What Law Firm Leaders Can Learn About Reputation from Republican National Convention

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. 

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.”

Presentations

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.

Music

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.

General Counsel Echo What Many Legal PR, Legal Marketers Have Been Saying For Years

This is a great piece of video because it supports what many of us in law firm public relations and legal marketing have been saying to lawyers and law firms for years about the best way to get business from general counsel.