Leveraging Your Reputation: Taking care of the media

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-size law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

My wife and I are expecting our second child this month, and I’m reminded of how it felt when we had our first: excitement, nervousness, anticipation and other adrenaline-fueled feelings. However, it also feels a bit more comfortable as this is our second time around the baby block. I’ve been taking care of Elizabeth for almost two years now and I’ve learned a few things that will help me with her new sibling. I’ve also learned that some of these lessons of child care apply to the way we take care of the media. For example:

Feed her (tiny servings)

Just as you wouldn’t use a giant spoon to feed your child mashed peas, you wouldn’t send an essay to get a reporter’s attention. Media contacts don’t have time for that. All they have time for is subject lines and first few sentences, so make sure yours are to-the-point and relevant to what the media outlet typically covers. Less is more…effective.

Do what makes her laugh (again and again and again)

Whenever a baby laughs, it seems as though suddenly making the baby laugh again is the most important thing in the world. Try thinking this way about receiving a media mention. When you or your firm is mentioned in the news, make receiving another mention the most important thing in the world. Think about what you did or said that grabbed the reporter’s attention. Perhaps you contacted a reporter with updates on a previously published case or you linked a case with a current news item. Whatever you did, take note and do it again.

Buy her baby accessories (for every occasion)

If it’s going to rain, make sure you have a baby rain boots. If it’s sunny, have baby sunglasses. The point is you never know what the media is going to need OR want. Having court documents, briefs, timelines, photographs, charts and other supplemental materials available can score bonus points with reporters. However, do not initially supply right away. Simply mention that you have these items on hand should they want to enhance their story. They will then let you know if it’s necessary.

You are now prepared to competently take care of the media. Just be thankful you don’t have to worry about changing its diapers or saving college funds.

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