A PR campaign is essential if you’re looking to boost your brand’s visibility. But it can be tricky for marketers in complex industries like the legal industry to leverage PR successfully.
It can be tricky (and sometimes impossible) for law firms to get their names in the media or heard on podcasts—without it being tied to a case. And often, if a law firm’s press mention is tied to a case, the mention can actually work against the law firm—for instance, if the mention is tied to losing a case, representing a person or entity with a controversial reputation, or negotiating controversial deals. If reputation management is necessary, or if there are stigmas surrounding a firm’s clients, news outlets will likely pass on positive coverage opportunities in favor of more salacious stories.
You wouldn’t want a PR firm handling your legal affairs. In the same way, you wouldn’t want your law firm’s attorneys spearheading your PR campaigns—unless they are Elle Woods.
This guide will outline:
- The importance of PR for law firms, according to the data
- How to select PR opportunities that align with your brand
- How Positive PR can strengthen your firm website’s SEO
- Key PR strategies that resonate in the legal space
Of course, the world of public relations is vast and full of nuance based on the particular client, industry, and target audience. This guide will focus on the pros of PR in the legal space and what your company can do to increase awareness, establish credibility, build trust, and ultimately generate leads.
Why is PR for Law Firms Important?
1. PR improves search engine rankings and helps drive traffic to your website.
In the digital age, individuals looking to hire legal professionals do most of their research online. Those with easy-to-find websites have a significant advantage. Unfortunately, most small law firms don’t have a dedicated budget or staff for digital marketing and digital upkeep—and this can cause website rankings to drop, making it harder for prospective clients to find these firms.
According to research, organic search has the second-best conversion rate within the legal sector at 4.2%—so how do you make sure that prospective clients’ organic searching leads them to your website? Search engine optimization (SEO) is key, of course. This means identifying keywords and optimizing your website’s content to ensure that you rank for those keywords. But beyond traditional keyword strategies, PR helps improve search rankings. When industry publications and news outlets reference your firm, they will likely include backlinks to your website. Backlinks cite your domain as a source and directly lead readers to your website.
When backlinks are consistently used, your website’s search rank increases, backlinks are one of the top factors that affect Google’s page rankings, and they also help establish your firm as a credible source within the legal sector.
Here are some statistics that highlight the effectiveness of backlinks:
Keep in mind that not all backlinks are created equal. To improve SEO, backlinks need to be a part of high-quality pieces of content and relevant publications—which is why strong media relationships are key for Legal PR. We will discuss more of this later in the guide.
2. PR helps law firms show prospective clients what they’re capable of.
PR in other industries typically focuses on promoting a new product or service entering the market. Since law firms usually offer the same services year-round, this “news” angle is not practical.
Instead, legal PR is used to amplify successes and cultivate thought leadership. This can include getting media coverage on a case study that illustrates how your expert counsel helped a client win a case or broker a deal, or it can mean a podcast appearance where an attorney provides thoughtful advice to potential clients or other attorneys.
What do these press hits do? First, they create brand awareness—the more press hits you get, the more people will remember your firm’s name and even the names of your attorneys. Second, they build trust and credibility. When a reputable media source publishes a piece or includes a comment about or by a law firm, it signals to the public that this firm is trustworthy and credible. Third, it encourages prospects to visit your website. Anyone who comes across a great piece about how a law firm or particular attorney created great outcomes for their clients is likely to look into that firm first when they have a legal need.
3. PR for law firms can inform and reduce stigmas.
As a law firm, it is crucial to maintain a good reputation. But depending on the clients that you represent, it can be challenging to face negative perceptions about your brand’s core values. And if a prospect is uncertain about these values, they will take their business to a competitor.
These opposing viewpoints can occur when individuals don’t know much about a subject. PR can be used as an educational tool to inform the public about the products and ideas that firms are in support of or against. And it can be used to illustrate the nuances of practicing law and the responsibilities legal professionals hold in regard to their clientele.
Rather than ignoring “cancel culture,” it is a more effective marketing tactic to face it with transparency and positivity.
Related read: How PR Campaigns Can Change Negative Public Perceptions
How Do I Align a PR Campaign With My Law Firm’s Branding?
Now that we know how a PR campaign can help your law firm increase website traffic and establish trust and credibility, it is time to focus on your firm’s branding.
Before a PR campaign can move forward, your team needs to sit down and discuss just how you want to be perceived in the media. Let’s look at three things your team should address.
Three Things to Consider Before Launching a PR Campaign for Your Law Firm
1. Hone in on your values and mission statement.
In your kickoff call, your publicist will ask you about your firm’s core values and mission statement.
Your firm’s core values are the deeply held beliefs that drive your company forward. Your firm’s mission statement is a sentence or short paragraph that sums up these core values and how you aim to prioritize them. They are the backbone of your firm.
What functions does your firm fulfill in the legal sector? How do you help your clients? How does your work impact the industry at large? Once you’ve determined your values and mission statement, your PR agency will develop opportunities that align with your firm.
2. Determine what stories you want to tell.
This is a crucial step. Your PR team can take millions of angles when promoting your firm worldwide. The question is, what stories do you want to tell prospective and current clients?
These can include inspiring human interest pieces, client stories, or informative articles tackling various problems in your industry. For example, you could highlight an attorney’s journey to becoming a partner or provide thought leadership about practicing law in a particular industry or sector. Whatever you do, ensure that the stories you tell are engaging and align with your mission statement—the right PR manager will help you figure out the best angles.
3. Have Clear Goals In Mind
Lastly, you want to set clear goals before beginning any PR campaign. Here are some questions to ask yourself during this process:
- What goals do you have for this PR campaign?
- How will you measure success?
- How will meeting those goals help your law firm?
Jot down some of your expectations. Then, remember that PR campaigns are a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on your long-term goals and understand that results do not happen overnight.
PR Strategies for Law Firms To Try
The fun begins when you align your firm’s values with your PR goals. Then, you can collaborate with your PR team to share your services with the world in many ways.
1. Focus on evergreen content.
As we mentioned, law firms generally don’t have new services to promote. This is why you should focus on evergreen content that maintains relevancy for long periods.
Examples of evergreen content include how-to guides, resource lists, and best practices articles. Although they take a great deal of research and time, with linkbacks, they can boost your B2B SEO, funnel traffic to your website, and receive high engagement rates no matter when a reader finds the article.
2. Include a PR page on your website.
Make it easy for prospective clients to view all of your press hits by including a PR page on your website. This will boost your firm’s credibility, improve your SEO, and allow prospects to find all of your positive press in one place.
Your wins will be well-documented, which in turn, can increase conversions.
3. Reshare your good press on your social media.
Once you start receiving positive press, share it everywhere! Reshare quotes, audiograms, and links on social media. This is a great way to engage past or existing clients with your current work. It’s called amplification, which can help instill frequency bias in your prospects. (The more they see your business’s name, logo, and content, the more they will trust it.)
The American Bar Association reports that 35% of professional lawyers who use social media have increased their client base. In addition, 85% of professional lawyers say they use social media as an overall marketing strategy. Make sure to tap into these resources to make the most of your campaign.
Ready to take your law firm to the next level? Let’s talk about working together on a PR campaign.