Strengthen your grip on these subjects to stay relevant
“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” This phrase harkens back to the days of the town crier, and, obviously, times have changed drastically. Well, guess what: Your approach to public relations (PR) and communications needs to change again.
Yes, I hear the collective “Ugh!” from the PR and communications pros who are already saddled to the hilt. I get it! However, it’s crucial to grow to stay alive. You must adapt and fold new tools and technologies into your already stout arsenal, assuming you want to keep your seat at the executive table.
Here are four ways law firm PR and communications professionals can adapt to the needs of today’s firm leaders and excel in their roles:
- Data: Move quickly to grasp this area. Data is all around us, so getting your hands on it should be relatively easy. This could be web traffic data, firm financial data, information from your clipping service or data from your third-party content platforms like JD Supra.
Learn how to interpret the data, draw conclusions, test your hypotheses and then put your findings into practice to optimize your PR/communications strategies and plans. This approach will surely help you measure the success of a campaign or initiative and allow you to present a stronger case for budgeting for future programs.
- Digital Marketing: The digital marketing and PR/communications disciplines are very different, and this is where those in PR can benefit. For example, digital marketing strategies can’t deliver on storytelling like PR and communications do. Digital marketing, though, does an incredible job of helping you get your message to the right person at the right time and on the right channel. You may argue that the research phase of a campaign can do the same, but digital marketing tactics are more precise and faster. And, they offer significantly more options for measuring success that help paint a more complete picture on the impact of your campaigns.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Why work so hard on your campaigns and ignore how people may find them online? Boost and accelerate your PR and communications efforts with a basic understanding of SEO. As a starting point, I suggest an understanding of the factors that impact on-page and off-page SEO, in addition to having the ability to efficiently conduct and complete keyword research. LMA member Guy Alvarez and the team at Good2BSocial are my go-to authorities for this, but there are many, many others.
- Graphics: I had a conversation recently with Cheryl Bame in which we discussed this very issue. While I fail at anything more than stick figures, PR and communications professionals need to have a strong grasp of solid design principles and how their graphical elements for campaigns will look on any device. Get to know your designer — assuming that it isn’t you — pepper them with questions, and demonstrate a partnership. Don’t have a designer? There are many graphics programs out there, several of which are free, so dive right in and experiment with a few.
Gaining experience in any one of the above is time well spent. You’ll be excited to learn new tools and will be delivering more value to your clients and/or employer by showcasing yourself as a total package.
Want to learn more on this topic? Before the upcoming 2018 LMA Annual Conference, attend an interactive Pre-Conference Program called "Breakthroughs in Public Relations, Content and Communications." This program will explore the critical components of implementing a successful communications strategy using the latest public relations, content marketing and technology tools.
Ryan King's unique experience includes having worked in-house in an Am Law 100 firm, in the media and in a PR agency setting. As the director of communications, Ryan leads the public relations, media relations, communications, content marketing, social media and accolades programs for Ogletree Deakins.
Ryan is actively involved with LMA, serving as the co-chair for the PR & Communications SIG and chair of the Atlanta Local Steering Committee. He has written for Strategies and spoken at LMA's annual conference as well as at LMASE and LMA Tech West. Outside of the office, he is a husband, father to three little kids and a big, big fan of baseball and house music.