Thursday, 25 January 2018

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Victoria Moffatt’s top tips for lawyers

Having been in business for 5 years (go me!), I recently sat down to think about what I’ve learned during that period. Cash is king, obviously. Don’t forget about VAT, and have your accountant on speed dial *Hi Darren, Leonherman - important life lessons it seems... But I also realised that a lack of confidence, or perhaps Imposter Syndrome, is something I sometimes see with female solicitor clients when it comes to making the most out of media relations opportunities. I've set out my suggestions for anybody trying dealing with it further down the page.

NB: My advice is focused upon broadcast opportunities, but is also applicable to print or online.

First - a bit of background: I am lucky enough to work with, and have worked with some truly exceptional clients. And I now realise that they all have something in common - big kahunas. At LexRex, we don't seek 'big law', regional leaders or multi-disciplinaries; we like boutiques. Small, agile businesses like ours, run by ambitious, level-headed lawyers who 'get' PR and want to be all over it.

Even amongst such ballsy practitioners though (and I have some BIG personalities on the books), I have noticed a certain reticence sometimes amongst female clients in particular, to grab an opportunity with BBC Breakfast, or jump all over a breaking news story. 

These are significant business women, with many years' experience. They have no fear (as far as I can tell) and will release the equivalent of an atomic bomb to win a case if they need to. So why the lack of confidence when it comes to media relations?

These are the reasons most commonly cited:
1. Anxiety around being asked something they don't know about
2. Concern that they are underqualified to discuss the topic
3. Fear of the unknown

1. Anxiety around being asked something they don't know about
I completely understand this. However, unless you are under the cosh for something your organisation has done or failed to do, and you are answering for it - you don't need to worry.

Media opportunities for solicitors tend to revolve around high profile cases/claims, situations that have arisen which may lead to claims, celebrity or human interest matters, or stories that arise at certain times of the year - 'divorce day' in January being an obvious one.

Securing an opportunity in the media around any of the above circumstances means that the broadcaster is looking for an opinion and/or legal advice. Basically the same as you would give to any client. They trust that you are an expert in your field, and want to hear your advice or comments. They will be friendly, because you are doing them a favour - they are on your side!

Of course, your concerns are valid, but can be quickly dealt with by your PR representative asking the producer exactly what they require in advance. 

Further, a good PR will brief you in detail, can probably find similar segments from earlier shows to show you the format, will certainly accompany you to the studio and stay with you throughout. You need to ensure you do know what you are talking about of course, so read up on the circumstances and ensure your knowledge is up to date. Simples.

Taking the long view, media training is also something to consider if you are seeking to raise your profile using broadcast media. It is worth its weight in gold, in terms of your confidence and also your PR's in knowing that you are prepared to go in front of a camera or microphone.

2. Concern that they are underqualified to discuss the topic
Quite a simple one here - if you are good enough to practise the law, you are certainly good enough to talk about it. Remember that you have paying clients who appreciate your advice and action. Media relations is no different - your advice is valued and your views are valid. 

As I mentioned above, as long as you are well prepared and understand what is required of you, there is no reason for you not to participate in the opportunity. 

3. Fear of the unknown
I completely get this. The first time I went into ITV I was terrified - and I was just the PR accompanying the client... It is daunting to go into a TV studio - but if you're a litigator, for example, in representing clients in court you already do something day in and day out that would frighten the pants off the majority of the population. And if you're not a litigator, it's worthwhile remembering none-the-less that you are still the most qualified person in the room to discuss the matter in hand.

In any event, you will usually have a bit of time before the broadcast to prepare, and if you are providing comments as a talking head, it's not uncommon to be plonked onto a stool in the middle of a hectic newsroom, and recorded in situ. It really isn't glamorous or especially terrifying. I promise.

In conclusion, yes imposter syndrome is horrible and can threaten to stop you from reaching your full potential in the media. Please, any time that you are feeling the fear - try to overcome it - TV appearances get easier the more frequently you do them. Good luck! I hope you've found this post insightful and if you've enjoyed it, check out the rest on the LexRex blog

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex is a specialist consultancy providing strategic PR and marketing support to boutique law firms. Our services include media relations, social media support and training, award entries, legal directory submissions and online/offline content.

If you would like to know more about our services, please drop us an email on info@lexrexcommunications.com.  You can also tweet us LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Legal Directories: The LexRex view on The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners

Here's the LexRex view on Legal Directories...

Legal Directories: The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners can really add value to the marketing mix, and provide a decent ROI if done properly. Used as part of a strategic communications plan they can be utilised tactically to support identified goals.

Case study...
A boutique firm wants to undertake more of its most profitable work (why wouldn't it!), and decides to embark upon a campaign aiming to increase instructions from new clients by 25% within the next 12 months. The objective is to position the firm's managing partner as a thought-leader and expert in his/her field.

Tactics could include media relations, a thought-leadership blog, social media, a targeted newsletter, and a refresh of supporting marketing materials. A directory listing in either The Legal 500 or Chambers and Partners could support these tactics in the following ways:

Media relations: if a journalist needs a quote, statistics or spokesperson, they want to know that their source is an expert. Including a directory listing in 'notes to editors' at the bottom of all copy and in email footers/Twitter accounts/LinkedIn profiles gives weight to any claims of expertise.

Blog, website, social media, newsletter: including a directory logo and/or quote on the blog, website, social media and newsletter may prompt visitors to check out the said directory listing, once again providing affirmation of expertise.

Marketing materials: listings can also be used across marketing materials and especially when pitching for new work. Whilst sophisticated buyers are likely to understand directories, and may or may not give weight to them, for some they are a kitemark of expertise. In the worst case, a mention could have a neutral effect.

In brief
If your firm has managed a number of decent matters over the course of the past year, and you have contacts and clients who may be willing to be contacted to discuss your work, then legal directories may be something worthwhile considering. Don't forget - the deadlines are coming around quickly.

How can we help?
Whilst it can be time-consuming to prepare the submissions, it is possible to outsource the process. At LexRex we do this by discussing the matters that can and should be included in the submission, then we prepare it for you. Alternatively you can write the content and we'll provide a reviewing service.

Don't forget that Victoria Moffatt, who leads on directory submissions, is an ex-solicitor so this isn't a difficult process for us. We can also can assist with client/contact liaison for the referee element of the submission. And of course, we support the media relations side of things when the directories are published.

We hope you enjoyed our thoughts on Legal Directories and how they can help to support your communications efforts.

If you enjoyed this post, check out the others on the LexRex blog

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex is a specialist consultancy providing strategic PR and marketing support to boutique law firms. Our services include media relations, social media support and training, award entries, legal directory submissions and online/offline content.

If you would like to know more about our services, please drop us an email on info@lexrexcommunications.com.  You can also tweet us LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Increasing the return on your PR budget part 1: cross-pitching

If you're a lawyer, and you 'do' marketing, chances are you sometimes wonder what you can do to increase the return on your PR budget, squeeze a bit more out of your activities or receive more 'bang' for your 'buck'. If so, this blog is for you.

Every so often, a news story breaks, a new piece of legislation is announced, or you win* an interesting case that sets a precedent or covers novel or newsworthy facts. As a fully paid up pro-marketing lawyer; you obviously leap at the opportunity to get your face and name on the telly, in the newspapers and talk, talk, talk about your involvement/showcase your specialism/promote your wares. Don't you? Hopefully yes, yes, yes...

Now a good agency will maximise your opportunities to discuss your newsworthy topic, by pitching to a range of different media - TV, newspapers, journals, trade publications, online sources (relevant, carefully researched outlets only though, of course).

Not only will they pitch to a wide range of media, they should also consider pitching vertically (to publications covering a specific industry - for example legal, fleet management, civil engineering) and horizontally (to publications not limited to a specific industry - for example HR, marketing, IT management).

Cross-pitching like this not only ensures your message reaches a wider audience, it also enables your agency to pull out and emphasise different elements of the 'story'. For example, a HR publication will be likely interested in different elements of a case in comparison to a broadsheet. A really good agency will be able to identify the elements of interest for each publication and write comments, or an article, that is drafted to perfectly fit within the readership's sphere of interest, thus guaranteeing (as far as possible) publication and hopefully, repeat opportunities in the future. Being able to identify different angles, and cover the same facts in multiple different articles and secure opportunities in this way is one of the marks of a great agency. If yours does this - congratulations, you're on to a winner!

If your chosen agency doesn't do this, or *horror face* they expect you to draft your own articles, it may be time to sit down down over coffee and map out your expectations.

So until next time, over and out. Look out for my next blog covering collaborative working... See you then!

If you enjoyed this post, check out the others on the LexRex blog

*even if you lose - a good PR may well be able to find a positive angle, especially if there's a chance of it going to appeal, it's a David and Goliath case (your client can be David or Goliath) or if it involves a human interest story.

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex is a specialist consultancy providing strategic PR and marketing support to law firms and businesses that operate within the legal sector. Our services include media relations, social media support and training, award entries, legal directory submissions and online/offline content.

If you would like to know more about our services, please drop us an email on info@lexrexcommunications.com.  You can also tweet us LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt.