Last Wednesday it was our pleasure to Sponsor the Boston Legal Marketing Association Meet the Reporters virtual event hosted by Lily Bowen, Senior Public Relations Specialist at Mintz and featuring Greg Ryan, Senior Reporter at Boston Business Journal; Nate Raymond, Legal Affairs Correspondent at Reuters; and Chris Villani, Boston Courts Reporter at Law360.
What is obvious is that Nate, Chris and Greg work to very tight deadlines and what was great is that they laid out exactly the best way for them to feature the news law firms wanted to get coverage about.
Timeliness is everything
The reporters simply cannot publish something that happened in court (or anywhere else) that happened last week - even if no one else has covered it. The same day is a must for their editors. It must be within 24 hours and preferably tell them about it in the morning, not the afternoon!
For lateral hires have a look at how the reporters like to cover these. It might be best to package the news into a monthly report. What is important is you have to let the reporters know. They will not mention it unless they are told. They do not have enough bandwidth to go online and search who has joined where.
If you want to make a big deal about a lateral hire then give some real detailed, personal and relevant information - not just "Bob Smith is an amazing lawyer and is excited about working with us". Also, give timely access to the new hire if you can.
What reporters love:
It will be no surprise to you that all three reporters love an exclusive. Anything you can do here - just make it timely! Also, they all understand that law firms' PR need to spread these exclusives about but please do be transparent. There is no point in sending a press release with the news you gave away as an exclusive to someone else two weeks ago.
When it comes to what to share. They all love a groundbreaking or unique hire, a shift in your business model, new ways of working and are all are very keen to promote diversity and your stories about how you are achieving your goals here. One hint if you are 'pitching' an attorney be sure that they are available to talk with the reporter.
Also, a slow news day helps but there is no way of your knowing when this will happen so do keep in regular contact with your reporters. This brings me to...
How best to communicate with reporters:
Unsurprisingly you have to know your reporter here - individually. Nate likes a phone call. His inbox gets very full of press releases so call and say hello. However, Chris and Greg will not take a phone call (most of the time). They much prefer an email over a phone call. They do not have time to 'shoot the breeze' - although can be tempted out for lunch or beer. Greg wants to sit down with the Managing Partner and PR. Not just PR. Chris loves a bit of golf so a good way to get his attention is to offer to go for a round or two! Cold calls are a big no-no.
If you and your attorneys use Passle:
We sponsored this session for a reason. Passle helps busy attorneys and Marketing, BD, and Comms folk at law firms create timely, client-relevant, digestible content. This means that if your attorneys are creating content regularly you can leverage this content to get the attention of your reporters. Here are my suggestions:
- Lateral Hires - Day One record a quick intro video with your new hire on Zoom. Make it personal and specific. Create a post with the info you know a journalist would love and post it. Use ISTATOY to send that to your reporters.
- Timeliness - text, video, or voice recording. Create a post immediately something important has happened in court or in your firm. Get it through approval quickly and share it with your journalists straight away. Make a plan around announcements and events that you know are coming up. You can pre-write some of the posts. You can put lawyers' names next to it and make sure you share contact details if they need a call or Zoom.
- Digests - If you have Passle's 'Client Connect' Newsletter/Digest tool be sure to curate a specific digest of the content you know will resonate with the reporters that you know. You can personalize this digest so only the content that they will be interested in, from the lawyers they want to hear from, will go directly into their inboxes.
- Be sure to reference the articles your reporters write - and say how great they are!