Do More with Law Firm Press Releases

press-release

Everyone hears about the importance of having a social media presence. But don’t forget the more traditional media exposure; the press release. Press releases are a powerful way to get activity surrounding your website. This “activity” means links and mentions on well trafficked sites that pick up your press release and post it. These links and mentions in turn mean to search engines that your site is still a viable source of info and is still relevant.

Don’t have anything news worthy enough to write about? Actually you probably do. Press releases never have to actually be particularly interesting or even actually news worthy. Here are some potential topics that you could use to write a press release on:

  • Opening a new office location, moving a location, remodeling an office.
  • A new service or form of practice is added
  • Attorney achieves new credential
  • A case is won
  • An attorney is speaking at an event
  • An appointment of an attorney to a board or panel
  • You publish a white paper
  • A tool or app gets released
  • A website overhaul
  • Another news article
  • A blog is started
  • An award is achieved
  • A new level of recognition is garnered (perhaps on a review site)
  • An attorney is interviewed
  • Anything new

To get full value from your firm’s press release do the following:

  • Distribute it online via a high quality press release network such as Prnewswire.com
  • Once the press release is distributed and published, link to some of the sites that carry it from social media – tweet about it, post about it on Facebook and Google+ etc.
  • Do a brief blog entry about the press release linking to it at one of the sites that posts it.

Creating online activity like this, even if the topic creates little interest helps your firm’s online presence grow and achieve more authority.

How to Add Value to Your Services while Qualifying Clients

bad clientSeems most lawyers contend with this from time to time: clients who are quite eager for results during the process of receiving the services, and yet suddenly somewhat reticent when it comes to actually settling the bill at the end of proceedings. So how can we add perceived value to the services we offer to potential clients while thoroughly qualifying them at the same time?

At the End of the Day, Will They Pay?

If we were selling motor vehicles or even home entertainment systems, reviewing the customers financial standing would seem like standard procedure. Yet as providers of legal services we will frequently provide our services having received little more assurance of full payment than the initial retainer itself.

In doing this we are essentially trusting that the customer has the means and intent to honor full payment once services have been rendered. If working in law should teach us anything it is that obligations are not always fulfilled. In truth, without carrying out a thorough credit check we are completely in the dark as to whether a client will be in a position to fully reimburse the firm at the conclusion of legal proceedings. So how do you minimize this risk?

Qualify Leads by Using Transparency

The best way to avoid chasing payment from a client who could never afford your services in the first place is to properly qualify them as a part of your initial contact.  Doing so in a way that does not risk deterring clients overall can be a delicate balance.  The most efficient way of achieving this is to be completely transparent right from the outset.

Make it your policy to carefully present all expectations to potential clients in a open and upfront conversation held very early on in the piece. Holding this conversation right at the outset minimizes the risk of time being wasted and unnecessary expenses being incurred for both parties.

Tell Them What They Can Expect

To the extent possible, let the potential client know the probable duration of proceedings and the anticipated costs this will likely incur for legal representation.  Just because you are thoroughly familiar with legal procedures it is important to keep in mind that your client probably won’t be. Put simply, you are the expert, that is why your services are required.

You might for example take the time to explain (in layman’s terms) details such as:

  • what is involved in the preparation and filing of a lawsuit
  • what can the client expect when it comes to mediation and summary motions
  • what proceedings are typical of this particular type of litigation
  • what is involved in discovery requests and review
  • how many depositions are anticipated for this particular case
  • what is involved in trial preparation
  • what are the logistics of the trial itself

What This Means For Your Firm

Not only will a frank and upfront conversation prepare the potential client for what to expect, you are also adding value to the services offered by giving an insight into what might otherwise be, ‘behind the scenes’ work.  Once the client has a good understanding of ‘what’ the are paying for, fully explain the anticipated costs involved in providing the services they require.  Also remember to advise them of whatever payment options your firm makes available.

The Right Clients will Stay

The ball at this stage, is in the potential clients court as to how and if to proceed. In the process you have given them a full insight into what they will receive for their money and in doing so you have built rapport, thus creating an environment of trust that only aids the smooth running of any business dealings. You are projecting the sense that at this firm, everything is upfront with low risk of any nasty surprises or unanticipated costs down the track.

Giving a client the full picture right from the outset will not only give the impression of competency and professionalism, but it will also allow you to target the clients you want to target. The clients who have both the need of, and the willingness to pay for your professional services.

Need PI Clients? Hire a Rapper.

Want to boost intakes? Get a famous star to advertise your firm on T.V.! ‘Oh gee, why didn’t I think of that’, you say. Ok, so you can’t afford to get William Shatner to dawn a suit and substitute “Priceline” for your firm name. But maybe you can “recycle” a forgotten face.

 Reputation and word of mouth are powerful tools sure, but often it comes down to advertising. However… a low cost TV ad showing a well pressed suit with a wall full of accolades is unlikely to engender confidence.  In fact, tried and true (or should we say tired and overused) approaches to advertising can do more to make a Law Firm appear out of touch than savvy and ahead of the game. Indeed, no profession has mastered the art of self-marketing celebrity building quite like the personal injury lawyer.

But ‘Better Call Saul’ ads and billboards get tired.  Want people to remember your name? Don’t just give them your smug mug, throw in a rapper! At least, that’s what Winton and Hiestand did recently.

Remember Master P? Popular rapper from the 90′s and early 2000′s?  Famous for hits such as ‘Make Em’ Say Uhh!’, ‘I Miss My Homies’ and ‘I Got the Hook Up’. Not necessarily the first figure that comes to mind when we’re talking Causation and Negligence but still, he’s got your attention right?

It’s hard not to be engaged throughout Winton & Hiestand’s half-minute ad, during which Master P espouses the company’s merits and their promise to work hard for their clients. Cue the occasional dropping of that signature ‘Ughh’ and ladies and gentlemen I’d say we’ve got ourselves a winner.

 So you’re hurt and want to hurt back… you want them to ‘say ughh’ right? Who are you going to call? It’s surely an ad that will stick in the mind of the client, more so at least than advertising that has taken a more, shall we say traditional approach. Making “em say ughh” is a lot more conducive to twitter than your standard legal jargon and it reads well too on posters and billboards alike.

 It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship really. Small sized personal injury law firm wanting to stand out (and perhaps procure a little street cred along the way). Cue old school 90′s rapper keen for a bit of air time; it’s the perfect fit. But then if George Clooney is going to make us drink coffee, why shouldn’t Master P inspire the public to pick up the phone and call Winton & Hiestand when they’re looking for that perfect law firm to “make em say ughh”.

 Cheesy? Perhaps. Not quite orthodox? Sure. But when it comes to standing out from the crowd and making an impression, then this small legal firm may well have ‘Got the Hook Up’ to set them apart from the competition, for better or for worse.

Pursuing a similar demographic, PI attorney John Foy of Atlanta ran a series of Television ads enlisting the help of Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Lister playing “Deebo”. Dare you to try to guess ahead of time how Deebo might fit in a PI Legal commercial. 

Ads like this prove accident lawyers might not have good taste, but they are good at getting their moneys worth out of their “recycling”.

Source: abovethelaw.com/2014/09/personal-injury-law-firm-convinces-famous-rapper-to-star-in-its-commercials/

Protect Your Law Firm from Hackers

access-denied

Cyber-terrorism, electronic privacy invasion, code breaking, network attack, black hats, criminal hacking.  Call it what you will, computer crime is as varied as it is common. Whether it be naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence, or the personal and financial records of your firm and clients being unlawfully accessed; “getting hacked” can have potentially devastating ramifications.

 Hacking is an attack on the privacy of an individual or an entity. According to one study carried out by McAfee, the worldwide financial cost of cyber crime is estimated to be $445 billion each year.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_crime).

If reputable companies such as Linkedin and eHarmony can be compromised (in June 2012 they were attacked with 1.5 million user passwords being posted online) what steps should be taken to protect the privacy of your Law Firm and clients?

Get Your Data Encrypted

Data Encryption involves translating data into a private code. Hackers will often target long-held client or employee information (“resting data”) such as credit card details, bank routing numbers or social security numbers. (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225468)  This is the type of data that you should consider encryption for.

A privacy breach of these type of details could be catastrophic for any firm, large or small, no doubt sending panicked clients taking their business elsewhere. Check out this information article on Forbes for advice to business owners regarding data encryption.  (http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2014/09/30/how-to-encrypt-your-business-data-for-optimal-security/)

Set Guidelines for Company Passwords

According to SplashData the top three passwords for 2013 were unchanged from the year before. “123456”, “password” and “12345678” remained the most popular choices, illustrating how vulnerable poor password choice can leave a firm. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-25-most-common-passwords-of-2013/). It is important to set company policy to ensure that partners and employees use lengthy and randomized passwords as a deterrent to hack attacks.

 Avoid Public Networks

As tempting as it may be to take your laptop down to your favorite cafe or local McDonalds for a change of environment, this should ideally be avoided when working with sensitive information. Even if you are not using a public computer as such, your personal laptop or smart-phone becomes more exposed to attack when in a public WiFi area.

If use of public networks is unavoidable however consider tips from Microsoft such as checking the security level of the network and disabling the WiFi connection when you are on your computer but not actually using the internet for that moment.  For more information refer to (http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/public-wireless.aspx)

Become Educated

Forewarned is forearmed. Investing the time to research common techniques and tactics of cyber criminals could go a long way to avoiding security breaches. Circulating an “Online Security Tips” memo to increase staff awareness would be well advised. Take the time to read those emails from your bank and other financial institutions to learn of hoaxes and threats that they have uncovered. This might be all it takes to avoid falling victem yourself.

Get Advised of Current Threats

If your firm is large enough to employ an IT company make sure they keep you well advised regarding recent hoaxes and current security threats. If you can afford an IT specialist it is likely money well spent. If the budget does not allow this however, perhaps nominate somebody within the company to take on this role.

It would be the responsibility of the nominated staff member to  keep up-to-date on current cyber-security issues. Checking in to the USA Official website of the Department of Homeland Security (see link) as a part of your morning routine would be a good place to start (https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas).

Diligence and good corporate policies will go a long way when it comes to protecting the integrity of your firms digital assets. Nobody wants to deal with the fallout that would follow a cyber security breach. Better to build those walls before an attack than to wait until the damage has already been done.

 

 

Source: http://www.theprlawyer.com/2014/09/hackers-abound-6-tips-to-protect-your.html

Want to Work With a Fortune 500? Better Up Your Social Game

 

There is no question that Fortune 500 Companies are a significant influence on the world of commerce as a whole, and justifiably so. It makes sense that analyzing their policies regarding blogging and other types of social media involvement could be a useful exercise for any business.

Since 2008 The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research has conducted an annual study of Fortune 500 companies and their social media activity. (http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/socialmediaresearch/2014fortune500andsocialmedia/). In recent years this study has included analysis of their use of the following media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn and company blog sites.

The 2014 Study Made the Following Findings:

 

  • In 2014, 157 companies (31%) had corporate blogs showing a decrease of 3% in use of this tool in the past year.

 

  • Companies blogging include two of the top five corporations (Wal-Mart Stores and Exxon Mobil), leaving the other three (Chevron, Apple and Berkshire Hathaway) without a public-facing blog.
  • 413 companies (83%) of the Fortune 500 have corporate Twitter accounts with a tweet in the past thirty days. This represents a 6% increase since 2013.

 

  • Facebook, in its second year on the Fortune 500 list, has the highest number of followers on Twitter, followed by Starbucks, Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Nike, Inc., and Intel Corporation.  They also have the most Facebook fans along with Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company and Starbucks Corporation.

 

  • 401 companies (80%) of the Fortune 500 are now on Facebook. This represents a 10% increase since 2013.

 

  • In the past year, Foursquare enjoyed the largest increase in adoption (42%), while Pinterest use increased by 27% and Instagram by 12%.

How to Appeal to a F500 Company

A F500 company would expect their legal representation to have a strong understanding of their business even before they take you on. This would include having cost effective solutions to current issues and challenges that their industry might be facing before they even bring it to the table for discussion. The best way to acquire this insight is to make use of social media to gather information.

Start by perusing the F500 blogs themselves. What is being discussed?  Stay tuned to F500 Twitter and Facebook engagement. How are they connecting with their clients? What are the problems being faced. Considering how successful companies engage and connect with their own clientele can provide valuable clues as to how you might engage and connect with their key decision makers.

 

Start Your Own Blog

Blogging is a effective way to command online recognition and to establish a strong social presence. Consider this thought provoking Forbes article as to why you should get on board with starting up a blog.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danreich/2011/10/15/9-reasons-you-should-blog/

Use your blog to discretely target F500 key decision makers, capturing their attention through discussion of industry changes and movement and how these might be affecting their business. Blogging can be a powerful tool to demonstrate your expertise, establish your authority in the field and also to showcase your passion for the topic at hand.

 

Set the Right Tone

When you blog, your focus should be on engaging and connecting to your readers. Nothing will put readers off more quickly than blatant attempts to sell your merits as a company. Taking a leaf from the Fortune 500 book, give emphasis to who you are engaging with over and above anything else. The aim is to connect, and remember that entities are made up of people so untimately we connect on a personal level. Dont be afraid to engage the emotions of your readers.

A good tip for encouraging your followers to share your blog is to spotlight other entities instead of attempts at flagrant self promotion. Your priority should be building a relationship with your followers.  In today’s bold new world of business, this is how you acquire, retain and expand your client base while drivingtaking your firm in the direction that you want to be driven.

 

 

Source: abovethelaw.com/2014/10/like-you-really-need-to-validate-your-social-media-presence/