Get Publicity with Virtual Press Room Best Practices

How you build out your virtual press room can make all the difference when it comes to landing high-visibility publicity for your firm. Your press room is not unlike a library, offering everything to launch or supplement a journalist’s material. A good press room is a showcase of your firm’s expertise, knowledge and quotable source…

BY Barbara Atkinson STAFF CONTRIBUTOR

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How you build out your virtual press room can make all the difference when it comes to landing high-visibility publicity for your firm. Your press room is not unlike a library, offering everything to launch or supplement a journalist’s material. A good press room is a showcase of your firm’s expertise, knowledge and quotable source material. Here are some press room best practices:

Consider your audience. Your press room audience is not a potential client for your firm. Your audience is a journalist who may or may not want to write about your firm. The goal of your press room is to showcase your firm’s newsworthy actions, highlighting the trends or angles that draw on the strength of the firm and its partners, and about which your firm can be an authoritative source. Your material should be accessible to journalists looking for concise information that will help them develop and craft their piece.

Make navigation easy. Make it as painless as possible for someone who knows nothing about your firm to get all the information they need, including contact information for interview requests and additional materials. List press releases under a Press Releases tab, in descending order from most to least recent. List long-form and short-form firm bios, as well as partner bios. Build out a section just for news articles referencing the firm, under subcategories, if applicable.

Send your content out. You can have your information delivered directly to journalists with email and RSS feeds. Simple sign up forms will allow journalists to receive eblasts, newsletters and updates. It is harder to forget about you if you keep showing up in their mailbox with timely news about the area of law they cover.

Time your content. There may be a significant time lag between when the article is written and the time it takes to get on the public. Print cycles can run from weeks to a few months, in the case of magazines, while online content going “live” can take as little as one hour, or less. Think about sending out “hot news” as event-specific emails, separate from a longer, news-heavy newsletter, that your marketing person can quickly push to specific segments of your mailing list.

Offer solid visuals. Skip this step and you may have your firm’s big news represented by a mediocre stock photo. It is well worth the time and expense to provide high-quality graphics and images; clip art and generic, overused stock photos are often viewed as a sign of amateur efforts. Include high res images, in multiple sizes, of head shots, logos, charts, graphs and whatever else you can afford to produce. Be mindful of slowly loading images or video, and offer alternatives.

Include your background. A solid press room is one that clarifies and expands on information in a way that keeps a journalist engaged. Consider including an area which defines jargon, acronyms and terms not commonly used by the public.

A list of possible tabs in your Press Room might look something like this:

Press Releases | News and Articles | Image Gallery | Video Gallery | Biographies | Legal Definitions

Journalists spend much of their time scouring the internet to find story ideas, flesh out potential ideas, grab solid quotes and vet potential interview subjects. However, the sheer number of virtual press rooms crowding the internet means that fewer writers are willing to comb through disjointed navigation, slow-loading content and thinly-populated pages to get to solid information. The most successful virtual press rooms focus on user-friendly content. You want your press room to be among the few that are accessed the most.

Barbara Atkinson

Barbara Atkinson is a former Bigger Law Magazine staff contributor and editorial board member.

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