Around the holidays, I had a great conversation with Kevin O’Keefe who is best known as the brains behind lexblog. When he saw that I quoted him in a previous blog, he reached out to me and we pursued setting up a phone conversation. We did everything right.
My blog linked to his website, he watched for his name being used, he reached out to me, I was honored to have someone with his expertise contact me, and the love goes on. The point is, we did everything right in connecting with other people. Yes, it started out as a social media/social networking/citizen journalism exchange (or whatever you want to call it). However, we connected and learned about each others expertise and experience in a way that means I will never forget him. Too bad that so many lawyers don’t get public relations.
I just noticed an article at the American Bar Association titled “Why Law Firm Public Relations Fails.” Wow, what a great find for me. (Disclaimer, the author is not on the ABA staff, but it was written by a former journalist turned public relations professional). The article references the book “The Expert’s Edge,” which spells out how consistently presenting specific and targeted expertise in various formats (e. speaking, writing articles) will increase your public relations success and get more calls from the media.
Here’s the PR laugh for me. Lawyers are very smart people. They know the power of precise words and how those words can land you in court or prevent you from unnecessary litigation. They also know that it takes time and often teamwork to get those words right. Yet, too many lawyers think that a press release, one speaking event a year, or contributing a generic article on their area of law will make a difference. However, when they decide to follow a strategic public relations plan consistently or find a trusted advisor inside/outside the law firm, then they can expert to garner the media attention that shows their smarts.
By the way, check out the video below. Do you think this is genuine public relations for this lawyer interviewed or a pay for placement?
In fairness, they could look at my blog and draw an accurate conclusion that I only blog a few times a month. Why? Because the purpose of my blog is to force me to stay engaged in the media and let clients and prospects know that we have experience in blogging. One of our account executives did Twitter training for a customer and completely turned it around from a dead media to a proactive one for this business. So, while we do it for our clients with great success, I see my blog as a personal exercise in the media that helps me sell our services. While LinkedIn is the network I am most actively engaged in, if someone asks me about Twitter Grader or Twellow, I can share some practical information on what those are about.
However, the PR laugh that Ogilvy does not want to get is when they set themselves up with a blog title that includes the words “Digital Influence” as it becomes as stale as month-old bread.
The public relations industry will always be about reputation management. So when our industry engages in new media, we too need to guard our reputations and encourage our clients to understand if you get into social media to win, you need to play the game.
On a related note, I came across this YouTube media interview about Tiger Woods reputation management after it was damaged last month.
One thing it teaches me is that TC Public Relations reputation needs to be protected whether we are engaged in traditional or new media. I learned a lesson from Ogilvy, I too need to let outsiders see more of what I do and in the most positive light online.