Marketing by Interview

By Joryn Jenkins

Like any other business selling either products or services, your law firm requires precise marketing of its legal or collaborative or mediation services. This marketing can occur on various mediums, although one method, which I will call the “interview model,” is often overlooked. A media interview, unlike advertisements, commercials, and billboards, which cost a great deal when compared to the marketing budget of a small or solo law firm, usually markets your firm’s services for free.

Yes, you read that right, free! So why not take advantage of it?

And there are numerous media platforms you can choose to use for your marketing opportunity. People often pigeonhole media interviews as only those offered on broadcast communication, that is to say on television or radio, but interview opportunities can also be found in print media like newspapers, magazines, etc., with printed content on paper (and in cyberspace). Journalism print content can be in the form of news, press releases, feature stories, how-to articles, etc.

Experience Matters

Print interviews, for example, offer your firm the opportunity to share a one- or two-sentence quote that is then used in a print version of media. It may be that a local newspaper or magazine is producing an article focused on your practice area. If this is the case, it is more than likely that the journalist creating the piece will want to include quotes from experienced lawyers. This then becomes the perfect opportunity to get your name out to your local community. Look for face-to-face or telephone interviews with local media sources.

After all, it’s free marketing!

If you’re at all familiar with your local television news station, for instance, you’ll know that it pre-records news packages covering various topics. A news package is an innovative way to convey news to a broad audience. It is a visual form of news that has a story, characters, entertainment value, and, also, facts. Reporters spend copious amounts of their time researching these stories, interviewing characters and experts for them, and eventually writing the scripts for them.

It is not unusual that a unique, pressing legal issue takes the center stage in one of these news packages. In producing the packages, news stations will record footage of your local courthouse, the state legislature, or, perhaps, some executive office building. That stock footage will be overlapped with informational commentary about the topic at hand. But, as we’ve discussed, news stations also want experienced opinions on legal matters. Seize this opportunity to send in a sound bite (a fewer than 15-second clip) expressing your firm’s expert take on the matter.

Again, free marketing!

It’s All About Delivery

Now, let me remind you that, although there are various types of media interviews, it is true that the most common are those on television and radio. Such an interview will usually be recorded in the guest-interviewee-and-program-host-interviewer format. Or you might be offered one of the seats in a panel discussion. Or you could be presented in a spotlight video, a short but salient talking head piece, with you as the authority.

Often, procuring a television interview is easier than it might at first appear. Secure a spot on your local television news station by sending in an intriguing press release focusing on a topic that is of interest both to the station’s customary audience and to you and your marketing needs.

Getting yourself a live studio interview may seem daunting but fear not! Once you’ve sent your local news station a captivating press release that centers on a topic related to your services, you’ll have no problem coming up with information on the spot. After all, you are the expert! Try to keep your speaking points to the topic at hand, but don’t be afraid to stray from the line a little (as long as it’s within reason).

As with all interviews, you’ll want to be sure to deliver your message with high energy, good posture and body language, and of course, plenty of eye contact. Ask ahead of time if you should focus on the interviewer or on a camera, and, if so, which one and when. Be prepared to make the most of your free time in the limelight.

If you’re interested in learning more about media interviews, but don’t know where to start, or how to craft a press release that inspires the media talent scout to call your law firm, click here to learn more. And remember, while the goal of your media interview is to market your firm’s services, you can be sure to have a bit of fun along the way!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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