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What to do when there’s no news: 7 proactive PR tips for law firms

September 4, 2020

What to do when there's no news

We always tell our law firm clients that it’s important to have sustained legal PR efforts. Media relations isn’t something you can do in fits and starts and expect consistent results. It’s hard to stay top of mind with journalists if they don’t hear from you that often. You must come to them fairly regularly with quality story ideas so they remember you’re out there.

But what if there’s nothing going on that’s worth pitching? It’s not like big litigation victories or massive M&A deals happen on demand. There are lulls in the practice of law — and that’s when savvy lawyers have to get proactive with their PR efforts.  

Here are some ways to keep the pitch hopper full when there’s no breaking news to trumpet. 

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Reprint Rights 101: How law firms can promote media hits without getting sued

August 18, 2020

Reprint Rights 101: How law firms can promote media hits without getting sued

You get a solid quote in a key publication, or publish an insightful article in a legal trade magazine, and you want everyone to know (particularly potential clients). So, you post the full text of the article to your firm’s website, send it to your email list and put out some social media posts linking to it for good measure. 

Good marketing, right? 

While promoting your media coverage is important (and kudos to you for recognizing that), unfortunately you’ve left yourself open to legal action from the media outlet because you’ve just violated their copyright. 

Don’t feel too badly. This happens fairly often, and we’ve found that lawyers and law firms are among some of the worst offenders. Which is more than a little ironic, because, you know, laws…

The good news is that there are ways to leverage your media hits while staying on the right side of the law — and in the good books of the media outlets that cover you. 

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Media exclusives: how and when to use them

July 27, 2020

Media exclusives: how and when to use them

When I was working at a television station, the first question the news director would ask after a reporter came in with a juicy story was, “Is it exclusive?”

She wanted to know if her station was the only place viewers could find the story or if they would at least be the first to break the news. In a time when just about everyone has 24/7 access to information at their fingertips, regardless of when the 5 o’clock newscast airs, media outlets are looking for any edge they can get over their competitors.

For PR purposes, exclusives can help you squeeze all of the “juice” you can get out of a story and make sure it’s placed with an outlet that will give it the coverage you think it deserves.

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Who does what in the newsroom? A guide to media roles

July 13, 2020

Who does what in the newsroom? A guide to media roles

Pitching to the right person at a media outlet can make the difference between having your company make the front page or helplessly watching it slip through the cracks of someone’s inbox. Even small newsrooms exchange thousands of emails every day, and a fraction of the staff is tasked with screening and collecting stories to go to broadcast, print or online. 

You must stand out and connect with the gatekeepers to enjoy the benefits of media coverage.

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5 considerations for law firms speaking out on the #blacklivesmatter movement

June 3, 2020

5 considerations for law firms speaking out on the #blacklivesmatter movement

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” 

Nike’s update to its famous “Just do it” tagline is now more relevant than ever. Today, “brands” — that’s marketing speak for a company or firm — are taking political, cultural and social stands that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. 

From racial injustice and police brutality to climate change and immigration, brands are being called upon by their customers to put a stake in the ground and declare a point of view on divisive issues. And now, law firms are adding their voices

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6 ways lawyers can use downtime to build for the future

May 21, 2020

6 ways lawyers can use downtime to build for the future

While much has been written about how to network and build business during the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of the advice has focused on short-term activities and gains. And while the recommendations are solid (as marketing and biz dev are critical during a downturn), a basic principle of marketing cannot be ignored: Marketing and business development are long-term endeavors. In professional services like the law, those who succeed are consistent over the long term with their marketing and business development.

However, marketing is time-intensive and requires the involvement of the attorneys themselves. This becomes a Catch-22 — marketers and publicists need access to lawyers’ knowledge and expertise (I call our role in the process “knowledge extraction”), while lawyers’ time is stretched thin as they meet aggressive billable targets.

That’s why, as COVID-19 disrupts every aspect of our society, I see an opportunity. While some lawyers are busier than ever in areas such as bankruptcy, healthcare, insurance, employment and cybersecurity, others aren’t faring so well, as M&A deals and court proceedings are put on hold. For those attorneys, now is the time to focus on the labor-intensive marketing activities that form the foundation of any successful practice.

Here are six ways lawyers with coronavirus-induced free time can build for the future:

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Law firm communications and COVID-19: What’s next?

May 1, 2020

Law firm communications and COVID-19: What’s next?

I was honored to be part of a panel discussion last week, hosted by three Florida Legal Marketing Association (LMA) groups: Orlando, Jacksonville and South Florida. If you couldn’t attend the virtual event, you missed hearing from the following law firm public relations professionals:

The panel discussion was moderated by Laura Kaminsky of BakerHostetler. While we covered a range of topics, I’ve highlighted key takeaways below (the full webinar recording is available here).

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How lawyers should network during the coronavirus crisis

April 23, 2020

How lawyers should network during the coronavirus crisis

Wendy Merrill is the Founder & Chief Rainmaker of StrategyHorse Consulting Group, providing leadership, professional and business development training and support to lawyers. We talked to Wendy about how lawyers can continue to nurture and develop their networks during the coronavirus crisis.

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How much should you spend on marketing during a recession? Here’s what the research says

April 13, 2020

Image source: Vaile, Roland S., “The Use of Advertising During Depression,” Harvard Business Review, 5 April, 1927. 

As COVID-19 sweeps the world, our economy is quickly going down the toilet (along with stockpiles of toilet paper). Unfortunately, we are likely already in a recession. For marketers, recessions have historically been scary times. Often, marketing seems like the easiest thing to cut. But is that wise? 

As a marketer, if I wrote a blog post telling you to increase marketing during a recession, I’d look a little self-serving (to say the least). So instead, I decided to look at what the research tells us about marketing during recessions.

What I found is overwhelming evidence that it pays to maintain — and in some cases increase — marketing expenditures during an economic downturn. As Peter Fader of the Wharton School said, “As companies slash advertising in a downturn, they leave empty space in consumers’ minds for aggressive marketers to make strong inroads.”

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