When it comes to law firm reputation management, having an attorney quoted in breaking news coverage can provide a real boost. These are high-profile placements that offer national – even international – exposure.

Breaking news opportunities do not just fall out of the sky, however, and require just as much attention as any other element of a comprehensive law firm PR strategy.

Here are five ways to capitalize on breaking news.

  1. Know your attorneys. This is crucial. If you haven’t been speaking regularly with your attorneys to understand the work they do, the industries they serve and what they can discuss with media, you are likely to miss out on some great breaking news opportunities. When a story breaks, if you can quickly identify an attorney who would be a perfect fit for coverage, you are well ahead.
  2. Pitch selectively. The window for pitching during breaking news is small. You only have so much time to get your attorney in front of reporters who may be covering the news, so it pays to be smart and selective. Do a quick Google News search to see who’s filed stories already, and pitch those reporters first. They will likely be from wire services and the websites of national news outlets, and should want to update their stories as new details emerge. If so, there is the opportunity for them to interview and include your attorney’s quotes in an update.
  3. Provide added value. Covering breaking news is stressful and reporters have limited mental bandwidth to deal with source pitches that are not immediately helpful. This is where you can distance your source from all the other pitches flooding in. By ensuring you’re adding to the value of the reporter’s story, you are more likely to snag an interview. Emphasize in your pitch how your source will add to the story and what perspective your source brings to it. In other words, be a help to the reporter in making his or her story better.
  4. Know when to move on. At some point, reporters are not going to update their stories any longer and any further pitching will just annoy them. When this happens, shift gears and look to what might be the story tomorrow, or next week, and begin revising your pitch to “sell” your source another day. If you’re adding value to ongoing coverage, reporters are more likely to respond.
  5. Post clips on your law firm website. Breaking news makes for really good SEO, so ensure you get clips on your website as soon as reporters publish their stories.

Following these steps will help you capitalize on the next round of breaking news – and boost your law firm public reputation. Have a look at this case study to see how we have put these tips to good use.