How to become a legal public relations star: Be like Jack

February 6, 2018


Becoming a trusted media source can be an incredible boon for lawyers and other professional services providers such as accountants, architects and management consultants.

The media’s third-party credibility provides nearly the same power as a personal referral — the gold standard in professional services marketing. And, when compounded over and over again (with multiple media appearances), it can even beat personal referrals.

But becoming a media star is no easy task. Yet somehow, some attorneys are always quoted and featured in top media outlets, over and over again. Take Jack, for example.

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Change the game in your career by becoming a visible expert

March 11, 2015

How I transformed my career from lawyer to ESPN reporter to sports marketing consultant by becoming a ‘visible expert’

476720863On Wednesday, March 11, I’m honored to be a panelist at the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum on a panel entitled “Game Changers: Career-Defining Moments.” At just 33, why was I chosen for a panel on career-defining moments? It was probably because of that big career switch I made four years ago when I left my law practice and became ESPN’s sports business reporter on my way to becoming a nationally recognized expert on the business of college sports.

As I’ve prepared for my panel the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to pinpoint the exact moment that changed my career.

My gut reaction was to say it was when I got my first book deal. Except, I wouldn’t have gotten that first book deal if I hadn’t written a legal journal article on the same subject or blogged about it for months afterwards. So was one of those my game-changing moment?

It took me a few weeks, but I finally figured it out. All those things — my legal journal article, my blogging, my book deal, my eventual invitation to write for Forbes and appear on television for Comcast Sports Southeast — they were all stairsteps on my way to my true game-changing moment: when I became a “visible expert” on the business of college sports.

What is a visible expert?

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Blog topic ideas: nine ways to beat blogger’s block

September 11, 2014

wall of post-it notes and ideas

Stuck in a rut when trying to find blog topics? Once you’ve been doing this content marketing thing for a while, you may feel like you’re running out of things to talk about. Much like writer’s block, blogger’s block is a real epidemic. There’s a time and place for repurposing, but where do you turn when you want to churn out new topics? Here are nine sources of inspiration:

1. LinkedIn groups – what are your prospects discussing with their peers? How can you help? 

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Working with PR agencies: hold the fluff!

July 1, 2014
Reputation Ink PR agency Jacksonville

Fluff belongs on your dessert – not in your press release!

Working with a professional public relations agency can offer significant benefits for both large and small companies alike. So much so, in fact, that USC’s Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center reports that 95 percent of all large public companies and nearly half of all small private companies rely on outside PR/marketing counsel.

In selecting a public relations firm with which to work, however, companies would do well to remember three words: Hold the fluff.

In media parlance, “fluff” is the term for the flowery language and effusive frippery in which some publicists drown their copy. Rather than simply stating the facts and letting their client’s product or project speak for itself, some PR reps seem to believe that applying a thick coating of hyperbole to their prose will catch the eye of that jaded reporter and score their client a primo placement.

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The 5 As of an effective public apology

April 17, 2014

INKsights blog: how to make a public apology

Recently, we talked about that bane of celebrities and major corporations alike – the public apology – and gave a few examples of some memorable apology train wrecks. As those examples attest, far from quelling a PR crisis, a poorly worded apology can add fuel to the media fire and send the crisis spiraling out of control.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the common mistakes public entities make in their media mea culpas, let’s review the key components of an effective public apology. Given how often public figures need to issue these types of statements, it’s surprising that more celebrities and companies fail to do the following:

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Three lessons from Cinnabon’s president: form unlikely partnerships, think like a hot shot and embrace risk

April 9, 2014


Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Legal Marketing Association’s national conference in Orlando. Kicking off the conference was keynote speaker Kat Cole, the president of Cinnabon. If you’ve never heard of Cole, you can read about her in Forbes (From Hooters To Hot Buns: How Kat Cole Turned Cinnabon Into A $1 Billion Brand) or Entrepreneur magazine (How Kat Cole Went from Hooters Girl to President of Cinnabon by Age 32).

Her speech was truly inspiring. Not only is she from my “hometown city” of Jacksonville (I was raised in a one-red-light town just outside of Jacksonville, Fla.), but it was obvious that she loves what she does and loves helping others. I took away three key lessons from her speech: 

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How not to make a public apology

April 1, 2014

In honor of April Fools’ Day, we recall some of the less-than-successful public apologies made by celebrities and other public figures. Believe it or not, these apologies weren’t meant as an April Fools’ joke – and their impact on the reputations of the individuals involved was anything but funny.

Elton John was right. Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

With celebrity scandals erupting on an almost daily basis, you’d think that actors, politicians and other public figures would eventually become adept at delivering public apologies. More often than not, however, at the first hint of a scandal celebrities immediately adopt one of the following apology personas:

Reputation Ink Inksights How not to make a public apology Paula Deen#1. The Victim

When celebrity chef Paula Deen was accused of making racist comments, her “apology” focused more on how the scandal had affected her instead of those who might have been offended by her remarks.

“The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself – and to others,” Deen said in an apparently homemade video. She later told Today’s Matt Lauer, “There’s been some very, very hurtful lies said about me….”

A public apology is no time for a self-pity party.

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There is such a thing as bad PR

March 18, 2014

They say there’s no such thing as bad PR. Tell that to Mike Jeffries.

Not long ago, Jeffries — the longtime CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch — was flying high on his reputation of transforming stodgy A&F into one of the hottest teen clothing brands. But then sales started to decline, and last year a 2006 interview Jeffries gave to Salon came back to haunt him when excerpts appeared in the newly published book The New Rules of Retail. In the interview, Jeffries candidly shared Abercrombie’s marketing strategy of targeting attractive “cool” kids:

“We want to market to cool, good-looking people,” Jeffries said. “…A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

The resulting outrage exploded across the media landscape, prompting Abercrombie boycotts and providing ample fodder for the late-night TV shows. The brouhaha even sparked a grass-roots campaign to transform Abercrombie into a brand associated with homeless people.

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