Most Americans love football season for one reason or another. After all, what’s not to love? Whether NFL, college, fantasy or high school, football never fails to entertain.

Maybe it’s the rivalries and incredible talent that excite you, or maybe it’s the tailgate parties and chicken wings. Perhaps you just enjoy the fact that the start of football season holds the promise of cooler temperatures, crisper days, changing leaves and wearing your favorite pair of boots.

Whatever the case may be, in the spirit of the season, I want to apply a basic, foundational football concept to your legal PR and content initiatives – the playbook.

Planning Your Victory

I assure you that my intent is not to deprive you of the pure, unadulterated (i.e., non-work-related) pleasure that football provides, but simply to examine why a PR playbook might be your ticket to breakthrough. (As it turns out, there are a multitude of public relations lessons that we can pull from football. For example, see my colleague’s “Deflategate” blog.)

Generally speaking, a playbook is each individual player’s guide to victory. It is a compilation of strategic, calculated and ordered moves planned to outperform the opponent and score points. How does this relate to your law firm’s PR? I am proposing that you take this concept to draw your PR plays, specifically when it comes to generating content.

Driving Revenue

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the Legal Marketing Association’s Southeast Regional Conference in Atlanta. (Shout-out to this year’s conference planners for their hard work in planning such a fantastic event!) While each of the conference sessions I attended was valuable, my favorite was a panel led by Duane Morris Senior Media Relations Manager Joshua Peck, Poston Communications President Dave Poston, and Fisher & Phillips Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Sullivan.

Their panel, “Bringing It All Together Regarding Content,” addressed ways in which legal marketers and attorneys can more effectively develop, organize and repurpose their content to drive revenue. (Isn’t that our ultimate goal?) To do this, you need to have your PR playbook by your side.

Specifically when it comes to authoring byline articles for third-party publications, Mr. Peck said that he established guidelines to help attorneys pinpoint relevant article topics and generate valuable content for their readers. Some takeaways:

  • Find out what your readership and clients are worried about. If it’s nothing, as the expert, can you offer advice on what they should be worried about? If so, then you have your topic.
  • Try to share more than just theoretical situations. Instead, give anecdotal evidence and experience.
  • Keeping in mind that this is not a sales pitch, subtly allude to the fact that external services may be needed for their problems to be solved.
  • Offer action steps for a solution.

Revisiting Your Playbook

These guidelines might just be the perfect first installment for your PR playbook. The thought process that Mr. Peck presented is one that ensures the pieces you write will be meaningful, well-received and widely read. It will also allow you to present an authoritative and memorable glimpse of why clients and prospective clients should engage you for services.

As your practice grows, you will have increasingly more to share via vehicles such as a bylined article. Charting each piece in your PR playbook will enable you to look back at from where you have come and form a path for where you are going. It will help you to truly analyze and recreate those content wins. Now the only thing left to do is perfect your touchdown dance!

Have questions, comments or ideas about your own PR playbook? Don’t hesitate to contact Vivian Hood at