save the others for future use, or just delete them.
5. Watch the lighting.
The lower the light, the more grainy the photo will be. Keep the light behind you and be sure your subject is well-lit. Don’t shoot subjects in front of a window, as the light behind the subject will create a dark silhouette. Use natural light to highlight your subject by positioning yourself so the light source is behind the camera and shining on the subject.
6. Check the resolution and picture quality settings – and set them on high.
Settings for digital and cellphone cameras can be confusing. When you first purchase the camera, ask for guidance on finding the highest-quality settings. You can always reduce the quality or size of an image, but you usually can’t increase it and still have an image look good.
7. Keep the camera still.
To keep the camera still, find something to lean your arm/hand/camera on – this makes a big difference and helps reduce camera shake. Keep your hand there for a second after you take the photo, in case your phone has a shutter lag. Use a tripod when possible.
8. Use HDR.
This may seem counterintuitive, but using the built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode on a smartphone camera can actually help you take better macro shots. HDR works by taking multiple images and combining them through software processing to level out the highlights and lowlights in pictures. When used properly, it can often create sharper images.
Public Reputation Management Tip for May 15, 2013
Summer is around the corner and that can be a good time to optimize your public relations program. Historically, the summer months are a slow time for the news media, especially late July and August. During this time, the news media, particularly local outlets, are in need of news stories. Just like attorneys, educators and other folks, many journalists and media professionals take vacations during this time, but it still presents an opportunity to generate some additional media coverage for your firm, as well as build relationships with key journalists.
Here are several action items that will help you take advantage of the traditionally slow summer news cycle.
Pick up the phone – Make it a point to call two or three journalists and find out what stories they are working on or planning. This is a good time to let them know what your firm may have lined up for the near future – expansion, new hires, new practice area, etc. You will also be top-of-mind if there is a breaking news story and the media is looking for a legal source in one of your firm’s key practice areas.
Make a lunch date – Invite a local legal or business reporter to lunch or for coffee. This is an excellent way to build a relationship. Don’t worry if you don’t have a topic or story idea to pitch. It may work to your advantage if the reporter doesn’t feel pressured to listen to your story pitch.
Pitch soft news stories – Like the holidays, late summer is a good time to pitch soft news stories. Perhaps your firm is doing some charitable outreach that would make a good photo opportunity. If you have nothing scheduled, plan something. One firm hosted a “Dog Days” of summer luncheon for its employees and clients, and invited them to bring their dogs. This generated local print and broadcast coverage for the firm and boosted employee morale at the same time.
The summer will be over before you know it and the crush of the holidays will quickly be upon us, so use the season to your advantage.
Public Reputation Management Tip for May 8, 2013
The writing has been on the wall for awhile now. Newspapers ceasing their print publications in favor of online only. Reporters taking over multiple beats, and expected to churn out more stories than ever. It was only a matter of time before scandals appeared involving fake bylines, outsourced reporters and shoddy journalism.
Last year, the Chicago Tribune came under fire for its use of local news subcontractor Journatic, which hired lower-cost writers overseas to write local news stories published in print and online by major U.S. newspapers under fake bylines. When one of Journatic’s writers was discovered plagiarizing and fabricating information for a story, the provider was suspended.
Most recently, a Thomson Reuters publication, Australasian Legal Business, was found to be using a fake byline, Michelle Boatley, to make the publication seem bigger than it really is and prevent multiple bylines appearing too many times in the publication. According to the article, when people tried to email the reporter for corrections or other tips, their emails bounced back, so the editors decided to extend the ruse further by setting up a fake email address and fake Facebook page for “Boatley.”
While the media industry faces severe backlash for its ethical lapses and lax standards when it comes to what counts as reporting, this actually provides an opportunity for law firms and attorneys to help reporters report better. Here are some tips to get started.
Educate and be a good resource to reporters – Many reporters taking on a new beat are young and unfamiliar with their new territory and the names and faces operating in it. Attorneys can and should reach out and ask what the reporter’s beat will focus on, and offer to chat with reporters about their work and the hot issues being debated in that industry. Reporters appreciate hearing the attorney’s “insider perspective” and will keep coming back to the attorney for stories they are working on.
A good tip is worth a thousand words – Attorneys are typically aware of upcoming regulatory deadlines, a major court decision coming down or other time-sensitive news that will affect their clients. Reporters are often unaware of such news, or may not know about its long-term impact. Alerting a reporter you are friendly with (or want to get to know) about the news is a great way to build rapport and position yourself as a source on that topic at the same time. Reporters are always searching for good story ideas and this is a great way to bring the ideas to them.
Offer to write – More and more publications are featuring columns by guests or experts, in lieu of additional feature reporting. Why? Because it is often easier to ask an expert to write something than to spend time and resources on having a reporter research and write on the same issue. Plus, readers love to hear from experts – it gives the piece added credibility. If a reporter is interested in a topic you have proposed but doesn’t have the time to spend on it, offer to write a column about it. Having your name on the byline of a complex article not only enhances your visibility, but also helps add credibility to the publication.
To learn more, contact Michelle Samuels at 917-975-1280 or email@example.com.
Public Reputation Management Tip for May 1, 2013
The world watched in horror on Monday, April 15 as two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Then, later that same week, a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas. Finally, a manhunt for the alleged Boston Marathon bombers resulted in gun battles in the street, the death of an MIT campus police officer, and a city on lockdown.
During times of such tragedy, it is often difficult to think about day-to-day law firm social media activities, and this can lead to serious problems. If you are responsible for any kind of law firm social media management, this is a 24/7 job and you must be alert, especially during times of national or international tragedy.
If you don’t, you’ll end up like Epicurious.com, which sparked instant outrage with inappropriate tweets after the Boston Marathon bombs went off.
Here are some tips to prevent problems on social media during tragic events:
- Turn off automation: If you use any kind of automation service for your law firm social media, disable it immediately. This will prevent your accounts from sending out scheduled posts that, in the context of current events, could be seen as inappropriate.
- Suspend normal social media posting: It is best to suspend any kind of routine posting to social media during times of tragedy. Your posts will not receive any attention anyway as everyone will be focused on coverage of the unfolding events. You also risk looking insensitive if you post about what will seem as trivial things during a time of national or international crisis. Of course, if your law firm, attorneys or staff are directly affected by the crisis, then you should be making use of social media to get information out.
- If you do post, think twice: Review any post you make to social media to ensure there is no possible way it could be misread or misinterpreted as being insensitive. Similar to what you would do during a crisis at your firm, you should run any post by senior firm management and communications staff or consultants, just to be safe. This goes for messages of condolence or sympathy, which are appropriate, but should be thoroughly vetted.
- Do not, in any way, capitalize on the tragedy: It may seem perfectly fine to tweet something that you think will be supportive of people going through the current tragedy. Don’t. Just don’t. It is very likely that anything you do will be perceived as an insensitive attempt to capitalize on the situation. Whatever business gains you might make will be zeroed out by the hit to your law firm’s public image.
- Wait to resume normal social media activity: Be sure to leave enough time between the tragic events and a return to normal social media posting. When in doubt, wait longer.
Following these common-sense tips should help you avoid any law firm social media mistakes during times of tragedy.
Public Reputation Management Tip for April 24, 2013
Every savvy legal marketer knows that Google AdWords is the undisputed ruler of SEO keyword tools. After all, no other platform provides such detailed insights into Internet-user behavior at such an affordable cost – that cost being nothing, since the service is free.
But many marketers overlook the existence of another powerful, no-cost keyword tool: Google Trends.
In a nutshell, Google Trends lets users analyze and compare the popularity of self-selected keywords and keyphrases over a specified period of time. It ranks search interest using a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 represents the height of a term’s popularity. Results can be restricted to user-selected geographies (worldwide, country, state and city); search type (Web, image, news, product and YouTube); and countless topical categories and subcategories.
The following are just some of the ways legal marketers can use Google Trends to enhance their marketing efforts:
- Keyphrase audit: If you have created a list of keywords in the past, consider using Google Trends to audit this list to gauge current popularity. Topics and terms fall in and out of favor all the time, and Google Trends can help ensure your list will get you the results you desire.
- Geography-specific terms: Does your firm have offices across the country? If so, you might want to test out the popularity of certain terms by region and develop geography-specific lists. You can then incorporate these terms into content such as attorney bios, basing the phrases used on the office where each attorney is based.
- Keyword comparisons: What do you call your partners and associates – do you refer to them as attorneys or lawyers? By doing a comparison on Google Trends, I can see that “attorney” is by far the preferred term by Internet users, and that Texans dominate in their use of the search term “attorney,” while New Yorkers lead in searching for the term “lawyer.” These kinds of insights greatly help inform your keyword strategy.
If you would like to learn more about Google Trends, Google AdWords and SEO, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Reputation Management Tip for April 17, 2013
In the aftermath of this month’s Legal Administrators and Legal Marketing Association annual conferences, you may be thinking about how best to manage and act upon the information and contacts you gathered from the events. There’s great value in not just the onsite experience, but also the insights and knowledge you can apply to your daily work. You also want to claim a solid return on your investment of time and money to attend the event.
Since time has a way of clouding one’s memory, consider some common-sense strategies for recalling, organizing and benefiting from that treasure-trove of information. And with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALM) annual conference and exhibition coming up next week, now is a good time to think in advance about how to manage your intake from the next event even better.
Review notes and handouts promptly – How often do we leave a conference or meeting and neglect to organize our notes until weeks, maybe months later? It usually happens when we face a new challenge and recall, “Oh, yeah, I remember that was covered at the event.” Within the first week after an event, review your handwritten notes or scribbles on paper, business cards, napkins or anywhere you thought to note something you wanted to remember. Take time to peruse all of the handouts and brochures you received from presenters or exhibitors. You’re likely to find more valuable information there that didn’t get broadcast to a live audience.
Break it down to key takeaways – Don’t get lost in all of the detail from presentations when a key nugget or takeaway might be all you need. Consider using the conference brochure to jog your memory. The event/organizer’s website also can be a great source for retrieving information, sometimes including complete text from presentations. You also can usually get copies of presentation slides or other handouts by directly emailing presenters. If you have colleagues who also attended, share observations and key thoughts.
Get busy with business cards – Even in this age of smart phones and social media, industry conferences are still the place for exchanging business cards. Some conference pros suggest grouping these into two groups – one for those secondary contacts to add to your address book and the other for those you want to reach out to right away. Digital scanning equipment and software, including phone apps, can help store and manage these. If you told anyone you will be in touch, make sure you do it. You may want to jump-start a dialog by inviting them to connect via LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter. Even a quick email makes a great first follow-up.
Share what you learned – Whether it’s to one colleague or an entire company of co-workers, chances are others will benefit from your takeaways and experiences. Sharing also further validates the resources you expended to attend the event.
Take action – The information and insights gained are only useful if put into action. Make a conscious effort to apply what you learned.
For more information, contact Randy Labuzinski at email@example.com or 773-405-7583.
Public Reputation Management Tip for April 10, 2013
Even an apparently routine event can generate impressive coverage and recognition. Young Conaway and Jaffe PR learned that valuable lesson in winning this year’s Legal Marketing Association (LMA) “Your Honor Award” in the Promotional/Collateral Materials Announcement category, presented at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 10, during the 2013 LMA annual conference.
Delaware-based Young Conaway contacted Jaffe PR regarding a planned relocation from its traditional office building to the iconic courthouse on Rodney Square in the heart of Wilmington’s historic district. The law firm was in the process of transforming the nearly 100-year-old historic structure and wanted to share their story of creating a state-of-the-art, client service-oriented space while retaining the historical value of the structure.
Although law firm relocations are routine, Young Conaway wanted to compellingly convey its message of superior client service and commitment to Wilmington’s restoration in a significant way.
The Jaffe team created an eye-catching press packet, which included a retro View-Master viewer and picture wheel with photos of the ongoing renovation and futuristic images of the finished space. A media alert invited reporters to a press tour, a press release provided basic information and a backgrounder provided further details needed to write a story.
A line drawing was the basis for an Etch-A-Sketch artist to create a time-lapse video that depicted the artist drawing the new space on the Etch-A-Sketch. This video was incorporated into an e-vite to clients, prospects and other local dignitaries for a reception unveiling Young Conaway’s new home. Finally, during the renovation of the space, a video camera captured months of ongoing construction in coverage that can be edited into a time-lapse movie showcasing the evolution of the space.
As result of this effort, Jaffe PR secured coverage in more than 241 legal, business and architectural news media outlets, including national coverage in Reuters and MarketWatch and local coverage on the Fox News and NBC television affiliates, and a feature story in Delaware Today, Delaware Business and Delaware Law Weekly. A reporter from the Wall Street Journal traveled from New York to see the space and meet key attorneys to develop them as sources for commentary.
To learn more, read our case study or contact:
Terry M. Isner
Managing Director, Creative/Marketing/Business Development
Senior Vice President, Public Reputation Services
Public Reputation Management Tip for April 3, 2013
We are huge sports fans. My kids learned the “DaDaDa, DaDaDa” of the Sports Center theme song long before they could tell you how to get to Sesame Street. If you’re like us, you love the game, but you appreciate the post-game wrap-up just as much, and the analysis often continues over breakfast the next morning and into the office later that day.
If you have recently presented at an important industry conference, or if you just attended, a good way to position yourself as someone “in the know” is to take a page from the sportscaster’s playbook and provide a post-game wrap report. The conference is your big dance. Here are a few tips on how to leverage the event and keep your audience of clients, potential clients and referral sources from changing the channel:
- Snag the attendee list from conference organizers. One of the biggest missed opportunities is not continuing to network after the event. Be sure to connect with attendees via social media or drop them email messages thanking them for attending. Include useful information, such as the Top 3 takeaways from the presentation, or the presentation itself.
- Update your bio! If the last update to your bio was from 2010, you are becoming irrelevant. If you were a presenter, update your bio before the event. If you were an attendee, draft a client alert on the compelling points discussed during the event and include that link in your online bio.
- Work with your PR team to develop a pitch positioning you as a source for commentary with the news media on the critical issues discussed during the event. Savvy PR experts will also turn that same topic into a bylined article opportunity.
While these tips offer a good start on a post-conference “to do” list, feel free to contact me to learn more about how Jaffe PR can take your marketing efforts to championship levels.
Kathy O’Brien, a finalist for the 2013 Legal Marketing Association’s Your Honor Award, is a senior vice president at Jaffe PR and can be reached at 203-268-1315 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also connect with Kathy on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Public Reputation Management Tip for March 27, 2013
I was on a sales training call with a colleague last week, discussing recent networking opportunities and leads for Jaffe PR. She commented on how “lucky” she was to “find” herself sitting at a table of potential clients conferring about media relations (her area of expertise). It would be kismet if she actually stumbled upon the opportunity. But I do not think that was the case.
As I pointed out, she spent the past year honing her network, becoming more calculated about each opportunity, and doing the pre- and post-event activities necessary for building enhanced strategic networking opportunities that may potentially lead to new business. Being at that table was no lucky accident.
That’s a perfect segue to the promo – “Jaffe PR to host a game of skill at the upcoming LMA and ALA annual conferences.”
Jaffe PR will be testing the wits of LMA and ALA Annual Conference attendees with a game of skill (and a little luck). Those who prove themselves to be the best of the best will be rewarded with prizes, including an iPad or Kindle Fire. Get a leg up on the competition – study the rules of the game here.
Rules of the game
- Goal: Use your strategy, and a little luck, to win as many chips as you can. The attendees with the most chips at the end of the event will win big.
- Prizes: iPads, Kindle Fires and more.
How to win chips
1. Engage, discuss and strategize:
- Visit the Jaffe PR booth (#422 at LMA or #344 at ALA) and talk to our consultants about content marketing, website development, PR or other marketing strategies – earn 1 chip.
- Fill out a short survey at the Jaffe PR booth and earn 5 chips.
- Follow us @JaffePR and answer trivia questions throughout the day to earn 2 chips.
- Sign up for our weekly Newsstand e-mail and earn 3 chips.
2. Take a risk:
- Are you willing to take a risk for a big reward? Spin the prize wheel and take your chance at winning more chips.
- Cash out for another chance to win.
- Turn in your chips at the Jaffe booth by noon on the last day of the conference. The top three chip holders will be announced at 1 p.m. You do not need to be present to win.
So, that’s it … visit the Jaffe PR booth, engage in the game and maybe win a great prize. Or is there more?
How about strategizing with your friends and colleagues to acquire more chips? How about engaging in purposeful networking and getting chips from those who have a few, but do not want to continue participating in the game? How about challenging a few friends and colleagues to a game of your own where the winner takes all chips?
The point is that winning this game is not just luck (we are not drawing a business card from a bowl) – it’s strategy. You can win the big prizes by strategizing!
We hope to connect with you at the LMA and ALA conferences. If you have any questions regarding the strategy game or how we can help you with your business strategy outside these events, please contact:
Sue Remley at email@example.com or 804-304-2894
Public Reputation Management Tip for March 20, 2013
Let me cut to the chase: The answer is yes, there is ample room for PR within content marketing. In fact, PR is an essential element of any integrated marketing initiative.
That said, the role of a publicist is in a state of flux, especially as brands have begun to leverage low-cost technologies like blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn to become their own content creators and distributors.
The following are just some of the ways in which you can work with your publicist to get the most out of your relationship.
- Repurpose impressions: Strategic publicists know that securing an impression is merely step one. The real traction comes when you find ways to reuse that impression, e.g., firm-branded blogs, newsletters, social media, etc.
- Manage social media accounts: Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are the largest publishing platforms in existence, each with its own built-in audience of millions of users. A savvy publicist will be able to consult you on how to capitalize on social media.
- Become a Twitter expert: Practically every publication, editor and reporter has an active Twitter handle. In fact, by actively seeking out relevant media feeds, your publicist can get instant insight into what the outlet is covering while directly engaging with contacts through retweets and Tweet @s.
- Understand SEO strategy: Backlinks – links from authoritative websites that point people to your site – can enhance your SEO profile. Your publicist can help identify strategic backlink opportunities, such as bylined articles and guest posts.
- Get traditional media impressions: Established media outlets have two things going for them that many new media sites do not: credibility and circulation. Few can compete with the cachet of credibility established by the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
If you’re interested in marrying PR with content marketing, contact Keith Ecker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-289-3558.
- 1 of 17
- About Jaffe PR
- Law Firm Public Relations Services
- Law Firm Media Relations
- Business Development & Legal Marketing Services
- Legal Marketing Strategy & Planning
- Law Firm Rankings/Lawyer Ratings (RFL)
- Law Firm Marketing Research
- Law Firm Merger Planning & Support
- Law Firm Branding & Positioning
- Legal Marketing Training & Business Development Coaching
- On-site Law Firm Workshops & Attorney Retreats
- Hybrid Legal Marketing Department
- Website Audit
- Law Firm Creative Services
- Digital Media & e-Marketing
- Law Firm Specialty Services
- Our Work
- Industry Insight