Which publication would you prefer to see your law firm mentioned in – The Sunday Times or The Surrey Advertiser? The Daily Express or the Macclesfield Express? Most law firms would automatically opt for the national newspaper – and of course, getting press coverage in these sorts of media is great. However, there are many occasions when featuring a news story or an interesting article in the local press, on the local radio and on regional news websites can be just as powerful – if not more so.
Why choose local media for your law firm’s press release?
It’s not just the fact that it’s more difficult and time-consuming getting into the national press; it also may not be the ideal vehicle for your firm’s PR.
Think about where your potential clients come from. If you are a law firm based in Milton Keynes, your clients are high unlikely to come from Manchester. They will be drawn from a small radius around your practice – probably no more than 10-15 miles away. So, why waste all that time and energy trying to get published in the national media when you have an audience that is far more likely to be interested in your services, on your doorstep?
We tend to think of local media as newspapers – but in fact, local PR offers so much more than that now. Like most industries, local media has evolved to create a stronger online and digital presence. For example, many local newspapers and radio stations have a healthy following on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to ensure that your press release gets wider coverage and reaches different demographics.
How do I plan a local media PR strategy for my law firm?
It pays to do your research. Find out what local newspapers, radio stations, TV programmes, magazines and websites exist in your area. Which of those publications are potential clients most likely to read/listen to/watch?
To do this, you first need to decide who you want to target. You might decide that you want to attract anybody and everybody, but in my experience, you will be much more successful if you focus on a specific demographic. For example, think about what age or gender you particularly want to reach. Do you want to communicate with the public or the business community?
Newspapers are still well read in the local community and because they are local, a significant proportion of that audience could be interested in your services. For example, our local newspaper the Harborough Mail is read by around 20,000 people each year and has around 7,000 followers on Twitter. The Milton Keynes Citizen is read by around 95,000 people each year and has around 16,000 followers on Twitter. So, a publication with a good online presence and well used social platforms is a great option.
So, once you have done some research and decided which style of media and which publications are the ones that your target audience is most likely to read or engage with, you can work on building a relationship with the journalists who work there. This is much more difficult to do with journalists who work on national publications, many of whom receive thousands of emails a day.
A local journalist will already be interested in you because you have a local story to tell. They may also already be aware of your law firm, so if that story is interesting and relevant for your community, this will make it easier to build up a relationship with local reporters. Drop them an email to introduce yourself and offer to be on hand to comment on any story that needs a legal comment, so you are their go-to law firm.
Choosing your law firm’s PR content
Decide on the services that are most likely to interest your prospects and adapt the content accordingly. For example, local newspapers tend to be well read by an older demographic whilst younger clients are more likely to go online. So, approach local papers with stories around the sorts of services that older people are more likely to be interested: wills, probate, care homes, power of attorney and will writing. Online publications with a slightly younger readership might be more interested in family law, employment law, or divorce services.
Don’t forget other forms of media such as radio and TV news programmes. Ideal Marketing’s local radio station Hfm covers a relatively small radius, but is well listened to by a range of people who also look on the website, Facebook and Twitter for useful information such as traffic updates, weather and breaking news. This captures a wide demographic – again all of whom could potentially be interested in your services. Plus, you have the added advantage that they may already be familiar with your firm’s name so it’s another useful touchpoint.
Legal PR for business
There are usually several regional websites, newspapers and magazines specifically for the business press so if you are interested in reaching the business community or in promoting your commercial services, these can be excellent vehicles for news coverage. Some newspapers also have business reporters, so again, it’s worth doing your research and contacting these people directly.
In our region alone, we have Chamber of Commerce websites, East Midlands Business Link and Made in the Midlands to name but a few – all with a good online presence offering contact with a potentially interested audience. As long as the quality of the story that you offer them is good, you stand a great chance of getting published.
How Ideal Marketing can help your law firm with PR
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy to get high quality coverage in the local media. Like all areas of PR, it takes planning, research and skill to identify the right publications and the right stories. That’s why legal firms across the Midlands use The Ideal Marketing Company to develop an effective local PR strategy that pays dividends.
Interested in finding out more about how local PR could help your law firm? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today or call 01858 44 55 43.
For more information about the services that we offer, which are specific marketing a law firm, visit our Legal Marketing page.
Helen is co-founder of The Ideal Marketing Company. She has worked at the company since 2004, having graduated to marketing following a career in educational management in London. As co-founder of the company, Helen believes it is crucial to put the client’s needs first and to deliver a bespoke marketing solution for each organisation. Helen’s great love is copywriting. Her work with clients involves generating great ideas for PR including writing features, press releases and article pitches to build and enhance a client’s reputation in the local, trade and national media.