Media relations, a sub-set of public relations, is a specialty that focuses on getting law firm and their attorneys in the media. That means getting them quoted in newspaper and magazine articles as well as interviewed on television and on the radio.
You build a reputation through editorial means, using media relations. You comment on cases where you have special or unique insight. You provide a contrasting point of view. You share experience that you gained working a similar case. And you do this by publishing articles under your own byline or by getting quoted in publications or on TV or the radio.
For attorneys, media relations is valuable in several ways:
1) It uses “third party endorsement” of the media. If the media are interviewing your lawyers, your firm must be good. Your firm becomes known as experts in their field. That’s good for building business.
2) No one reads the newspaper (or watches TV) for the advertising. Editorial opportunities are engineered by public relations, not advertising or marketing. (And, reporters and editors hate talking to marketing people.)
3) When existing clients see that you are being interviewed by the media, it confirms to them that they have selected the right law firm and the right lawyer. It cements the value of your firm with your existing client base, improving client retention.
In contrast, taking out a print advertisement saying: “I’m smart, personable and knowledgeable. Hire me,” is not likely to get you clients. Or doing a TV commercial saying: “I’m the best lawyer in this field. I have more experience than anyone. Hire me,” would likely raise eyebrows and cause giggles. But when you’re interviewed by a reporter or editor, the entire dynamic changes—to your advantage.