Marketing legal services can be difficult and expensive, so the prospect of getting priceless publicity for free may seem too good to be true.
It’s very much a reality, however, and law firms are benefiting every day. They don’t even need to do anything special, just their everyday work can be enough to get several column inches in their local newspaper or business magazine.
And as an added bonus, they often get to say how they excel at the legal services they provide.
If you follow the business pages of most local and regional newspapers you will find numerous articles in which law firms literally get publicity just for doing their everyday work.
They don’t dress it up as that, of course. The articles are all presented along the lines of ‘Law firm Smith & Jones advise WidgetsRUs on takeover deal…’ or ‘Law firm Smith & Jones helps clinch property deal for major client…’, and ‘Law firm Smith & Jones helps with merger …’
These articles have long been an important part of newspaper business pages. They’re strange in a way because they’re not really news in the strictest sense.
After all, the reason these law firms are helping with mergers or whatever is because that’s what they do. It’s their job and they do it every day. Generally speaking, people going about their everyday business isn’t really news, but it’s treated as such in this case.
The format of these articles is quite straightforward and easy for any firm to use. If you have been involved in a significant business deal involving local companies (or national ones for that matter), then it might be worth sending a press release about it to your local papers and business magazines.
You will need approval from your clients, of course, but given that they will get some valuable publicity out of it as well, they will probably be happy for you to go ahead.
Assuming your client is happy then your press release simply needs to cover the basics. The intro would be along the lines of the examples given above. Perhaps something like, ‘Law firm Smith & Jones has advised WidgetsRUs on the takeover of three of its specialist suppliers…’ or whatever the circumstances may be.
This is typically followed up by three or four paragraphs saying how the law firm steered the client through the complex negotiations before reaching an agreement that is good for all concerned.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to include a quote from the client saying what a good job you did. You will probably be able to reciprocate by saying how you were delighted to be able to act for such a major company as WidgetsRUs etc.
It’s also possible that you will be able to say something about how your firm excels at providing the kind of service involved in the story, whether it be advising on mergers, takeovers, funding or whatever. You will certainly be given more leeway to promote yourself in this kind of article about a business deal than you would in a think piece about a new piece of legislation.
For example, you couldn’t write a piece explaining the ramifications of the Equality Act and then slip in a sentence about how good your firm is at dealing with the issues involved. However, you are likely to be able to do so in an article about how you carried out some work for another local company.
If anyone thinks this is too good to be true then I would urge them to take a close look at the business pages in their local newspapers and magazines. They will find several examples of this approach. A quick look at the Birmingham Post over the last few weeks will show you what I mean.
You may well find you are knocking on an open door when you produce these articles. Many business editors like them because they regard them as reflecting local business life and therefore of interest to local businesses.
You’ll find few better ways of getting free publicity.
This article first appeared in the Law Gazette