Attorneys know that they have to be careful about what they put online, and they usually use social media sparingly, if at all. I’ve noticed that attorneys limit their social media activity to LinkedIn because they think it’s the safest. However, everyone has to be careful, no matter how professional a website might seem.
Christmas is around the corner, and as usual, we’ve been inundated with Santa Claus. Actually, I’ve seen Santa Claus around since I was a kid, so he’s been with me pretty much my whole life. When I think of Santa, a fat, round, red guy comes to mind, and not a spokesperson for healthy living.
|Cashing in on press releases that generate
negative publicity is simply goofy.
I saw an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, “State Sen. Sandoval’s $68,400 side gig: translating news releases,” by Dan Mihalopoulos, Steve Warmbir, and Dave McKinney about how a politician is making a great living by being a consultant for the Town of Cicero, where he was also elected to serve. What caught my attention was not just what State Senator Martin Sandoval is doing to profit from his skills, but that there’s so much news surrounding press releases. That’s because with the speed of communication nowadays, press releases aren’t as important as they used to be.
Sen. Sandoval has taken advantage of people’s lack of media savvy, and look what it’s gotten him: negative press coverage.
As you know, “laughs” is a part of my blog’s title, so it’s obvious that I love comedy. I’ve been a clown, have done stand up, and have also taken Second City classes (which have helped my speaking engagements, too). I’m always looking to have a laugh after a long workweek, and I used to watch Saturday Night Live often. But not anymore.
A lot of people watch it, and lots of people have tuned in to that show for years, so SNL must be doing something right…right? Wrong. It’s just not funny anymore, which is too bad because they’re on a big network with a long history. But SNL has lost its heart and the essence of what made it funny.
So what’s funny, you ask? I like Newsbusters. Sure, they’re mostly a news site that has a lot of facts and figures, but they know how to make news funny, not stuffy or stale. Which is what SNL is: stuffy, stale, and dead. That show should learn from their older episodes to find out what funny and fresh look like.
Below is the latest Newsbusters video. It just goes to show that online video is 10 times funnier than what we can find on TV.
By now, everyone knows the big news about New York congressman Anthony Weiner: he did, indeed, send out lewd pictures, and finally admitted what he had done after a week of denials.
What took him so long?
It was probably fear of what people thought, including his wife, who is pregnant. Even though it’s an embarrassing situation and could cost him his job, he should have fessed up right away. Think about how he felt all those days and nights. The media kept asking the questions, and he kept lying and making excuses, and even showed his anger towards them.
It made him look a lot worse. Now he not only looks like a pervert and cheat, but the media, the public, and his constituents, who have voted for him several times, think he’s a liar.
Liar, liar, pants on fire…or pants off, in his case. He ruined his reputation, whereas he could have just admitted it right away, said he’d work it out with his wife, get help, take some time off, and do whatever he had to do to make things right for himself and in the public eye.
Now the public has turned against him and think he’s a loser. It’s too bad for him, but a lesson for us: when we mess up, we have to fess up to prevent any more disasters to our reputation. It also lessons the pain.
One of my favorite public relations professionals is Joan Stewart, who has a business called The Publicity Hound that helps other public relations professionals do better work. Her blog has this post: How to work with a PR firm: 15 do’s and 8 don’ts, and I’d like to add look at a few of the “don’ts” more closely:
A few years back, I was working as the local public relations representative for one of the major national mobile phone services headquartered on the East Coast (not to date myself, but this was when combining a cellphone with a PDA was news). One of my jobs was to take corporate’s press releases, edit them to make them relevant for the local market and send them out to the Chicago area media. Many times, the “news” had to do with personnel changes that would mean nothing to someone in the Midwest. Yet, I had to edit the releases, and get them to people who covered the consumer technology news. It was painful and a waste of time. I could have focused my efforts on more productive and relevant outreach.
Wow, does this make me crazy. Many of my clients are very successful professionals. And I know they became successful by making friends and influencing other business professionals. However, some of them think that influence can be used to get a reporter to write something more favorable or give them more space in an article. Part of the value of earned media is that the “media” contacts decide how you “earn” space in what they report. Think of it like bribing a police officer to not give you a ticket, though it might succeed in the short-term, it might get you in deep trouble.
Amen to that. Public relations professionals help shape and carry the message to the right people. I like to think of it as getting news from the President of the United States verses his press people. The media is more likely to run footage of the President making a major announcement than the press secretary. That holds true for any professional that wants to be seen as the corporate representative. The PR person can set the stage, yet the client needs to step into the spotlight.
Joan has a wealth of information at her blog. Check it out.
A few weeks back, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Using Social Networking as Legal Tool. It features lessons and case studies from law firms that represent plaintiffs in personal injury and disasters (think Life of a Trial Lawyer: Boots down for BP Oil Spill Lawyer). A New York-based firm set up the website http://www.bigspills.com/ to capture clients from the BP disaster. Interestingly, as of this post, there were only four comments online for the Wall Street Journal article. (I’ll leave my readers to interpret the lack of interaction on a social media article in one of the world’s largest newspapers.)
The article has several lessons that can apply to almost any area of law:
With the battle of the billable hour and the fierce competition for getting legal work for a variety of practices, all lawyers should look at Sololove Law LLC. This firm spends $12 million annually on digital outreach. While I’m not saying it takes $12 million to get in the game, what I am saying is that a concentrated effort with a solid investment is required for all law firms to succeed and thrive in this marketplace.