5 Reasons Leaders Fail at Crisis Management

Here’s my recent post that first appeared on LinkedIn: 5 Reasons Leaders Fail at Crisis Management. 

Please feel free to add your comments below.


Law Firm Marketing Tools And Tips Using the (new) iPad

Here are some apps and ideas for lawyers and law firms that want to harness the power of (the new) iPad to be more efficient and to reach new prospects.

Videotaping Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Videotape your seminars, speaking engagements and other firm events in high definition using the native Camera app. But if you want to shoot, edit and upload all inside of one app, then consider Vimeo, Avid Studio or iMovie. Avid Studio makes it easy to upload clips directly to YouTube and Facebook. The iMovie app has a steeper learning curve than Vimeo and Avid, but it has the best sharing features, allowing you to upload to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and even CNN’s iReport.

Vimeo is also a great video hosting site alternative for professionals who want to avoid the often-juvenile and ad-filled YouTube channels and pages, but I recommend posting to both for optimal search engine results.

In a crisis, all these video tools can also be used to record and quickly distribute a managing partner’s media statement.

Law Firm Photos & Graphics

Use the built-in Camera app, but for more versatility and precision, use Pro Camera. To edit photos right on the iPad, use either PhotoShop Express or iPhoto for the iPad, but please, do NOT stand in front of law books, law degrees or  staircases when posing! SmugMug (an app and desktop) is a great place to post your photos and is used by many professional photographers. Pinterest is also increasingly being used by businesses to showcase photos and infographics, as well as videos.

Taking Notes–Text and Audio

Notability, Evernote and Penultimate are my three favorite note-taking apps. You can use your fingers for all three (Notability the best for this) or a stylus. Evernote also includes audio recordings. Use Dragon for dictation as the accuracy of this program has vastly improved in recent years.

Staying on top of the news

Try Mr. Reader, an RSS feed that lets you stay on top of all the news by topic, practice, industry, etc. I also like the iPad apps for AP (Associated Press), Reuters Pro, Bloomberg, BBC News, CBS News, CNBC and The Drudge Report, because it has so many news links in one place. Newspapers is a nicely designed app to search for media websites from around the world.

Business Social Media Apps

Instead of Twitter, use Tweetbot, which has a better interface that provides quick access to law firm mentions, messages and retweets.

Flipboard — Great way to use Facebook and Twitter for easy reading and posting.

LinkedIn — The top business app was recently revamped and it’s gorgeous. Now you can even integrate your calendar and see key information on one page with minimal navigation.

Google+ — Great place to create a law firm page that connects back to your website. Use it for posting  links from your website, blogs, photo albums, video channels and more.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Pocket Reference — Videos, articles and blog posts from the guy who has redefined sales. He also got me hooked on the phrase “business social media.”


Keynote — Apple’s intuitive and beautiful app for preparing slide presentations, it outdoes Powerpoint. PresenterPro and Present (60 Presentation Tips) will improve your content and stage presence.


OK..this isn’t really for marketing, but to relax before, during or after all your hard work! Check out NPR Music, Aweditorium (great new music, amazing interface), Wolfgang’s Vault  (incredible audio from live concerts for us baby boomers) AOL Radio and Pandora. And if you’re not crazy about iTunes design, try OnCue for your music player.

What are your favorite iPad apps? Please chime in.

Legal Marketing and Lawyer Videos: A Case Study

For more than a decade I’ve enjoyed shooting and editing high definition videos in my personal life. So, in late 2010, I decided to add the service to my LawFirmsPR and Rich Social Media businesses. My most recent projects for a New York criminal defense attorney, though, have received thousands of views in March 2012 alone…9,000 views to be more precise as we write this.

Here’s one that was posted on March 3, 2012 that, as of today,has 5,180 views and 176 “Likes” on YouTube. It also is #3 on YouTube for the search “juvenile crimes.”

And here’s the second one, posted March 13, 2012,  tied to breaking news. It has 4,000 hits and 114 “Likes” on YouTube and is on the 1st page of Google Videos and YouTube for a wide variety of popular searches related to this story.

If your law firm is NOT yet using video to deliver valuable information to prospective clients, then you are missing out on an opportunity to let people get to know you when you can’t meet with them in person. What’s more, the Google/YouTube analytics offered us great marketing insights into how people first found the videos, whether it was YouTube, Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. So unlike some other forms of PR/marketing communication, the data here is measurable. And most lawyers would be surprised to learn which social media site our client received the most hits from.

You don’t need to create a “viral” video to succeed. These two videos not only raised our client’s visibility online but we used one in a media pitch that resulted in a reporter from the Associated Press quickly requesting an interview with our client…and yes he got quoted in the article that was picked up by thousands of media outlets around the world.

To learn more about creating videos for your law firm, please send an email to rich@LawFirmsPR.com or call 646-789-5459.

The One-Minute Video For Law Firm Clients

Here’s a one-minute video we shot and edited for our client, Brill Legal Group, which consists of criminal defense attorneys in Manhattan and on Long Island.

Firms should produce more than one video to increase visibility, which is why we are planning a series of videos for this client and will be distributing them across many social media channels.

Internet Radio Show: How To Use Social Media To Increase Search Engine Results

Here’s a link to my Blog Talk Radio show, How To Use Social Media To Increase Search Engine Results. It airs on Wednesday, August 11 at 2 p.m. ET.

You can listen in over the Internet or call (646) 721-9434.

Law Firm Communications: Three Suggestions for 2010

Law firms planning for success in 2010 would do well to consider how their external communications are impacting their reputation and bottom line.

That’s why I recommend that law firms address these three areas:

1) Layoff Announcements — Many firms tried to hide the bad news of mass layoffs during 2009 only to get burned later by the media and influential bloggers through leaked memos and the firm’s inability to develop key media messages that protected the firm’s reputation. Firms should have a media strategy in place before announcing layoffs internally or to the world. Without a media strategy, firms are left with ill-advised statements like “no comment” or “we don’t discuss personnel decisions” — and other media statements that do a poor job of hiding the truth. A simple statement acknowledging that there were layoffs (without confirming exact numbers), that they were due to the downturn in the global economy (or real estate, etc.) , and that the firm’s OTHER practice areas (e.g., bankruptcy and employment law) remain strong (or are even doing better), is a good place to start.

2) Crisis Communications — Aside from the more obvious crisis situations, law firms are increasingly targets of malpractice suits filed by former clients and discrimination suits filed by employees. These kinds of stories often receive more media attention than they deserve but they can still do harm. There’s plenty that law firms can do to prepare for a crisis, respond to the crisis and to rebuild the firm’s reputation once the crisis subsides. Check out my two articles on this subject from Law.com (October 2009) and The National Law Journal (September 2006) or at http://www.LawFirmsPR.com.

3) Social Media – Lawyers need to get over the myth that social media is limited to boring status updates about people’s lives. Those law firms still sitting on the social media sidelines will have a harder time catching up. What I don’t understand is how many law firms spend so much money and time updating their websites but do not see the value of linking those same articles, white papers, speaking engagements, and new releases to LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to name a few. These are often the same law firms that complain that they are not getting top search engine results. Social media for law firms is about sharing good professional content to build business relationships. But think of it another way. Let’s say there’s someone at a networking event you’d like to meet face-to face. Wouldn’t it be advantageous to research them FIRST on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook before meeting in person? Instead of thinking of social media as something that other people do to waste your time, think of it as a way to do more efficient research on a person or company that could increase your likeability factor — and your ability to get their business.

Litigation Lawyers Need to Improve Communications With Media

There was a report on a survey today that said news reporters who cover litigation are not getting adequate help from lawyers when it comes to helping them understand the core issues in their cases. I’m not surprised. For many years I’ve tried to encourage lawyers and law firms to engage the media and to get out of the mindset that the media is the enemy. I’ve tried equally hard to encourage journalists not to see lawyers and PR professionals as the enemy.

Unfortunately, many lawyers still don’t trust the media to get the story right or allow their PR professionals to intervene effectively. And too many journalists still view lawyers and PR professionals as obstacles instead of resources.

These stereotypes all need to change if media coverage of litigation is to improve — so the public can better understand the justice system. (We all have a stake in that).

The good news is that more lawyers and law firms today understand the importance of communicating effectively with the media. They know that it has an impact on their reputation, their client’s reputation, and the law firm’s bottom line.

But everyone can do better.

–Lawyers can make a little time for the media that will help their clients in the court of public opinion at all stages of litigation. “No comments” and not returning reporters’ phone calls do not serve the client (or the law firm) well. Those firms with experienced PR help in-house or through an outside agency should take advantage of it, particularly during high-stakes/high profile litigation.

–PR people can help their lawyers to build relationships with key reporters long before the litigation. That makes it easier to get the right reporter’s attention when litigation hits. Good PR people assist the attorneys by distributing court documents and other background materials to the media, briefing the attorneys on the media outlet and reporters who might be covering the litigation, helping to draft key media messages, provide media training, arranging interviews and monitoring/measuring the impact of subsequent media coverage.

–Journalism schools and media outlets can do a better job training reporters and producers to cover complex litigation and legal issues. Due to mass layoffs in the media and so many newspapers/magazines out of business, there are less experienced legal reporters and beat reporters who cover the courthouses. That makes this training more important than ever.

–Bar associations can do more seminars/CLE’s with journalists that educate lawyers about how to work with the media.

Organizations like the Legal Marketing Association have done a good job at bringing journalists and legal marketing/legal PR professionals together to have frank discussions about how to improve their working relationships.

Over the years, I’ve been part of many situations in which journalists, PR professionals and attorneys all worked well together and the end result was a more informed public about a litigation matter. I know many of my colleagues in the legal marketing/legal PR world would agree.

What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing from attorneys, journalists and those in legal PR/marketing.