This week a small Leeds-based law firm challenged the convention that ‘old news is no news’ and secured a piece of PR that genuinely went viral. Elina Miezite and Ralph Savage report on the success of Lake Legal’s humble Facebook divorce story…
Recycling another firm’s story idea which featured in the Daily Mail just over three years ago, is a PR strategy unlikely to win many awards for originality, but we think our Law Firm of the Week deserves special credit for creating a worldwide sensation.
Not only did its story explaining that idle Facebook chit-chat is “now cited in 1/3 of divorce cases” generate fresh coverage across most national media, the firm actually managed to get the Daily Mail to feature almost identical findings to its predecessor without getting spotted. Perhaps if they’d provided the Mail with ‘new findings’ the story would have been rejected. Guess we’ll never know…
Anyway, a brief review of the story’s life this week begins with it appearing in Lake Legal’s local rag the Yorkshire Evening Post on Monday afternoon. Soon afterwards it was taking the national papers by storm as one after the other started to feature it. In addition to previously mentioned Daily Mail, Lake Legal earned the spotlight within such national publications as Metro, The Times, Daily Star and Daily Mirror. Judging by the law firm’s social media activity, it also achieved some broadcast coverage and appeared on BBC Radio Suffolk and BBC Radio Leeds.
Then as time wore on the story soon found its legs in other consumer press and was featured within such publications as Cosmopolitan UK and technology site Techie News. Altogether, a Google News search for “Lake Legal” at the time of writing indicates at least 32 piece of coverage. However, this is doesn’t take into account further coverage, including pieces in foreign publications. The story went viral that it even made it across the Atlantic and was featured within The Washington Times Online, as well as Russian language sites here and here. (We love seeing Cyrillic prose interspersed with random English law firm brand names!)
Almost 20,000 shares
When looking at the story’s social media coverage, Lake Legal can celebrate further. Daily Mail readers by 23rd January had shared the story within a mixture of SM channels 260 times whilst Metro readers had shared it 790 times.
It’s clear the Mirror pushed the story hardest given that the paper ran a poll beneath the story asking ‘have you ever flirted with your ex on Facebook?’ A whopping 17,429 shares via various social media channels mean this story certainly found its legs with the tabloids.
This story’s gonna ‘Snowball’
Many PR people will have felt that sinking feeling when a client declares their story to be capable of ‘going viral’ or ‘snowballing’ into an overnight sensation. Well, here’s your proof; there’s a serendipitous silliness to the fact that a story lifted from the archives can do so well a second time round. It’s clear that the Mirror’s mischievous poll increased the ‘shareability’ of Lake Legal’s story this time round so perhaps the lesson we can all learn is that to generate PR coverage in today’s digital media environment, stories have to be shareable and adaptable by the publisher.
However, we’d like to congratulate Lake Legal on their success this week. This story has certainly put them on the map.
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.