Within the national press, legal and financial firms are
notorious for failing to use their first-class expertise and
involvement in newsworthy stories and controversial cases to
achieve the public profile they merit.
There are a number of factors at play here, but the main
root of the problem seems to lie in a basic lack of
understanding of journalists and their motives.
Legal and financial firms often have little idea what
journalists want, what stories and features will interest a
newspaper or magazine, and few contacts within the national
media to remedy this situation.
Consequently, they lack confidence in their ability to shape
their media profile and often adopt a defensive strategy in
which they are usually reactive, rather than pro-active, and
rely on mundane press releases, that often read like internal
Drawing on our joint experience of 40 years in national
newspapers and magazines - backed up by evidence from
journalist colleagues working in the city, business and legal
sectors, we believe there are some mistakes that regularly crop
up. These include:
A failure to make proper use of your in-house pool of
expertise. This includes staff who can comment on topics of
the day, as well as reports, cases, and on-going research
that is newsworthy, or could form part of a piece of analyses
or a feature.
Fear and unfamiliarity with the national media. Too often
firms stick to trade magazines and journals, or specialist
websites, rather than forming working relationships with the
national press and broadcasters.
Badly written and poorly distributed press releases,
reports and notices. Relying on your internal website and
randomly emailing or posting out press releases is usually a
waste of time, and a wasted opportunity.
Acting like a rabbit caught in the headlights and giving
a "no comment" response is usually a missed
opportunity. Unless you are legally bound to stay quiet, then
you should be looking to take advantage of press interest.
Saying nothing will not make the story go away. Although it
is important to say the right things - and that means having
a strategy, not just making something up on the phone.
Not registering with national newspaper specialists and
business desks as a source of good news stories, ideas or
quotes. By upping your PR game you can move from a state of
near-anonymity among the national press towards a position
where you would be approached for comments on stories and
Lacking a focused...