Leveraging Your Reputation: Two tools you should have ready

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 midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and is on the Public Affairs Committee of The Chicago Bar Association, where he has spoken at CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Sometimes attorneys are so caught up in the bigger picture of trying to get media coverage for their cases or firm, they forget some simple tools when the media shows interest in their story. So before you contact the media or develop a publicity plan, be sure you have these two publicity tools ready:

Photos. It’s important to always have photos on hand that you can send the media when they want one for a story. It’s best to have a variety of photos ready, such as different file sizes, headshots and even various situations (such as in your office or at an event). If there are other attorneys in your firm who you anticipate are going to get coverage in the media, gather their photos as well.

And if you already have photos but haven’t looked at them in a while, now is the time to do it because maybe they’ve become outdated, or you just want to change your public image. Some attorneys don’t think about their photos until the media contact has a tight deadline and demands a photo ASAP, so don’t wait until you have to scramble. Get your photos set up now so that sending them won’t require much time or effort.

Updated bio. There could have been a lot of developments in your career since the last time you wrote your profile, so take a look at it and see if you have to add or change any information. This includes your own bio, other attorneys’ bios in your firm and even the description of the firm itself. Sometimes firms change their focus and case loads, so they have to reassess their public message. Take some time today to think about the direction where you and your practice are heading. Do the bios reflect what your current purpose is?

Also, once you make any changes, make sure that everyone you work with is using the same description. I’ve seen firms create press releases that had different “boiler plates” (the description of the firm at the bottom of the release) sent out on the same day. It not only looks inconsistent, but can hinder your reputation because the image you’re conveying doesn’t seem solid.

I will share some more tools in a future post, so stay tuned.

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