Awards/Rankings, Writing Advice

Essential Guide to Successful Editorial NominationsFeatured

When I started working for law firms in 2001, I never imagined that my typical day would be focused on anything other than media relations. But times have changed and so have the publications. Today, much of our work week can be devoted to responding to awards and rankings — thanks to the increasing number of requests from news editorial (legitimate lists) and pay-for-play lists and what I will call pop-up publications (not legitimate) that send out requests for submissions. We can all agree developing an editorial nomination takes time, skill and some finesse, from navigating the politics of which submissions to make to compiling the details and facts of each matter that tell a compelling story. This was highlighted throughout the Legal Marketing Association’s recent Los Angeles panel program that featured Greg Mitchell, editor-in-chief of The Recorder; Julie Fei, global communications manager at O’Melveny & Myers; and Kristy Werness,…

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Media Relations

Facts are boring. Stories are Compelling.Featured

The human mind is constructed for telling and listening to stories. It’s just how our brains work. We are hard-wired in that way. Mark McKinnon, a leading political strategist recently told the New York Times you can’t win an election without storytelling. “Good stories win. Campaigns without a story lose.”  Noted trial lawyer Gerry Spence told a group of lawyers they will only capture a jury’s attention if they present their case as a story. “Of course it is all story telling — nothing more. It is the experience of the tribe around the fire, the primordial genes excited, listening — the old warrior, his voice alive, rising with the flames, now whispering away, hinting at the secret …” The same principle is true for public relations professionals. A PR professional succeeds when he or she develops a convincing story, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Yes, reporters like data and survey results, but…

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Social Media, Writing, Writing Advice

When to choose Vanilla Ice Cream over Rainbow Sherbet

I had lunch yesterday with Katie Wagner who owns Katie Wagner Social Media in Orange County, California. Our lively conversation over veggie burgers about posting content on social media turned to how creativity in writing can often get in the way of communicating a client’s message. We agreed that there are times when creativity works and other times when it’s better to just be straightforward – even when vanilla does not seem as exciting option. To understand the advantages of straightforward writing, look no further than The Elements of Style, the “writer’s bible” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White that was originally published nearly 100 years ago. Strunk and White say: Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not…

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Public Relations

Sing Your Praises (to Me!)

As a legal PR professional, like any other professional, I want to do my job as well as I can. But, I can’t do it without the help of my clients. We want to be able to showcase all of the great things that our lawyer clients are doing and to make them look as good as possible, as often as possible. And can’t do much of anything to help them succeed unless we know what they’ve been doing, what cases they’ve been pursuing and what victories they’ve had. So, during this season of gratitude and giving, please keep us in the loop and share some love with us. It’s like the themes of so many songs: You and I must make a pact. Let’s stay together. We know that you’re taking care of business and feeling those good vibrations every day. We fully appreciate that you work hard for…

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Media Relations, Media Strategy, Uncategorized

If Legal Services Were Like Burritos

  I get Nation’s Restaurant News’ daily newsletter to monitor what is happening in the food industry which got me thinking about the differences, and similarities, between the legal and food industries. While I don’t represent the food & beverage industry, plenty of my lawyer clients do. My PR colleagues in the restaurant business think their jobs are getting more difficult for any number of reasons. The most important one is that the industry is undergoing a bit of a shake-out, with more restaurants pursuing fewer diners. In some ways, the legal industry has the same phenomenon: more competition for fewer marquee clients and a blurring of real differentiation across a wide swath of firms. The Washington Post reported earlier this year that “there are fresh signs of trouble for established restaurants. Based on sales and guest count data from some 22,000 restaurant locations, BlackBox Intelligence says same-store traffic to these…

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Content, Content Marketing, Journalism

Holding Law Firms Hostage with Sponsored Content

Plenty of legal publications like to write profiles of in-house corporate general counsels. Editors and publishers know their readers are interested in finding out what it’s like to guide the legal function of a major company like Google or General Motors. And GC’s of smaller companies are interesting because of the diverse nature of their work and they often have interesting and unusual backgrounds and experiences. For corporate PR professionals these outlets can be excellent opportunities to showcase their top in-house talent. However, some publications have emerged that appear to be unbiased news outlets but function more as “sponsored content” or “custom publishing.” That means they are essentially advertising material just as a company would produce a glossy brochure highlighting a new product or service. Vanguard magazine, recently founded by TrueLine Publishing Co. appeals to its clients with the tagline “Your Story, Here.” On its blog, it describes itself as being “dedicated exclusively to the…

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