Tag Archives: TV/Radio

Leveraging Your Reputation: Be an expert

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 has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

You’ve probably been practicing law long enough to know that you are good at what you do, and should be recognized for it beyond just your coworkers, clients, and other attorneys. One way to stand out from the crowd and communicate to a wider audience is to become an expert. If you don’t want to be an expert on a national or international scale, you can be a big fish in a small pond. How big you want your sphere of influence to be is up to you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Define Your Niche and Audience. An obvious niche is the area in which you already practice law. But can you refine that even more? Decide if you’re going to be an expert to other attorneys or if you are going to want to appeal to people outside of the legal profession. Then you can plan where you are going to share your expertise and what type of language you are going to use to communicate with them.

Prepare. Even though you already have a lot of knowledge and experience, it never hurts to get more education and to read even more so that you will be a good source of information for others. Get tips from someone who is more established in your niche, or talk to a mentor. If you don’t know anyone personally who can help, then go online and look at experts’ books and articles to read all you can. Look at what the current experts know, and see if you can add something unique or extra. Or just find out what the average person knows. You just need to know more than they do to give them helpful advice.

Break it Down. Law is a complex subject for many people. A good way to become an expert outside the legal profession is to take a complex case that you have worked on, or an important historical or current legal decision, and simplify it for people to understand. You can also explain what current laws mean in “layman’s” terms. Then post your summary online, either at your own site or someone else’s. There are also various publications that you can submit your explanation to, online or offline.

Outlets. Experts give seminars, teach classes, appear on panels, write articles, post online, publish books, go on TV and radio, have a YouTube channel, and more. Decide what outlet you want to use to display your expertise. Or do them all. The more exposure you have, the more you’ll be known, and after a while, you won’t have to put forth so much effort; people will be asking you to make an appearance or write something for their publication.

And remember: Substance still matters. Stay informed on your chosen niche, develop superior speaking and writing skills, and the combination of your helpful knowledge and experience, combined with your exposure, will make you a solid expert to whom people will turn.

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Working toward your wish list

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-sized 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.

At our agency, we like to give people what they want. When we first meet with a new client, we ask them what their “wish list” is because we want to know which specific media outlets they want to see themselves in. “Oprah” is usually a given. And as much as we would love to give “Oprah” to our clients, with a big, red bow on her head, we always have other outlets in mind that can help us work our way toward those “wish list” media outlets. As they say, shoot for the moon; even if you don’t make it, you’ll still land among the stars.

Morning Radio? If you’re dying to be on a morning radio show, we suggest that you get some practice. Radio producers and hosts want to interview people who know how to be interviewed, so the more you’ve done, the better. BlogTalkRadio is a site that serves as a platform for various talk radio programs covering a wide variety of categories; books, law and culture to name a few. Being interviewed on one of these programs and the subsequent podcasts is great because 1) it gives you practice that can be added to your interview resume, 2) it is great online exposure and 3) the interview can be downloaded and circulated to other media. Think of it as the bait to catch the big fish.

Law Publications? If you’re just aching to be featured in a prominent legal publication, try saturating the legal blog world first. Not many people realize this, but reporters and editors read blogs to get ideas for their articles and stories. You can saturate in two ways: 1) Start your own legal blog. Find your niche and stick with it, offering quality advice and unique commentary. 2) Connect with other legal blogs and ask if they’d be interested in featuring your take on legal best practices or doing a Q&A or even a guest blog post. Being featured in a prominent legal blog gives legal publications a reason to come looking for you.

Television? Do you dream of a slot on primetime television? This may be a sign that you need to be more active on YouTube. We’ve all heard the stories: YouTube sensations, videos hitting the million-views mark in one day, going viral, viral, viral. But you don’t need to have a million views for your YouTube video to be a successful tool. Perhaps it is a legal tip of the week. Or footage of your most recent speaking engagement. Or maybe you stage a mock interview a couple employees. Get creative, get in front of a camera and prepare for primetime.

Reputation management

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-sized 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

Picture this scenario: A verdict is rendered. The opposing side goes to the media with misleading information about the case. The media reports stories containing this misleading information. Your firm’s and your client’s reputations suffer due to these stories. What do you do?

You roll up your sleeves and get down to business, that’s what. With online news easily accessible and streaming in real-time, the misleading stories have a good chance of popping up first when your firm’s name is typed into a search engine. Take control of your reputation and consider the following crucial steps to enact in order to counter the potential effects of misleading information and bad publicity.

Research

The first step is to find each article that contains the misleading or factually inaccurate information. Using Google News or Yahoo! News is a good starting point. Collect all the articles and compile the reporters’ names and contact information. Often a reporter’s e-mail appears at the bottom of an article. Also, it may be appropriate to go above and beyond tracking the existing stories and research other media outlets where a counter story would be suitable. Think radio, television or podcasts. It never hurts to reach out to media who did not initially cover the story and give them the correct information on your case.

Release

After the media list and reporter contact information has been assembled, we need to tell them what really happened. Consider writing a press release that addresses the misleading points or incorrect information in the story and counter these with the real facts and your own valid assertions and analysis. Sending this release with a personal message to each reporter will help give them all the information they need to write a counter-story. Also, you MUST get the original reporter or his supervisor on the phone to make sure he understands inaccurate information was published and new, correct information is on its way.

Write

It is imperative that you use every medium possible to make your voice heard. Consider social media outreach via your company website, blog, Facebook or Twitter. Make sure all your posts are searchable through Google, Yahoo! and RSS feeds. This increases the likelihood that your story appears first on search engines. Contact other legal blogs about the story and perhaps they will support you in your efforts. It is also a good idea to e-mail all your personal contacts about the issue, clarifying the information currently out there and sending them your press release.

When you’re in the middle of a reputation crisis, it’s essential to act quickly and with integrity. Understand that a story can be negative towards your firm or client but still factual, in which case it’s important to contact the reporter and give valuable information that only you can provide, or your “side’s” analysis. Monitoring and managing your reputation takes some effort, but it pays off when your firm’s or client’s name needs to be clarified or cleared. We’ve all heard the adage “reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy,” so roll up your sleeves and take charge today.