As The Crisis Show marks its 2nd anniversary on air, here’s some highlights from the show from June 2013 to June 2014:
As The Crisis Show marks its 2nd anniversary on air, here’s some highlights from the show from June 2013 to June 2014:
I’m thrilled to be selected by Google this month as the first Crisis Management advisor on the new platform known as Helpouts. Helpouts allows me to counsel clients around the world with high resolution video that also allows us to share screens and collaborate. It’s been made so easy to make an online appointment and to pay for your time with me, either by the minute or by the session.
I look forward to meeting and advising individuals, companies and organizations facing crisis situations in 2014 and beyond using this great tool.
On the Helpout, I’ll quickly gauge the seriousness of your crisis, make recommendations and then get to work on the process of protecting your reputation.
That can take the form of creating sharp content that influences public opinion, helping to identify the right spokespeople, conducting media training for mock interviews and news conferences, teaching you how to deal with the media and how to use social media at all stages of a crisis (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and more).
Remember – a few hundred dollars spent on a Helpout could save millions of dollars of lost revenue due to a crisis situation that catches you and your organization off guard and that could destroy goodwill and hard-earned reputation.
Here’s my article, How Law Firms Can Use Social Media In A Crisis, that was just published as part of a cover story theme on crisis management in Strategies, the Journal of Legal Marketing. It’s in PDF format, so please click on the first link above and just scroll to the second page. Of course, the information here applies to any company or organization. Thanks to the Legal Marketing Association for including my contribution.
Note: The article was published right before I changed my company name from LawFirmsPR to Rich Klein Crisis Management.
Please leave feedback/comments below.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find me on Twitter @RichKleinCrisis.
Okay, law firms are not products but it doesn’t matter. When the lights went out at the Super Bowl last night, Oreo Cookie quickly Tweeted out a promo infographic with wit. The Twitter post read, “Power out? No problem” with an attached graphic (at left) that showed a cookie and the witty caption, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.”
Calvin Klein posted a Vine with the caption “since the lights are still out…” that featured guys with six-pack abs wearing their underwear. Both reaped attention, increased visibility of the brands and likely resulted in additional business.
The lesson here is that law firms, too, need to act more quickly to capitalize on breaking news events. That often means not following the plan or script and it also means getting very quick approval – something lawyers often have trouble with.
But if a law firm wants to stand out from the crowd — however you define your competition — then being bold AND timely is a great combination that demands prospective clients’ attention. It may even result in high profile media coverage like Oreo and Calvin Klein received last night and today.
So how can a law firm that prides itself on its collegial, buttoned-down atmosphere be bold and timely?
Sometimes it’s as simple as issuing a snappy statement reacting to a high-profile, high impact court decision. Other times, it’s using social media to show thought leadership/ legal knowledge while demonstrating to a younger generation of entrepreneurs (possible future clients) that you understand new media.
What are you doing at your law firm to take advantage of breaking news opportunities? If you just have a website and no social media properties, you will lose the game before kickoff.
It’s time to get in the game by thinking how your firm can use tools like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Vine. But you also need thoughtful, witty content to stay alive in the game. And yes you can do it without violating lawyer advertising rules.
Naturally, I have some ideas that have worked for other law firms. But not to worry…they don’t involve cookies or mens’s underwear.
December is a great time for law firm partners to plan for significantly raising visibility and improving reputation in the new year.
Here’s 10 actions you can start implementing right now so you are positioned for business growth in 2013:
1 – Fix your biography so people can learn quickly what you’ve accomplished for similar clients in recent years. Did you win a high stakes litigation for a Fortune 500 company? Did you handle a mega-merger that was favorable to client? Lead with your best stuff, NOT where you went to law school!
2– Put some meat on your LinkedIn profile. The same revised biographical info on your firm website can go on LinkedIn. Be sure the copy is about how you serve and succeed for clients and not a laundry list of fancy titles and bar memberships.
3 — Learn how to use the Advanced Search capabilities on LinkedIn to create a powerful list of prospects customized by items such as geography, job title, company, etc.
4 — Consider launching a practice-specific blog. And, no, you don’t have to blog every day. You can post as little as once per week or month and the posts can be just a few sentences or a short audio or video.
5 — Create a Twitter account and start Tweeting every few days. An easy way to start is by sharing other people’s news that is related to your practice or linking to your new blog post.
6 — Record and post to YouTube a 2 to 3 minute video that analyzes a hot legal issue in your practice (s) area. This is one way to establish/expand your thought leadership and will improve your search engine results very quickly. Here’s one we did for a client earlier this year that received 8,000+ views and another that has surpassed 10,000 views.
7 — Identify and secure speaking engagements where your best prospects gather. Want to be a more powerful presenter? Study Steve Jobs and read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. You can also watch a wide variety of great presentations at TED. Here’s one by Seth Godin that is a great example of excellent presentation and inspiring content.
8– Learn how to deal more effectively with the media and consider hiring a professional who can help you with messaging, transitions, body language and answering the toughest questions. (At LawFirmsPR, we now do this kind of training by Skype, including a video recording and written audit, so you can quickly learn and improve.)
10– Learn more about crisis/litigation communications for your firm and your clients. A good place to start is The Crisis Show, a weekly Internet broadcast I started in June 2012 with case studies on a wide variety of crises that touch the legal world — and with nearly 20 hours of free content so far.
There were so many things that struck me as just plain wrong when it comes to PR 101 and reputation at the Republican National Convention that I thought law firm leaders can learn from when trying to convey a critical message about their firm, their clients or an important legal/business/community issue.
So here are five reminders for law firm leaders from PR mistakes made by the Republican National Committee:
1– Be consistent with words and policies. Paul Ryan, in same speech, railed against government in favor of the individual — but also told Americans that if they are feeling down, it’s not their fault, it’s their leaders’ fault. Which is it? And Ann Romney spent much time talking about her” love” for women, yet the new GOP platform would disallow an abortion even if a woman is brutally raped.
2 — Show compassion when people are hurting. As Isaac marched into Louisiana and Mississippi, after doing damage in Florida, Mitt Romney didn’t mention the hurricane/tropical storm even ONCE in his speech. He then mocked President Obama’s concern for environmental issues like rising oceans. Today, Romney is touring New Orleans yet his silence on Isaac last night makes it look opportunistic more than compassionate.
3– Talk about your audience more than yourself. Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico went on and on about HER story instead of talking about Romney and the issues. If she was on the ticket, it would have made perfect sense. But few watching at home wanted to learn more about her..they wanted to learn about Romney and Ryan. Whether your audience is a group of prospective clients, law firm employees, or the media, make the story and prose about THEM.
4 – Speakers’ roles need to be defined and the content of each speech needs to be different. How many more Convention speakers did we need to hear talk about how they raised themselves up from their bootstraps? I expected former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a respected stateswoman, to talk about Romney’s foreign policy credentials. It didn’t happen even though she talked about the dangers in the world. When organizing a law firm event or meeting that involves multiple speakers before an internal or external audience, make sure that the content of their speech/remarks truly match their credentials. For example, the head of human resources can talk to new attorneys about firm benefits while the head of information technology talks about data protection and the head of PR/marketing instructs about the firm’s media relations policies. If you lead a small firm, then consider using expert consultants to talk about specialty areas on your behalf.
5– Everything you say can be fact checked and recorded with a mobile device. At so many points at the Convention, things were said that were deemed inaccurate by the media and beyond. It took seconds for those watching at home to look up an old media story or voting record to call GOP out on facts — and then a few more seconds to Tweet about it. Law firm leaders can sometimes get too comfortable with an audience and say things that are either inaccurate, offensive or both. It can happen at the podium, in law firm memos and in emails. And just one slip up can damage a firm’s reputation if that questionable content ends up on an influential legal blog or in other media. Managing partners and other law firm leaders should treat speeches, meetings or interviews with the media the same way: accuracy above of all else.
Note: We’ll also be critiquing the Democratic National Convention when it concludes.
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.
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.
Law firms that are thinking about improving their websites need to stop adding yet more text to their pages and focus more resources on creating compelling graphics and online videos.
What this tells us is that people are VISUAL. Statistics from many technology surveys continue to reinforce the fact that people are far more likely to stay on a website or social media site if there are interesting photos or videos. That’s true whether your client is the average consumer, a CEO or a referring attorney.
If law firms are creating more text and using the same boring content (e.g., “We’re a full service firm that….”) how do those firms expect to get noticed? Most won’t particularly if they don’t already have a specialty or a trusted brand that started decades ago.
What kind of photos and videos should a law firm use on its website and in social media? No, not a bunch of partners with their arms folded in front of law books or the spiraling staircase. GET OUT OF THE OFFICE. Here are just a few ideas for the kinds of shots I’m talking about:
1 – A partner who represents a manufacturer at a client’s factory, maybe even wearing a hard hat
2 — An environmental law attorney in front of a threatened lake or river at peak foliage or with sweeping views
3– An entertainment law attorney with his or her extensive vinyl collection or playing favorite records
4 — A corporate attorney in front of the shiny new headquarters of a newly merged company whose agreement he or she helped negotiate
5 — A commercial real estate attorney in front of a new shopping center or apartment complex in the community
6- A land use attorney near a rail station
7–An intellectual property attorney at a high profile technology trade show
8– Any shot or video of attorneys attending bar association functions
9– Photos and videos of partners at conferences where they are speaking
10- A group of attorneys involved in a community/pro bono project
Get the picture (or video)?
Once you have a nice collection of photos and videos, find someone who understands law firm public relations and social media to help you select the best shots/footage and to decide how and where they should be displayed.
If you really want to get noticed, don’t just sit back after you have an improved website with visuals. Few prospective clients will know how to arrive at your website if you have zero social media properties. Law firms should be using Twitter regularly. Twitter is a great place to link to your photos and videos along with white papers, articles, news releases, etc. Firms can use their Facebook and Google+ pages for the same purposes. And every partner should be updating their LinkedIn profiles with client-centered content (e.g., copies of articles, slides from your last speaking engagement, etc.)
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.