In the not so old days, local or regional PR and marketing meant painstakingly listing services in the classifieds of a provincial paper and making sure the Yellow Pages was always up to date.
Things have changed since then, but the game remains the same: Find your audience, target them with a message and follow it up.
The question is how do you work the available media channels to your advantage? On first glance the options seem somewhat bleak as media experts consistently sound the death knell for regional newspapers. To put that in context figures published by international media business Group M, reported that while the UK was spending 13% of its advertising money on regional newspapers in 2008, that figure is expected to be around 7% in 2013. But don’t be fooled completely; regional weekly newspapers are fighting back with 25% of the market actually increasing sales during 2011 and strong growth forecast for most UK regional press websites.
When you add to the mix the additional outlets of regional radio and television, the potential audience for a good local story is clear. Law firms must therefore ask themselves when considering an integrated PR and marketing campaign whether they have a good one.
Thinking for a moment beyond Legal 500 rankings and which tier you’re on with Chambers & Partners for which advertising is tailor made, law firms must look to their customers to explain the value of professional advice. The customer telling their own story about how a successful claim was made will appeal to a journalist and can by association enable a law firm to achieve recognition within the story. If you can meet the challenge of persuading customers to tell the story, it’s a good bet they’ll do it convincingly.
Tips for local and regional PR & Marketing campaigns:
1) Research your target audience. Use resources such as the Audit Bureau of Circulation and Press Gazette to provide you with a clear idea of which publications people are reading and why.
2) Build a case study culture into your marketing process: When interesting cases happen, become the news reporter yourself.
3) Ensure any online content you place is actively monitored for sharing activity by deploying keyword searches on social media platforms.
4) Consider a dedicated web page or site to support the key message of your campaign. Try to enable some data capture within this and consider augmenting visitor numbers with online advertising such as banners, pay per click, Facebook or Linkedin.
5) Every campaign should have a beginning, middle and an end. Make sure yours does so you can measure its effectiveness.
6) Don’t demand a return on investment for PR alone, it has got to be integrated with sales and marketing budgets and targets.
If you would like to learn more about implementing an integrated PR & Marketing campaign for your law firm, contact us for more information.
A business journalist by trade, Ralph Savage represents a series of B2B clients on media and marketing matters. He provides strategic PR advice, media training and consultancy. He also ghost writes regularly on behalf of FTSE 250 CEOs, leading counsel and senior professionals including solicitors, accountants and brokers.