Legal marketing supremo Liz Whitaker thinks social media has completely changed the role of “traditional” PR.
A firm’s relationships with the media used to be much more “intense” in the days when they were the only conduit for pushing the firm’s stories.” Liz has been marketing and promoting law firms as long as I have, and we both remember the days when (ahem, this really shows our age...) when lawyers didn’t even have websites, let alone any social media channels. So at that time, apart from direct mail, press really was the only way to get their news out there. And that could be quite a challenge if the story just wasn’t that interesting to journalists (but hey, that’s where we honed our creative skills, finding interesting angles to turn boring news into something intriguing and publishable), or if the journalist allocated to cover your firm had a very different perspective on the story from you. In contrast, Liz says “Today, if I have an appointment story for a firm, I can get it out to more people and more quickly on social media than I ever could via a press release. And the timing and wording are both within my mine and the client’s control: I could push a story out this afternoon if I wanted to and get it in front of 1000s of people.”
Liz also had some interesting things to say about how digitisation has changed law firms’ attitude to visual communication: “Firms now have a far more sophisticated approach. For a long time clients were way ahead of firms on that one. Indeed professional
firms were significantly behind the curve. But they have now caught up. The Big 4 accountancy firms do it particularly well. Some law firms do it well too... and most make a good effort. Generation Y in particular has grown up with good visual communication as the norm, and now these are the people in decision-making positions in firms.”
This echoes our experience at Kysen where over the last few years we’ve seen our work expand into multi-channel campaigns, where it’s the “chiming together” of press with other profile-raising and business development activity that delivers results. We love this new way of working, not least because it means we work more closely with in-house BD managers as well the PRs. And of course the other plus of working in a digital environment is that results are far more transparent. And that’s very satisfying for us as well as our clients.
Today ...*drum roll*... New Law Journal and Kysen announce the launch date of their joint "Social Impacts" survey of law firms and chambers - investigating how social media is shaking up the legal marketing mix. The survey will open this September, with the start of the new legal term.
Since the start of this year Kysen has been conducting a series of in-depth one-to-one interviews with lawyers and legal marketing professionals, asking how the rise of social media platforms as mainstream communications channels for lawyers had changed how firms/chambers are marketed. You will have read extracts from some of these interviews in this blog. Through these interviews, we have identified a number of common themes, which we are now preparing to test statistically with this quantitative survey launching after the Summer break.
Questions include: What social media sites does your firm/chambers use? Do your lawyers post on social media? What's your own first port of call for the day's legal news? Is social media changing the way firms / chambers use visual props in their marketing? Have you heard or seen new business leads come in directly from social media?
If you would like to take part in the survey, and you are a lawyer or communications professionals in a firm or chambers, you can register your interest here and we will send you a link to the survey questionnaire as soon as it’s live. Otherwise you will be able to access the survey via the New Law Journal and Kysen websites after the Summer. The survey will remain open throughout the September and October, and the results will be published at the end of the year.... blogged about, tweeted and posted on LinkedIn of course!
We're over the moon to see our good friend Nicola Sawford listed in Cranfield Schoolof Management's 100 Women to Watch, just out. We worked closely with Nicola for many years when she was Chief Exec of Serle Court chambers, before she "retired". As you can see, she's arguably busier now than ever! We keep in regular touch and I hear about her various trustee and non-exec-director appointments. How wonderful that her post-career career has taken such a stellar turn.