Legal PR blog

Law firms looking to build trust should devote more resources to local PR coverage

Elina Miezite looks at the potential of regional media coverage for law firms

Often overlooked, the local press can be a great hit for legal stories.

PRs will be keenly aware that clients often possess biased or dare I say it ‘inflated’ opinions of the status of their firms’ stories, requesting national coverage against all odds.

But PRs who are constantly working to deliver good results that fit with the overall marketing mix at a law firm, know it’s essential we don’t discount the potential that regional or local PR coverage coverage can generate.

Given that it’s Local Newspaper Week next month, we decided to focus closer to home and recap on the greatness of local coverage.

Firstly, did you know that a recent YouGov report found local newspapers to be the most trusted and popular source of local news?

The report found that 64% of people trusted their local media, while national media scored considerably less (43%).

Stats by Catalyst 2014 also reveal that local media is the most effective combination for driving consumer action, so it’s clear they should not be overlooked in legal PR. So what can law firms do to get in the local paper?

Relevant local newspaper statistics by Catalyst 2014
Relevant local newspaper statistics by Catalyst 2014

Do your research

Just like national papers, local papers run regular columns and reader letters. Whilst you may not find stand-alone legal columns, legal advice can often be necessary in both business pages as well as more consumer oriented articles. It is worth speaking to the editor at the local paper and finding out how the contribution process works as it differs from one paper to another. In some cases, contributory columns are paid for, whereas reader letters that are often overlooked can still get out relevant messages and are always free.

Local legal PR coverage example from a case study
Simpson Millar generated a positive impact with local coverage

Case studies

If there’s a national significance or the story has ‘legs’ then case studies are the ticket. However, with trust levels and consumer action higher for local PR in the Yougov and Catalyst research, it’s well worth working with provincial outlets who can embrace a local case study and really let it fly.

One of the most recent local coverage examples from RTS Media is an immigration case study which was featured on the Huddersfield Examiner’s front page, alongside a video hosted on the newspaper’s web site and social media pages. Some may argue that a national story would have a potentially better reach; but the level of positive social media engagement achieved (250+ shares from site, 70 likes on FB, 25 shares from FB) by publicising this particular tale perfectly justified the exclusive, particularly given the fact it had a happy ending…

Local CSR

Another way of gaining local coverage is by making a difference in the local community. This is what this year’s Local Newspaper Week is all about – local journalist campaigns to better their communities. However, firms can better their communities as well. Whether it’s a donation or a notable charity fundraiser, local papers will love to cover a relevant and meaningful story which in return will bring any business closer to its local community.

Local Newspaper Week runs between 11th and 17th May 2015. You can follow the initiative on Twitter @localpaperweek and use #MakingaDifference to engage with the topic.

Christina Savage Post by: Christina Savage / Website:
With a strong network of media contacts and in-depth knowledge of professional services, Christina advises a range of businesses and law firms on media and business development initiatives.