Law Firm Public Relations

Do Most Law Firms Use A PR Agency Or Handle PR In-house?

No, most law firms are small non-employer businesses. They are typically a single attorney, and maybe a paralegal or case manager. This represents roughly 53% of all law firms. Roughly 99% of these solo law firms do absolutely nothing for PR –  neither internally or externally by hiring an agency. So “most” law firms do zero PR. Zilch. And truth be told: PR is a critical component of any content marketing strategy or brand strategy.

Then there are law firms that hire external PR agencies. This is very common for business or transactional law firms or for plaintiffs firms handling a high profile litigation. There are typically two different engagement types these types of PR firms work under – which we’ll get to later.

The third category is law firms that have their own internal PR departments. This is exceedingly rare and we have only seen a few firms in the last 10 years that have their own internal PR team consisting of more than one employee. 


How Do PR Engagements Work For Law Firms?

Traditionally law firms would hire specialist PR firms on either project by project basis or they would hire a PR agency on a retainer basis. Both of these engagement types have their strengths and weaknesses.

Project Rates: PR agencies that work on a project basis typically have a one time project fee that is all encompassing of the campaign they are prompting. Typically the goal of these campaigns is to get placement in top tier publications. In many of these instances they can give no guarantees of which publications they can get you placed in and timelines often shift. This is typical of PR agencies that do not yet have the reputation to take on clients on a full retainer basis. While this type of compensation model often times holds the lowest risk in terms of engagement durations on the contract..

Retainers: PR agencies that work on a monthly retainer basis are the most common and are a great fit for law firms that have a consistent workload that needs significant PR every single month. This scenario may make sense for large business law firms. Most firms will not need enough PR work done to justify the minimum retainer size needed to retain these types of PR agencies. The minimum retainer for most of these agencies start around 10k / mo. This would likely be too high of a marketing allocation for a single marketing source for most plaintiffs law firms.

Pay Per Placement: Make no mistake, PR agencies that work on a “pay per placement” model are typically not traditional PR agencies. They are unable to gain coverage in top tier publications as their entire strategy relies on having contributor profiles on publications, which top tier news outlets don’t give away. These are not really PR firms but SEO link building shops in disguise.

Bundled Services: Full service agencies, like MeanPug, offer every type of marketing and advertising for law firms and hire specialists for every single role. They are able to bundle in services together and offer them all at lower priced tiers than traditional PR firms. The advantage to this is that you have access to a team of PR professionals but are not forced to use a full retainer dedicated to just public relations. Your retainer is used on the services that are most necessary at any given time to provide the best value for your firm. This allows firms to have access to top tier talent at every marketing or advertising position without having to pay for their full time salary. This is the engagement style that makes the most sense for 99% of law firms. If you have questions about how this model works contact us to schedule a 100% free consultation.

What Are The Benefits Of A Good PR Campaign For Attorneys?

What KPIs Should You Measure For Your Firm’s PR Efforts?

  • Impressions
  • Share of voice (SoV)
  • Social media engagement
  • Active coverage
  • Potential reach
  • Sentiment
  • Media outreach
  • Quality of coverage
  • Geographical presence
  • Key message penetration
  • Overall media presence
  • Earned traffic

How Does PR Impact Your SEO?

PR can have a huge impact on law firm SEO. Without going into too much detail, your ranking in Google is based on a large number of facets, with one of the largest ranking factors being your backlink profile. The strongest backlinks available are going to be won through hard fought PR campaigns winning earned media on major publications. The SEO value of these high profile links that often have domain authorities of 90+ and are typically only won through traditional PR efforts, not through SEO agencies. 

Why Is Thought Leadership Important For Law Firms?

Thought leadership is extremely important for lawyers. Thought leadership is the difference between being added to leadership positions for mass tort and product liability cases or having to refer your cases to the firms who run the show. Having your firm use PR to enhance your thought leadership within certain litigations or specialties can make all the difference in the world for winning referrals on extremely high value cases.

What Media Outlets Should Law Firms Be Focused On?

Top Tier Publications

Large Digital Only Publications

  • HuffPost
  • Buzzfeed
  • Mashable
  • Medium

Mid-To High-Tier Contributor Profiles

  • Forbes

Q&A Sites That Impact PR and Thought Leadership

  • Quora
  • Reddit

Television and Broadcast

  • Fox
  • CNN
  • ABC
  • NBC

PR Strategies and Tactics

What Are The Different Types of Public Relations?

Media: Owned vs. Paid vs. Earned

Owned media: 

Owned media includes: social media posts, also known as social media management; Blog content, which can be considered content marketing; website copy, again an area that falls under content marketing and in many instances is; and email newsletters, another area that as a function of success has become it’s own marketing channel in it’s own right. If you want to learn about the different types of email marketing check it out here.

Earned Media:

Earned media is the backbone of traditional public relations. Earned media is any mention of your firm (or attorneys at your firm) in a publication that is not owned or controlled by your firm. The most common examples of this are going to be mentions in top-tier publications and media outlets. Earned media has several benefits with the largest three being the exposure to a new massive audience, increased branded value, and the best quality backlinks available which is one of the best things for your law firm’s SEO.

Here are are few examples: 

  1. Your firm getting mentioned (and hopefully a backlink) in the Wall Street Journal for filing a product liability lawsuit against a well known consumer company.
  2. Your firm getting mentioned in Law360 for surviving a motion to dismiss on a major case.
  3. An attorney in your firm is getting a spotlight on a local news station for taking on a catastrophic personal injury case for a major event (like the Surfside building collapse in Miami).

Paid Media:

While most paid media would typically fall under the categories of digital marketing, PPC, or Social media advertising. There are certain instances where public relations and paid media interact. The most common examples of these are native ads run on content discovery networks like outbrain or taboola. Often times the goals of these types of paid media campaigns can be different than those of more run of the mill digital advertising that are geared almost entirely to increasing sales, or in the instance of law firms retaining new clients.

What Press Release Distribution Services do law firms use?

Press release distribution is a market that has largely consolidated across the following primary syndication solutions:

  • PR Newswire (Cision)
  • Business Wire (Berkshire Hathaway)
  • Issuewire
  • Prowly
  • Prunderground 
  • PRLog
  • Prezly
  • Prgloo
  • Pressat

PR Newswire is the largest and most expensive of all the solutions but typically also gets the most traction in terms of reach, impressions, and quality of coverage. We typically recommend it in our marketing stack for law firms for firms that are serious about getting into PR.

Are There Any Other Tools That Are Commonly Used for PR?

Cision is a must for any serious PR firm or marketing team that is looking to integrate PR into their marketing strategy. While it’s subscriptions are very expensive, it’s certainly worth the investment for firms or agencies that do a lot of PR work.

Should You Hire A PR Agency For Your Law Firm?

Do you have a bunch of connections with the NY Times or Wall Street Journal? Do you have time to pitch reporters on stories? Do you scour HARO looking for opportunities to give quotes to reporters? Do you syndicate your biggest verdicts and settlements across newswires? Do you know how to track earned media KPIs? Can you do all that while practicing law or managing your firm? After working in-house at the largest law firms in the country and talking to thousands of law firm owners I can count on only one hand the amount of firms that have a full time in-house PR team. If you want to chat about your firm’s PR or marketing strategy in general, contact us to set up a time for a 100% free strategy consultation.

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