Public Relations: The holidays are a natural time to be visible
By Ellen Keiley
The holidays are a perfect time to focus on public relations (PR). This is the time of year when budgets are being set and current, past, or potential clients may be considering new projects. Here are some actionable items that will sustain a firm’s visibility throughout the season.
The holidays are a natural time to check in with others, but any message should be genuine and sincere. A great exercise is to update contact lists and send email holiday greetings or invitations to get together. When searching through existing contacts, LinkedIn, prior holiday card lists, and current and past client reports, lawyers are surprised to realize there are people in their networks they have completely forgotten about.
Often, when I encourage lawyers to follow through with this exercise, a new client matter arises. It could be that a company has been considering a project and just needed a reminder, or a push. It also puts lawyers in the position to be top of mind when a client is ready to go forward with its next commercial real estate move, reduction in force, and other matters.
Host a social gathering
If a lawyer thrives on social interaction, hosting a social event can have many benefits. It is yet another effective way to gain new clients. Choose a venue to accommodate a gathering for drinks and extend invitations. When creating the invite list, be a connector, and think about those in one’s network who would benefit from knowing each other. Your guests will appreciate having been invited and will be especially pleased if they have fun and make good connections. In-person gatherings help you stay in touch, gain visibility, and leave a positive impression with a large number of contacts. Another option is hosting a get-together at the law firm, if the firm has the space and budget. It never hurts to get clients, potential clients and colleagues into the firm.
This is the time of year to attend other groups’ events, especially when attendees are in the holiday spirit. Think Yankee Swaps and holiday cheer. Check the event calendars of the associations or organizations the firm is involved with, then expand the search to groups that are of interest. Lawyers who are uncomfortable attending events should consider going with a friend, which helps alleviate the anxiety of being alone among strangers.
Publish an article
Perhaps a lawyer has been wanting to write an article but has been procrastinating. Now is the time to write it before the end of the year. Consider a hot topic in one’s field that would inform readers of the firm’s expertise. Think about which publications are a good fit and get the publication’s contributor guidelines for word count and expectations. If getting started is the problem, create an outline of high-level points, and then write from there. It may be helpful to brainstorm with a PR, marketing professional, or coach that can provide a second set of eyes and accountability.
Taking advantage of the holiday season is part of an overall PR strategy. Seize the opportunities to attend events and connect with contacts on a meaningful level. It will be well worth the effort, and client work may even result! Given the tremendous competition for legal business, standing out is a must. The holidays offer multiple outlets to create positive impressions, and also have fun.
Ellen Keiley, CPC, is president of EMK Consulting Group, a public relations and business development firm for lawyers and law firms. She can be reached at [email protected]