A press release is a compelling way to deliver pressing legal news while simultaneously highlighting your law firm’s unique value proposition. Due to the regulations imposed on lawyers, however, a firm must be careful with the type of information they share and the methods in which they do so. Press releases for law firm websites can offer many advantages, if written correctly.
As a lawyer, you are probably well aware of the importance of press releases for public relations, but have you considered the immense value it can have for your law firm as a whole? One of the greatest advantages is the ability for it to spark massive media attention. This can come in the form of a news story or even just recognition among the community. When prepared correctly, press releases for law firm marketing can:
- Accentuate your legal experience and expertise
- Establish your presence among the community
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate inbound links
In this article we’ll take a look at the best practices when publishing press releases for law firm websites and how you can make the most of this overlooked communicative channel.
Five Occasions to Write Press Releases for Law Firm Sites
Since it may not be crystal clear to you when it’s appropriate to send out press releases for law firm sites, we’ve put together a list of five occasions which can serve as a guideline.
- Noteworthy (non-confidential) case settlements or verdicts: We advise you to tread with caution when it comes to disclosing case settlements or verdicts due to attorney-client confidentiality, however since a lawyer’s reputation is largely defined by their performance in court, if you have permission to announce a favorable verdict, by all means go for it.
- Awards of recognition from associations: Announcing any awards you may have recently received is a great technique to highlight your credibility and excellence in the field.
- Scheduled presentations or seminars: Have an upcoming seminar or presentation you want to announce? A press release can be an effective channel for spreading the word.
- Filing of class action lawsuits open to the public: Press releases for law firm websites are prime real estate space to publish news about class action lawsuits and other bits of news that are relevant to a wide audience.
- New additions to the law firm: Depending on the size of your firm, it may generate good publicity to announce new additions to the firm as well as other momentous changes including mergers, firm-wide achievements, etc.
Press Release Writing Process
Writing press releases for law firm sites are quite different that putting together a piece of legal content, for a few reasons. First of all, it needs to be concise and to the point. Press releases for law firm marketing are different from legal briefs and other writing of that nature. A press release is intended to be brief, however it should include the following components:
- Date, city and state. These are fundamental elements in press releases for law firm websites.
- A clear, concise headline and sub-headline. Although it should be clear and direct, your headline should also be attention-grabbing.
- Newsworthy information high up. Press releases, as a general rule of them, are structured with the conclusion at the beginning. For example, the first sentence may look something like this: “Attorney John Smith obtains $2M for the victim of a student who was rear-ended in Sunnybrooke by a drunk driver last year.”
- Body paragraphs that explain the five Ws (who, what, where, when and why). In any press release, the most important or newsworthy information is placed in the beginning (the first 2-3 paragraphs). If necessary, add relevant statistics or fact to back up your announcement.
- Quotes from attorneys or other individuals involved in the issue. Quotes help to better illustrate your point and add a unique voice to the writing.
- Contact information with hyperlink to your law firm’s website and a description. If the reader is left with additional questions or wants to retain your firm, they’ll need your contact information.
- Identify non-original content. Be sure to identify any content which is not in your own words or completely original.
Well-written press releases for law firm websites can have tremendous payoffs if it lands in the right hands. It may be worth the additional effort to reach out to local journalists, depending on the relevancy of your news.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this point. Say you law firm has filed a class action lawsuit for a pharmaceutical drug with severe side-effects. In this case, you would be doing the community a great disservice by keeping it under wraps. In this case, it would be appropriate to reach out to media officials who cover public health, medicine, and legal suits involving pharmaceuticals.
Tips for Gaining Publicity
- Send it out early in the day to ensure visibility. You have a better chance of receiving exposure if you send out your press release early in the day and preferably at the beginning of the week.
- Target wide ranging media circuits. Twitter is one of the first places reporters search for news relevant to their beat which is why it’s worthwhile to share your press release on social media channels.
- Optimize headlines and other subheadings. Since it will likely end up online, try to optimize your headlines and other headings with the keywords you’re hoping search engines will pick up and also proper attributions.
- Don’t limit yourself to just media officials. Send out your press release to current clients, prospective clients, business associate, friends, and any other groups who may have an interest.
Press Releases for Law Firm Marketing: The Takeaway
Law firms can reap the many benefits of media attention by publishing a well-written press release. Remember to keep the aforementioned points in mind including a catchy, yet concise headline, quotes or data from reputable sources, a description of your law firm and methods in which to contact you. The headline and subheadings should reveal to the reader the gist of the content and also include keywords for search engines to identify. The greater challenge, after you’ve gotten through the writing process, is to get build relationships and connections with media agents who can further publicize it.
Press releases for law firm websites can be of tremendous value, if used correctly.