A large part of successful legal marketing is simply getting your name out into the public arena. From articles to speeches, it’s a great way to gain name-recognition as well as establish yourself as an expert in your field. In addition to your own commentary, working with the media to give expert analysis or commentary on timely new items can be a great way to further your name and reputation on a local, or even national, level. Getting in touch with media is easier than you might think; here we present our tips for making yourself available, and desirable, to reporters across the country.
If you’re serious about courting media inquiries, make your intent and contact information very clear. Consider a “Media Inquiries” button on your website that lists your areas of expertise and contact journalist contact list information. It can live on its own or even simply under a “News” or “Contact” button. Just having the invitation there will show journalists you’re interesting in helping them.
Most journalists (especially print and web) are under serious deadlines. Sometimes even returning a call the following day will find you too late…they often need to speak to sources within a few hours. Meaning: if you want to get your two cents in, you have to be available.
There’s nothing worse for a writer on a deadline than an interview that gets off track. Most journalists will have a specific set of questions for their sources that cover a specific angle to a story. If the item doesn’t have much to do with your area of expertise, be honest and let them know. If it works within your realm of knowledge be clear and concise, and always offer your email address for any follow-up.
There are plenty of ways to make yourself available to reporters looking for sources. Subscribing to Profnet or the SCG Legal PR Network for Attorneys are two options. For a fee you can join as an “expert source” and have reporters’ queries emailed to you. Categorized by article type, it’s an easy way to see whom reporters are looking to speak with and their contact information. For those who don’t want to pay a fee, free services like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) offer similar daily e-mails.
Once you’ve been quoted in a story let people know. Send the link to friends, colleagues and clients and post it on your website. The more people who know you’re willing to speak with the media, the more opportunities you’ll have to do it. If you’re easy to contact and give good quotes, trust me… reporters will come calling.
Overall, the main thing to remember is simply to be ready. Keep up on industry news and issues and practice explaining or commenting on them in ways that the public at large will understand. If you can break down a complex legal issue and relate it to something in the news… you’re well on your way to becoming a favorite source.