Even before you build trust and keep your clients happy, you must first get them to notice you. How do you get noticed? That is the quintessential question that has been asked since the modern age of industrialization occurred.
Enter Edward Bernays. You have probably never heard of him, but he is acknowledged to being the father of Public Relations. And a certifiable genius. His book Propaganda was written 90 years ago and is still applicable today. Bernays was hired by Phillips Tobacco in the 1920s to increase tobacco sales. Already seeing market saturation with men, Bernays crafted a unique and very effective campaign to have women adopt smoking. This may come as a surprise, but back in the 1920s, most states outlawed women smoking. Indeed, it was only in 1916 that women won their right to vote. Bernays laid out his master plan.
In 1929, the biggest gathering and newsworthy event was the Macy’s Easter Day Parade in New York City. Bernays hired women who were good looking, but not too good looking; women that other women could identify with and see themselves as. Then, during the middle of the parade, at a given point, the women took out cigarettes and lit them, calling them torches of freedom. Bernays linked the tobacco industry in cigarettes to the womens’ suffrage movement. Ergo, something as mundane as smoking cigarettes is transformed into part of a movement that instantly became part of women’s protesting and earning more rights by disobeying the current law.
Bernays and Phillip Morris’ strategy worked. Whereas women made up just 5% of Phillip Morris’ sales before 1929, by 1935 women comprised 22% of cigarette sales.
How does this apply to you? The strategy Bernays enacted was to increase visibility of his products, similar to what you want. How can you do this?
Advertising can be achieved in many different ways and through various mediums. You may choose to advertise in a magazine or newspaper or on a billboard on a busy road. However, advertising may not always be as effective as you’d hope. People looking for lawyers are more likely to rely on word of mouth and referrals from family and friends before considering calling a lawyer they saw in a magazine. The simple reason behind this is because you haven’t yet established trust.
Advertising can also be expensive, no matter the medium. Print and online ads in the media that have a targeted audience of people looking for lawyers can cost thousands of dollars.
Many businesses don’t realize that advertising is becoming obsolete. The human eye is now trained to skip over them in magazines, so people most likely won’t even notice that they are there. Advertising also is transparent. Your audience knows you paid for placement, which doesn’t build trust.
Both public relations and advertising are different types of marketing strategies. However, public relations is typically cheaper since it doesn’t require buying costly ads on television or in print. Public relations also builds trust because you have earned the media placement instead of merely buying it. Earned media means that you have been featured in some way in the media without paying for it.
Here are a few free public relations strategies to try.
Pitch the Media
You can offer legal tips to a newspaper, radio show, or legal trade magazine. To do this, email their editor to find out if they’d be interested in taking you on as a guest contributor. You can write op-eds, listicles, or columns that benefit their audience.
Send Press Releases
Press releases are news stories that let you tell the media about your firm and yourself. Once you’ve written your press release, you can send it to the media by finding their emails on their websites.
You can also choose to distribute press releases using an online distribution site if you are looking to send it across the nation. Remember, your press release should be newsworthy and have valuable quotes that the audience of the magazine, newspaper, or radio show will find interesting.
Start a Blog
If your law firm’s website doesn’t have a blog, it’s time to start. Blog topics should cover ideas and subjects that potential clients will want to learn about. Make sure to write about all of the services you offer. For example, if you are a criminal defense lawyer, you should write about certain offenses and their consequences. Always make sure to include a call to action at the end of each blog so that potential clients can contact you easily.
If you don’t have time to write, hire a ghostwriter with a background in marketing or public relations that can help your potential to get noticed skyrocket.
In doing each of these things, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field to both the media and the public. These techniques will help you build trust and name recognition, both of which are crucial to the success of your firm.