The days of spending time writing a press release, getting it approved, mailing it to the newspaper and television and waiting a couple of days, hoping for the best are long gone. News now is instantaneous. It is a 24/7 beast that must be fed. If it happened last month, it isn’t news any longer. It’s history.
So, how does a law firm or solo lawyer get into the newsfeed and news cycle? First and foremost, what you say has to be fresh. It has to be current and it should affect the public outside of your front door. It should be well written and easy to copy, paste and edit. It should be interesting or unusual. Dog bites man is not news. It happens all the time. Man bites dog is news.
Sending information to a news outlet should be done electronically. Grandone Media Strategies keeps an updated list of news editors and directors for that purpose and many others. If you send an editor a piece of paper with information, you set up roadblocks for yourself. First, yours will be one of hundreds of news releases the media/press receives every day. So, yours has to get read by an editor. What’s the chance of that? Second, the information, once it is deemed newsworthy, has to be entered by someone unfamiliar with the material – opening the possibility of errors. Your press release is edited for space/time available and will likely not be used in its entirety.
The best way to avoid these roadblocks is to send your information electronically, written in a news format, directly to a real person’s email address. Yes, editors and news directors also get a ton of emails. Yours has to stand out by having an interesting (startling) subject line, or at least one that clearly explains what your email is about.
It has been argued that nobody reads the newspapers or watches/listens to the news. If that were the case, there would be no press or media. Almost all print publications publish online versions of their newspaper. Even radio and television stations need photos for the Web site. Furthermore, in addition to readership and viewership of the news, companies that aggregate news, such as Google or AmLaw Daily, follow the news to fill their daily summaries that they publish online. That is how your story gets read by those who do not watch the news, listen on the radio or subscribe to a newspaper.
Once you get into the newsfeed, it is easy for people to copy the hyperlink and share it with others, either directly or on social media. Social media posts grow exponentially. If enough people share it on social media, it goes “viral” and actually can generate more news coverage.
It is time well invested to get your news out to the local news media in the most usable form possible and in a timely manner. Your personnel announcements about a new partner or associate is not going to get picked up by CNN. It will be used by other publications like The Record, Missouri Lawyer Weekly and many online legal news outlets who receive it. The same aggregation occurs in the online legal news business and follows the same cycle.
It is important not to forget to post important news on social media directly. It should be shared on professional social media as well as general social media. Post it on Linkedin but don’t forget Twitter and Facebook. Even if it only reaches your friends and colleagues, that gets the chatter going.
So, before you decide not to spend the time writing a news release and getting approvals because “Nobody will see it anyway,” think about the possibilities of your news about your firm being the news that breaks into the newsfeed. With a little effort, it can happen because you make it happen.
Jim Grandone, President of Grandone Media Strategies can be reached at (618) 692-1892 or at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information http://www.linkedin.com/in/grandone