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Be Creative and Clever to Successfully Navigate the “New Normal” of LegalTech PR

Christy BurkeRecent times have been rough on the legal media, rife with layoffs of prominent, respected editors and widespread confusion as publications consolidate, separate or shutter altogether. For legal technology vendors, as you navigate this “new normal” in legal PR, a solid approach is to take control of your media activity.  Don’t wait for more predictability to emerge in the established press. Now is the time to act assertively and persuasively. Stake your claim to online ink!

One of my predictions for 2017 in the December 2016 issue of Legal IT Today [PDF] was: “In legal tech PR, creativity in inventing media content will be the most important trend.” This becomes increasingly true every day.  A few years ago, you could email out a somewhat newsworthy press release and get several coverage hits as a result.  Now, you can’t assume that even a strong news release will find a receptive target so you need more ammunition and better aim.  

Here are 5 tips on how to create innovative, successful legal tech PR in 2017:

  • Contributed “best practices” or thought leadership articles are in demand by media outlets because editorial staff is typically short-handed and they need to run good content. Short list articles “listicles” (top 5 or 10 ways to do X, Y or Z) are a good way to go - people like to read them. Plus, if you are the author, you can usually control the content that gets published much more closely. Be careful not to promote your product/service in the article except in the author bio, though, or your article could end up in the editor’s “reject” pile!
  • Only generate press releases when you have “real” news, i.e. major announcements. Don’t clutter up editors’ inboxes with filler which will perhaps dilute the impact of a stronger announcement that follows.  Remember, editors and reporters get hundreds of pitches per day.  Make sure they associate your name with quality rather than quantity!
  • Case studies about law firm or corporate legal software selection processes or implementations, once a helpful marketing tool, are very difficult to get approved anymore. If you are bold enough to attempt a client case study, try to get senior-level and marketing approval from the firm for the project BEFORE you begin writing it.  Ideally, this will help to ensure a successful outcome.
  • Once you get press coverage, amplify it on all your social networks and send it to industry influencers, current clients and prospects. Don’t assume they’re going to see it otherwise, amid the blizzard of text bombarding them every day.
  • Reinvigorate your social media presence. If your blog or website is a little stale, consider creating a monthly Q&A or discussion series that will draw readers in and keep them coming back. Add some video or audio files and post them on YouTube as well.  Invite some clients or colleagues to write guest posts to provide a fresh perspective and attract new readership.  Start or contribute to LinkedIn Group discussions in your particular niche.  Look for opportunities to guest-star by authoring a piece for a complementary vendor’s or partner’s blog or newsletter. Even if you haven’t been a social media “power user” in the past, it’s easy to reinvent yourself and get moving at any time.

Legal

By being clever and innovative, you are giving the legal media material they can use.  They exist to cover specific aspects of the legal industry and its technology products and services, not specifically to promote your wares.  But the bright side is this: consider that with fewer editors on staff, publications might be more open to receiving your high-quality contributed articles and story ideas that help them cover interesting topics.  Also, you can create your very own “news channel” via your website and social networks.  Doing this will raise your profile not only among the legal media but also will increase your visibility to clients and prospects.  With creativity and good old-fashioned hard work, you can successfully navigate the changing legal tech PR landscape and come out on top!

Christy Burke is president and founder of Burke & Company, a New York-based PR and marketing consulting firm. She is a prolific writer, having published columns in Legal IT Today, Legal IT Professionals, Law.com, Legal Tech (now Cybersecurity Law & Strategy), the ABA’s Law Practice Today, Intellectual Property Today, Attorney at Work, Peer to Peer and Marketing the Law Firm.  For more information, visit burke-company.com or follow Christy on Twitter: @ChristyBurkePR.
 

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