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If you're a small or midsize firm, how do you get national attention for a case you're handling?
We were inspired to ask this question after a lawyer from a small Texas town garnered national attention with his lawsuit against General Motors on behalf of 658 clients. The lawsuit, spearheaded by Super Lawyer Robert Hilliard of Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales in Corpus Christi, Texas, is related to the faulty ignition switch problem that surfaced earlier.
Hilliard's firm isn't small -- but it isn't big, either. So how can a small or medium-sized firm get nationwide media attention for their cases? Here are a few strategies that may work for you:
1. Press Releases
You don't need to employ your own media relations department to spread the word via press release. Companies like PR Newswire exist to provide public relations services, including press releases, but also full-fledged PR campaigns a la Olivia Pope (albeit with a little less murder). PR firms also come with ready-made access to news outlets that you don't have because, well ... because you don't have contacts in the industry.
If you don't want to pay someone else to do writing you could do yourself, there's always the online press release option, but this requires at least some expertise in the finer points of online marketing (if you think "SEO" is an REO Speedwagon tribute band, maybe this method isn't for you).
2. Contact Local Media
Your local TV affiliate is also looking for news stories to fill time. If you think you have a big, juicy case that could generate media interest, contact the station and let them know. National networks and cable channels often get news stories from local affiliates, so if there's something novel about your case, you could very well be picked up by the national network, which in turn can lead to coverage from other media.
Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.
3. Use Your Website to Your Advantage
Obviously, you want to publish news about your firm and its high-profile cases on your website -- you do have a website, right? One that doesn't look like it was made in 1997? Your website needs to be updated regularly, whether it's to discuss cases your firm is working on or just to muse on local or national legal events. Gone are the days when a website could be static; if you want people to care, you have to update all the time.
4. Social Media
By publicizing your case on Twitter or Facebook, you're broadcasting it to a potentially huge audience. It's more effective than calling individual news organizations or even email blasts. As with anything online, however, there's a lot of noise accompanying every signal. It's important to know how to use social media effectively; for example, hashtags are super -- if you know what you're doing. You should also actively reach out to other Twitter users in the same field as you or who might be especially interested in your case.
5. Pay Per Click Advertising
For a relatively cheap and effective way to advertise online, consider Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisements. PPC is great if your case involves something esoteric, like a medical procedure no one's heard of before. With PPC, anytime someone searches for the procedure, your law firm's name will come up in the search results.
These are just a few ways for a small or midsize law firm to get more exposure for your case. Ask a lawyer marketing expert in your area for more ideas that can pay off.
Editor's Note, August 4, 2015: This post was first published in August 2014. It has since been updated.