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October 26, 2009

How to Get Free Press for Your Practice in the New York Times

Call me old fashioned, but even with the recent decline in newspaper circulation, I hold a special place in my heart for the old Gray Lady.  For all the exposure that the Internet offers, nothing quite parallels the reach of a mention in the pages of the New York Times, or rivals the cache of a "quoted in the New York Times" entry on a lawyer bio.

Guess what?  You don't need to be a bigwig to snag a mention in the New York Times, or at least, at one of its online sites.  These days, the New York Times gives readers the ability to contribute posts to its local blogs or to cover local news stories.  And lawyers are already taking advantage of these opportunities to contribute to the local community while gaining exposure for their practice.

Consider Livingston, New Jersey-based new solo, Jodi Rosenberg (whose office, coincidentally, is located in my hometown, right around the corner from where I grew up).  Rosenberg wrote this post for the New York Times' local Maplewood blog about an author's talk that she organized for a working mothers' group.  In the post, Rosenberg shares useful tips on how to locate published authors to speak at events as well as information on Workmoms, a social networking group for working mothers that Rosenberg co-leads.  But Rosenberg also discretely slips in mention about starting her new law firm.  Rosenberg's post thus brings exposure both to her Workmoms group (which can generate membership and lead to increased connections and potential clients) and directly to her law firm.

Former lawyer turned author, writing coach and speaker Ari Kaplan has also posted on the New York Times blog, once about his experience of writing his book at the local library and once about family activities.   Kaplan's articles help build a local following, not to mention that he garnered a nice byline with information about his business.

The Times offers another opportunity for lawyers to get exposure and even meet prospective clients face to face with its Virtual Assignment Desk.  The Virtual Assignment Desk lists local events where news coverage is desired, and then solicits volunteers who are willing to cover those events and file a blog post and story.  Past assignments  include school board meetings, a League of Women Voters' workshop offering tips for citizen journalists and a town board of trustees meetings.  By attending these events as a journalist, lawyers have the opportunity to get to know the key players, and even have a chance to interact with them directly by interviewing them for a story.  Consider a lawyer interested in a niche practice advising bloggers and citizen journalists.  Attending a meeting on citizen journalism and reporting about it can get the lawyer's name out in front of prospective clients. 

Does the metropolitan newspaper in your area offer these kinds of opportunities?  Not only can your effort help rebuild the newspaper industry, but you can help build your own practice in the process.


May 18, 2009

What the End of Television Means for Lawyer Marketing

In the past few months, most of us have seen stories such as this one about how newspapers are facing extinction, victims of widespread content available online free and recession-driven declining ad revenues.  But could television be far behind on road to obsolescence?

This past weekend's Washington Post carried this interesting article, "Click Change: The Traditional Tube Is Getting Squeezed Out of the Picture" which describes that more and more, consumers are cutting the cord to their television, opting to watch shows online.  And of course, even those consumers who aren't yet willing to part with their little black box (or large, flat plasma screen, as the case may be) customize their viewing experience with TiVo or other recording devices such that their television habits bear little in common with those of viewers of ten or fifteen years ago.

All very interesting.  But as a reader of this Legal Marketing Blawg, you're probably wondering "So what does declining television viewership have to do with me?  I don't advertise on T.V."  Yet, that's precisely why this trend should interest you.  Because while television is dying, you still have a chance to get a first-mover advantage on those advertising techniques that are most likely to work in the post-television age.  Moreover, studying today's trends in television viewership offers insight into what kinds of messages work with 21st century consumers.  Now, I'll step back and explain.

1.  Positioning Yourself for the End of Television Advertising.

Traditionally, television advertising has been the domain of large law firms or networks of firms.  After all, who else can afford the enormous cost?  Lawyers who pay for television advertising are playing a numbers game, figuring that by getting in front of thousands of viewers, they can capture just a small percentage and thus make the cost of the ad worthwhile.  However, when viewers stop watching television, ads won't be as effective -- and these mass marketers will look for other avenues, including the Internet.  They've got the resources to potentially dominate, too -- by gobbling up keywords and employing high-priced SEO Consultants.

By acting now, you can fight back.  For example, by setting up a blog (as I noted last week, only two percent of lawyers are currently blogging) you can start gaining visibility in local domains and specific niches.  By starting a blog now, you can get yourself comfortably entrenched on the first page of Google's search results by the time the mass television marketers find their way online.  And once on top, it's harder to get dethroned.

Even if you're not committed to blogging, you have other options to establish visibility online.  In previous posts, I've discussed how article archiving sites like JD Supra, circulation of eBooks, and other do-it-yourself techniques can bolster your online presence.

2.  What Do Consumers Want?

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