On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Janet Falk, a Wall Street securities analyst turned PR professional, and the founder of Falk Communications and Research. Falk Communications and Research provides media relations, public relations, and marketing strategy for revenue growth for attorneys, as well as other professional consultants.
Janet says, “If you want to be seen, you want to be in the venue, or on the platform, or in the publication where your target market is looking for resources and information. That may be on social media, but recognize that you have to tag it and re-promote it repeatedly in order to get the attention of the people who are looking there. The reason why you want to be in print media is because print lives in print and online, so it’s like you’re getting two for the price of one.”
We chat about why media relations is relevant, even in today’s “social” world, and the importance of leveraging PR to promote your firm, as well as:
- Positioning yourself as an expert thru third-party publications
- The advantages of outsourcing your PR
- The benefits of e-newsletters as a means of self-promotion
- Advice for attorneys who are seeking more visibility
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Davina Frederick: Hello, and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelmed, so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to be our guest today. So let’s get started. Let’s welcome Janet L. Falk, Founder of Falk Communications and Research. Falk Communications and Research provides Media Relations, public relations and marketing strategy for revenue growth for Attorneys and other professional consultants. Janet tells me that making your phone ring is her biggest thrill. So we’re super excited today, with some tips on how to do just that for her. Again, welcome, Janet. We’re so happy to have you on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast.
Janet Falk: Davina, it’s my pleasure to speak with you and your colleagues.
Davina: Oh, great. So why don’t you start out by telling us I love having women guest on the show, who have been in business for themselves for many years who’ve been in the professional growth for many years, and getting them to share their journey of how they got to where they are now. So could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this line of work?
Janet: Okay, my pleasure doing this. I am a public relations and marketing communications professional. As you mentioned, I work primarily with attorneys who have a solo practice, or are members of a small firm. And by small, I mean fewer than 50 attorneys. And I’ve been doing this now, since January of 2009. The reason I can date it so specifically, is because I was working for a public relations agency, whose major client was an M law 50 firm. And due to the financial crisis, they cut their marketing budget. And so myself and another staff were laid off. And actually loss of business, loss of budget cut, restructuring. layoff has been a recurring theme through my career, and through the careers of many of my colleagues in communications.
So prior to working in public relations, I actually started my career as a college professor of Spanish language and literature. And then I took an intensive Executive MBA course, and worked on Wall Street as a securities analyst for about three years. In that role, I saw that I was always interviewing the CFO or the investor relations contact. And I thought, this is like teaching, I could do this job, because I understood the financials. And I was going to have to explain this to other people in the regular investment reports that I was writing. So I took a class in Investor Relations and networked my way into a job at the same public relations agency as one of my classmates.
And so that began my career in public relations. I’ve worked at agencies, I’ve worked at nonprofits, I’ve worked on staff at Wall Street firms. And as I said, You know, I worked with an agency whose client was a law firm. And from there, I set up my own business, but in between that whole run up between 1989 and today, I have periodically been on my own working independently as a consultant until I found the next opportunity. So there you have it, I have been working as a consultant for quite some time, interrupted from time to time by periods of paid employment.
Davina: Right, right. Okay, great. I love that story. And I relate to it. And I’m sure a lot of other people listening will as well because our careers can be quite a journey that we never really expect when we start out on them all kinds of surprises along the way. But it sounds like he’s really using those to your advantage. And I love talking with women who started their own business because it takes such courage to do so. Tell us, I want everybody to really understand you. And I know what Media Relations, public relations and content marketing and marketing strategy and Communications is all about. But why don’t you kind of give us a little brief description of those and maybe differentiate them for us. So we can know, people listening can understand the lingo.
Janet: Okay, so media relations is the contact between the individual and members of the press, and those good Be reporters that newspapers, reporters that industry magazines, which might be you know, legal publications, or it might be publications that target the retail market or the financial services market. It might be podcasters, such as yourself, it might be broadcast media, such as radio and television. So, media relations is the sum total of the relation between the potential speaker or the source and the contact at the media outlet. Now, public relations is the mutual is the strategic communications process between an entity and their designated audiences to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. So public relations is much larger than Media Relations.
Public Relations includes identifying who are the individual audiences that you want to be in touch with. So they may be your current customers, they may be your potential customers, they may be other competitors in the industry, they may be regulators and legislators, they may be members of the community in which your operations are located. They may be your vendors, they may be your referral sources, they may be your employees, you can see Davina, it’s a very large circle. Who your audiences might be. So public relations is the strategic communications process of engaging with these different specific audiences to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Now, marketing is somewhat different, because marketing is oriented towards the actual transaction. And content marketing is that information which you develop and share with your designated audiences, to bring them to the point of inquiring or transacting that business relationship.
Davina: That’s what’s wonderful. And thank you so much for explaining that I think that will help people wrap their mind around it. Because I think a lot of times, you know, we tend to use these phrases interchangeably, especially, you know, if you’re not working in the industry, and you don’t know the difference between them. And so I wanted to make sure everybody was clear on those distinctions. So tell us you know, one of the things that I think is going to be a question in the minds of a lot of attorneys listening this, especially if they’re solos, or small, firm, is, there’s been such a shift and change in the way we communicate and the way we market over the last several years with the introduction of social media and podcasting. And, and so they might think of media relations, public relations, you know, as being sort of this outdated, you know, like my father’s law firm, had public relations and contacted media people to get an article in the newspaper or something. And so, tell us what, why it may be important for us to have a professional helping us with media relations and you know, why it may be important to get in the newspaper or in a bar journal or something, as opposed to just doing videos on Facebook and Instagram?
Janet: Well, that is a lot to ask Davina. And I’m going to try to parse this out and break it up into smaller pieces. Okay. So the first part I want to go back to when I was talking about public relations, and I was mentioning the many different audiences that you want to be in touch with. Because, yes, sometimes you want to be in touch with your current clients. And sometimes you want to be in touch with your prospective client. Sometimes you want to be in touch with your referral sources. Maybe if you want to grow your law firm, you want to attract new associates, because doesn’t everyone wants to work for that hot firm that’s always getting in the news. So you have to consider who are the audiences that you want to attract? The second thing you want to think about is where they are looking for information.
Now, some people will be looking on social media, but that works only if they already know you. And if you have already tagged your social media approach with something that they are looking for. So if you are a matrimonial attorney, let’s say, and you post on Facebook or on Twitter or on LinkedIn, matrimonial attorney, do you think someone who is looking for divorce is going to find you know, they’re looking for the tags, divorce, you have posted matrimonial attorney. So that’s not going to come up, it’s only going to come up to those who already know you. And, and even in that, I want to point out that there are statistics that show that only 9% of your LinkedIn contacts, see what you post on LinkedIn, and only 2% of your Facebook friends, see what you post on Facebook. So if you don’t want 90% of the world to see what you’re posting, then go ahead and post on LinkedIn and Facebook. So I want to use social media, then you have to appropriately tag it. And you have to do it repeatedly.
So that you can multiply that 9% on LinkedIn, and that 2% on Facebook, okay. Now, on the other hand, if you are in contact with the print media, of your target market, so let’s say you work with retailers, so you want to be in the retail industry publications, right, like supermarket news and grocery headquarters and drugstore, news and chain store age and you know, all those kinds of publications, then, what you do is you get in touch with the reporters and editors of those publications. And you introduce yourself as a source. And I’ll get to that in a minute. But the reason you want to be in those publications is because that’s where people are looking for solutions to their problems, they have a problem. And they might even know that they might even not know that they have a problem. And if you can get your name associated as a source, who has a solution to a problem in that trade publication dealing with the retail market, then they will think, aha, that Davina, she understands my problems, I should get in touch with that woman.
So if you want to be seen, you want to be in the venue or on the platform or in the publication where your target market is looking for resources and information. And that may be on social media, but recognize that you have to tag it and re promote it repeatedly in order to get the attention of the people who are looking there. Now, the reason why you want to be in the print media is because print lives in print and online. So it’s like you’re getting two for the price of one. Some people read only the online version. And some people read only the print version. You know, during their busy day, a retailer might not have time to look at supermarket news or grocery headquarters. But at night, they go home, and they take the magazine with them. And that’s when they have the chance to peruse the articles and find out what are the trends and issues that they should care about, and that they should be looking into.
Davina: So what are we really talking about? Are we mainly talking about trade publications or commercial newspapers, you know, that are for the general public? Or does that vary just based on the objective of the attorney?
Janet: It will depend on you know, how the attorney identifies where their target market is looking for news, you know, if you’re a matrimonial attorney, you’re handling divorces and prenups and post ups and custody cases, then it’s more likely that you want to look in the local newspaper, right? Because that’s where you’re more likely to find a very mixed audience that is looking for this kind of personal legal solution. But if you’re dealing with, you know, businesses of the digital industry, then you want to be looking in those trade publications. So it really depends on where your audience is, whether it’s your current customers with whom you want to do more business, your current clients, your prospective client, your referral sources, and so on.
If you were you know, someone who was in the trust mistakes, practice and you work with a lot of financial advisors, and you work with a lot of accountants, then those are your referral sources. So you want to be seen in publications that they will be reviewing, so that they can be advising their clients that they should be talking to you because there’s been some evolution. In the tax code or some change in the law, regarding inheritance and taxes and estates, they need to update their plans, they should be in touch with a trusted State’s Attorney like yourself. So it depends on whether you’re reaching to your current clients, your prospective clients, your referral sources, where are they looking for information? And how can you best share that information. There are two ways that you can be sharing the information. One is, you can be a source for a reporter to call you. Because the reporter doesn’t know everything about what’s happening in the industry. you portray yourself as someone who has your finger on the pulse of the market. And what you have to think about is how to identify yourself, as someone that the reporter needs to talk to, you have to answer basically three questions.
The first question is why you? Why should a reporter talk to you, Davina, and not your competitor across town or your colleague down the hall. So what is it about you, that reporter should need to interview you about? And the second question is why now? Is there something new in the marketplace? Is there a recent transaction that’s going to affect other companies in the industry? Who is doing mergers and acquisitions? Or is there a new regulation or a new law that people have to pay attention to, and somehow change their own individual plans or their business operations? You have to identify why you and nobody else? And why now? What’s happening that people need to know about? No, but the main question is, why should anyone care about what you Davina have to say? How does your insight help someone else, to save time, save money, or make more money? Right? Now, I come from a wall street background. So that’s why I think about save time, save money and make more money.
But that is how reporters think, too, they want to be helpful to their audience. They know what happened already. Everyone knows what happened already. They want to know what’s going to happen before it happens. So wait, when you can introduce yourself to a reporter, and someone who is looking ahead and has your finger on the pulse of the market, and knows what’s going to happen, and how someone else should prepare, so that they could save time, save money and make more money than the reporter will think I have to talk to that attorney, that attorney understands what my clients need to know. So that they can prepare for this change that’s coming so that they can deal with this pain point, and so on. So one way is for you to be a source for a reporter and to plant a seed of an idea for an article that they will want to inquire about. So they can share your insights about saving time saving money and making more money. But the other way is for you to write an article. And there are lots of publications that are always looking for articles, right?
So this is an opportunity where you have complete control over what gets published, when you’re in an interview, you don’t know exactly what the reporter is going to capture. And if it’s going to be conveyed in the way in which you said it. We’ve all had that experience. But when you write your own article, then you are in control of what gets published in that publication. So would you like to know how to write an article to Venus?
Davina: Well, before we get into that, you’re speaking of locked on pack. There’s lots of back here. So I have some follow up questions for you. Okay, one is one is that in your experience? So when I was talking about social media, and then I’m talking about media relations, and getting published in third party publications, are you I know that it used to be back when I was in PR working for a law firm in the 90s. It was a big, it was a big thing to get published in a third party publication. But since social media started and we can create so much of our own content, and publish it ourselves, a lot of people may not think of a really realize the value difference between you putting something out and a third party putting something out that, you know, interviewing you or something there’s, do you find that there’s still that level of differentiation with credibility. When a third party publishes something it’s a little bit more credible than just us saying how great you are, right? So if you’re doing an article and you’re there interviewing you as an expert, it really helps to position you in the eyes of the public. As an expert, as opposed to just putting something out on your own, are you still seeing that differentiation?
Janet: I appreciate that you raise the point of view? And, and, and yes and no. Okay. And here’s why I say this, we all know that you have to have a website in order to be in business. If you don’t have a website, then people think you don’t exist, right. But at the same time people read your website, and they think that this is a fact, because they’re seeing it online. They don’t think to themselves, uh huh, this person wrote the content for their own website, of course, they’re going to self promote. Right? So although yes, I do believe that the third party endorsement of being interviewed by a third party publication, as you say, as you know, a newspaper or trade publication, yes, that does convey a little more ring of the bell and a little higher standard than self publishing. But at the same time, you know, people publish whatever they like, on their own website, on their own LinkedIn profile, they publish articles. And, and I don’t think that the reader discounts. What it is right, that they’re reading in that venue.
Davina: So I think that’s true as time has gone along all long. And we have another generation that sort of grown up on social media. And, and the servant there, you know, is this, what is the slant behind this article? Or, you know, news, the source, right, we used to be much more of a, you know, a differentiation than it is now, I think.
Janet: I do agree with you, I think, I think I’m sorry, I’m sorry to speak over you. But I think that people are less discriminating. And that’s unfortunate, because it’s to actually it’s to the detriment of the existence of the media industry.
Davina: But as a business, as a business owner, hey, it could work in your advantage to put out your own content, and, you know, get it out there. I mean, we certainly shouldn’t be sitting on our hands, because like, I remember what it used to be like you had to really vie if there’s only one newspaper in town, all the firms were vying for a way to get in that paper, and be known as the expert or the authority. And now we have much more control because we can create our own podcast or, or create our own videos and put them out or write articles and then write directly to perspective, you know, audiences.
Janet: I was gonna say that works only as long as you can drive traffic to it.
Davina: Right, right. Right.
Janet: I mean, having your own podcast is like, you know, if a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, you know, did it make a sound? Right? If you publish things, and nobody reads them, then, you know, you can have all the world’s greatest SEO behind it, and you’re still not getting the traffic.
Davina: So yeah, so how do you help us do that.
Janet: But I find that there are a lot of ways that you can be promoting what it is that you do. And, you know, I did notice that you gave me some pointers about how to promote my parents on the podcast, for which I’m very appreciative to me. But one of the things that’s very easy to do, and that I find more many people do not is look at your email signature. In your email signature, you have your contact information and the name of your firm. But you also have a lot of real estate that you can do so much more, you can put in a link to your LinkedIn profile, you can put in a link to your latest newsletter, you can put in a link to an article in which you were quoted. And that’s such a simple thing to do, put more information in your email signature, you’re writing 100 emails a day, no doubt. So make it a vehicle for your self promotion. How simple is that?
Davina: Right, right. And with attorneys, we do have to be careful about solicitation and things like that. But if you’re putting something there that’s just showcasing, providing some information and showcasing your, you know, credibility, then, then if you’re not saying Oh, and hire me that I think you can, you can do that. You can definitely do that.
Janet: Yeah, absolutely. I speak often with attorneys who talk about the ethics of media relations, I talked about the tactic, and they talk about the effect. And this is, if you’ll have in your, on your website, you know, this may be considered attorney advertising. And if you have it in your email signature, you’re not promoting anything you’re simply saying, this article in which I was quoted exists for is not advertising.
Davina: Right. So when you were, I want to, you know, go a little few steps back, when you were giving us the three, three elements that we need to keep in mind when we’re reaching out to the media. One of the things that I really want to go back and address is, you talked about how we need to, we need to be saying something relevant to what is going on currently, the current events and tie what we’re talking about to the current events. So to give you I’m sure you’ve seen this a million times, just to give you an idea, when I was, like I said, when I was working for the law firm in PR in the 90s, it was a very big thing to them to get their picture and one or two lines in the you know, people on the move section of one of the local papers. And I was always kind of comical to me, because it really doesn’t do a whole lot for you to do that. And there’s such a difference in when it comes to getting a good write up being the go to expert for a reporter in really thinking the way a reporter does, and thinking about how is this current news? How does this tie to current events, the idea that I’m pitching them, or the article idea that I’m pitching them? So do you have some advice on that specifically for attorneys? Because, you know we can’t talk about our clients. And it’s not really, you know, like, how do we position ourselves in a way that makes reporters want to call us?
Janet: Okay, so I’m going to talk about something that took place a number of years ago, it was in 2008. And is simply an example of how being on top of what’s happening in the news can be a platform for connecting an attorney to a reporter. So you may remember, John McCain was running for president, and he visited a factory, which was manufacturing automobile batteries. Now, I was in New York, and at the law firm in Chicago, there was an attorney who had recently chaired a conference on alternative automobile batteries. Well, I got in touch with this fellow, Jim. And I said, Jim, McCain is talking about investing in automobile batteries. Can you talk to this? And he said, Absolutely. And so I made a list of reporters who follow the automotive industry. And I got in touch with them. And I said, here’s an attorney, who recently chaired a conference on alternative automobile batteries. John McCain is talking about this issue. Would you like to talk to him? So why you because he chaired this conference? Why now? Because McCain is talking about it in his campaign. And why should people care? Because this is important to the automotive industry if we can get more alternative batteries out there. You know, I got him on CNN that afternoon.
Davina: Wow. So that brings me to another point is that you have to be flexible and willing to squeeze in? Because reporters don’t wait. They can’t wait because the public’s not waiting. Right. Right. So talk to me about that. Is that something that you’re finding is kind of a challenge for attorneys because attorneys have pretty busy schedules and isn’t one of the things that you know, they struggle with.
Janet: Many attorneys will be able to set aside time to talk to a reporter. It is as complicated and as difficult as their schedules are, you know, when someone calls from a target publication, they will find a way to make themselves available. Generally, I am to go between setting up the time so when I get a reporter who’s interested in talking to the attorney, then I go back to the attorney and I say, you know, are you available between, you know, one o’clock and four o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, and then you know, we block out a time that’s going to be convenient for the both of them.
Davina: You really have to start thinking Korean natively in terms of your business about what kinds of current what kinds of current events that are going on in the world and how your business relates to helping people solve problems that may be coming up and maybe in, you know, going on around us. And that I imagine is where I think that’s, that’s a special skill set for people who don’t normally think like that. So imagine that we’re having someone like you, and your company really comes in handy, because you are always probably thinking like that with your clients.
Janet: Yeah, exactly. Right, exactly. I am looking for opportunities, where they can weigh in, because they have a particular Outlook or a particular industry insights based on their relationship with players in the industry. Or it may be simply a broader issue that people need to be taking care of. Or it may be, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a change in the law or a change in the regulation, that’s going to affect how businesses operate. In that case, the attorney is attuned to the change in the law, the regulation. And so I will tease out from that idea that we should be targeting certain such publications, because they are the ones that are going to be affected.
Davina: Right. So what are some of the other advantages that you think law firms and attorneys would have in hiring a professional to help them with this, as opposed to, you know, doing it themselves, just getting to know, their local reporter and, you know, sending them ideas every now and then what what do you think these, The advantages are in hiring professional?
Janet: Okay, I think I have a greater idea about what actually is news, right? You know, people think that because they have an idea that that’s news, no, you have to show how the idea is going to affect players in the industry. So the ideal for me, is an attorney who has insight, and has a client who is able to speak to that insight being applied to their business. If I go to a reporter, and I say, one, this is an issue, too. This is an attorney who can talk to the issue and why it matters. And three, here’s a client who will be able to explain how it played out when that issue was addressed in their operations. Then, for the reporter, it’s like Christmas, they get everything in a box all wrapped up with a pretty bow, they hardly have to do any research, because they can go to their editor and say, This is a hot topic. And I have two sources who were able to comment on it. What do you say?
Davina: Yeah, so that really, the way I look at that really is the key to when you’re working with a reporter is the more you can give them, the happier they’re going to be. And the more likely they are to call you if you can, if you can really deliver for them something that, you know, all they have to do is edit a little bit, you’re really golden, right? Right, right.
Janet: My job is to make the reporter’s job easier. The reporter is under pressure to come up with story ideas, and then come up with sources and then get them on the phone and then do the writing. And, you know, and all the while they’re being distracted by other people who are going after similar stories, and they’re trying to be the first one to comment on something. So yeah, my job. Yeah, I would have met. But I want to know, I want to point something out here to Vienna, maybe this analogy will help your audience to understand this. So there are basically three ways to accomplish a project. So one is to do it the same way as you’ve been doing it before, which probably means you’re not going to do it because you haven’t been doing it before, right? You haven’t been contacting the media on a regular basis before.
The second way is to do it yourself on top of everything else that you have to do, right. So you’ll have your client work and you have supervising your employees and you have your professional development, and you’re trying to have a little personal life in between. So if you’re going to do it yourself, it’s not going to be to your own high standards. So think about the third way which is to hire a consultant. I bet that you have a plumber that you contact from time to time. Okay. Do you do your own plumbing?
Davina: Haha, I don’t.
Janet: Right, right. So here’s another one. Do you ever go out to a restaurant or do you order meals in We’re living in the pandemic.
Davina: Oh, yeah, I think most of us do.
Janet: Right? Right. So do you realize that by ordering food in, you have outsourced your food preparation? You did not shop, you did not chop, you did not cook. And all you have to do is clean up a little bit. So you have used a consultant for your food preparation, but you didn’t think about what you thought about. I’m gonna make my life easier by calling in for Chinese or pizza. So now I don’t have to cook tonight. Right? And that’s what you do if you hire the professional, whether it’s a plumber, a public relations professional, or food delivery, and you get it done correctly the first time?
Davina: And wouldn’t you? Do you find that they will talk about ROI, since we’re talking about the investment in hiring somebody who you it I would imagine it can be a little difficult to trace back exact clients to certain articles and things but she noticed that when when attorneys are engaging in public relations in media relations efforts, and that they have a an increase in clients and phone calls and and people coming into their business, have you do you sort of help track that data? for them?
Janet: I, you know, I try to. I try to remind them that they should be doing it. You know, there are some people who say, how did you hear about us? And then they say, Oh, you know, I was referred to by Jane or Margaret. Or they say I saw you speak at a conference? Or they say I you know, I really don’t remember. So. So you would like to trace it back to an article or to an interview or to something that you published. But you know, the source doesn’t always tell you where it is that it came from? You know, on the other hand, if you look at your analytics on your website, and on your LinkedIn profile, and you see a spike in activity? Well, no, it’s pretty clear that that spike wasn’t there the other day, it was there after such and such an event took place.
Davina: Right? So I mean, I have an exciting time to be in public relations, because there are so many more outlets now, for people with things like podcasts that we didn’t have before. Are you finding that you’ve got a lot more choices about who to reach out to?
Janet: I have more choices. Yes, this is true. But I also have more competition. There are six times as many public relations professionals, as there are reporters. So the media industry is shrinking. And the demand for placement is growing. So you can see what a mismatch that is.
Davina: Right? Right. So how do you overcome that challenge?
Janet: I’m persistent. I keep at it, and I find different angles. And I keep at it until somebody says no, basically, but at the same time, I don’t want a reporter to feel that I’m stalking them. So I email someone, and then I call them. And at the moment that I call them, I send a second email. So now I’m on their phone, and I’m in their email. And you know, after three touches, you know, I think that that’s enough. I don’t want a reporter to feel that I’m hounding them. But at the same time, you know, reporters are very busy. If you’re getting 100 emails a day, and there are six times as many public relations professionals as there are reporters, then a reporter is getting, you know, 500 emails a day. So you have to find a way to stand out and to be persistent, and you know, to get the reporters attention, and you don’t know if they’re working on another story, or they’re on deadline, and they can pay attention to you. But at the same time, it may be that they’ve caught whatever it is that you have, and they’ve put it in a file, and they’re going to follow up at some future date.
Davina: Mm hmm. So I mean, again, I think you’re making a case for why people need someone else to help them with this because it’s not something if you’re trying to run your law firm and be an attorney, you know, to add that to your plate would really feel overwhelming. Let’s talk about I know you also help with LinkedIn profiles and newsletters. I’m assuming e newsletters right. And why do you think those are Why do you think the E newsletters are a good thing?
Janet: Okay, I’m so glad to ask that because my newsletter of the month is voted for email and not for social media. Now, you remember I mentioned that only 9% of LinkedIn contacts and 2% of Facebook friends are going to see what you post there. But on the other hand, 90%, or more of the people who subscribe to your email newsletter are going to get it. Right, if you use one of the major service providers, whether it’s MailChimp or Constant Contact, then it goes through the other person’s Outlook or whatever email client they’re using, and 90% of the time, they will receive it. Now, you can hope that they’re going to read it. But if they don’t read it, at least it was in their inbox, and they had to see your name in order to click on it and delete it. And you would hope for a 20 to 25% open rate of people who actually do read your email newsletter.
The value of a newsletter is that you can precisely target who it is that you’re talking to right, your email subscriber list. In fact, I have two lists, I have my general business list, and I have my attorney list. And they get slightly different newsletters that I tailor to their interest. So you have control over who is going to see your newsletter, as opposed to some LinkedIn or Facebook algorithm. And the second thing is you have total control over the content, because you are developing the content. If you work for an organization where you have to put it through review or compliance, then, you know, you want to make sure that it meets those standards, and so on. And, and finally, that email lives in the person’s inbox until they delete it. So they may see it that very day. They may see it two days from now, because they were working on a case or they were in court, they were on deadline. But eventually, it’s going to get seen so I think it’s very valuable to have an email newsletter.
Another thing is that you can use the content of your email newsletter, and repurpose it in a variety of ways. So at the start of the pandemic, I created a series of newsletters, which basically were an aggregation of previous newsletters on a similar topic. So here I was taking the same content and providing it to my subscribers in a different way. And if some of them were subscribers from five years ago, and if some of them were subscribers from only two months ago, now they were able to see, you know, so much of this material, so that they were able to take action by viewing the same content of my newsletter. And I keep all my newsletters on my website. So if you subscribe to my newsletter in October, you can read what I wrote in January. A lot of people don’t do that. And that is a real mistake. If you put a if I go to your website, and within 10 seconds, it says subscribe to my newsletter. You know, with apologies to Carly Rae Jepsen, Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. So why should I subscribe to your newsletter? Maybe. Right?
So I want to see your newsletter before I decide whether or not I want to subscribe to it. Because if you’re not going to treat me as the same as everybody else who’s a subscriber, if I’m going to feel I’m a second class subscriber, because I can’t see what you wrote before. Maybe what you wrote in January is relevant to me now in October, but you’re not letting me see it. So I think it’s very important to have a newsletter, at least quarterly, if not monthly, so that you can be in the nose. And under the eye of the people who are reading your newsletter is that click on it, and you have more than 25% open rate. That’s fantastic. But in any event, they will see it and you can use your newsletter content and repurpose it, whether it’s for articles in a trade publication, or speaking on a webinar or anything else. I think I mentioned before at the top of the conversation that I appreciated getting the tips for preparing for this interview with you Davina and that I had similarly written an article about how to prepare for a podcast and you can bet I’m using those tips No, in our conversation.
Davina: Right, right. Right. I completely agree with you about the value of a newsletter and I recommend my clients to sit amounts more frequently than quarterly. So at least once a month, I tend to, like twice a month for attorneys. And often attorneys will say to me, Well, you know, they freak out because they Oh, that’s so that’s a lot, you know that people are going to get sick of me sitting them out. And I’m like, No, no, no, no, you don’t understand. If there’s so much information coming at us the day that we don’t, we have to be in front of people regularly and consistently, frequently and consistently, to even be noticed. And, and what you’re wanting to do is you’re wanting to constantly sort of be in front of your, what I recommend to my clients and say, email attorneys can generally send out to past clients, current clients, people who’ve signed up for their list and family members and attorney colleagues, right.
So if you, if your client has worked with you in the past, you’re definitely going to want to keep reminding them that you’re there, and you’re there to help them when something comes up in their lives. And to think that they, you know, will automatically just come back to you because you’ve handled something for them before, it’s just not the case that a lot of people will just reach out to whoever happens to be in front of them at the moment. So there’s so much value in that. And also just in positioning yourself as an expert, like she talks about when you’re sharing tips on, you know how to prepare for a podcast? Well, you know, people are gonna look at you as an authority. And so it’s the same way with attorneys, if they’re sharing information about their area of expertise, people are going to look at them as the authority and it’s going to be a no brainer to call them when they face problems again, in their lives. So I completely agree with you about the value of that.
Janet: Right? Now, I often say at the end of the day. How do you? How do you notice who gets in the news, right? If you’re reading an article, and it’s about one of your competitors, I’m sure your attorney client is thinking, why are they talking to her? Not me. I know everything about that subject, right. And reporters call the people they know, they don’t call attorneys that they’ve never heard of, because they don’t know why they should call them and what they would have to say about a subject. So if reporters called the people they know, then who the clients call clients called the people that they know and that they’re reminded of, because they keep themselves top of mind. And one more person, conference organizers, conference organizers call the people they know, they call the people who have spoken before, or the people who contact them with an idea for a panel.
Davina: Right. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. All great advice you shared with us today. And I know you were just a wealth of knowledge, but we’ll need to end in just a moment. But before we do, I would love it if you could just share some, you know, one or two insider secrets. That that you think would be really important for attorneys to know, when they’re seeking more. Press, more visibility.
Janet: Okay, so I would try to be more quotable and more memorable when you are talking with a reporter. And for that, I use the four A’s, which are acronyms. So you can use an acronym that everybody knows, like ASAP. Or you can make up your own acronym, and then you have to explain it. So acronym, then the next one is analogy. So you can compare a situation to something else. Right? Remember, I referred to putting together an idea and attorney and a client as a source. And I said, it’s like Christmas, it comes in a box all wrapped up with a beautiful bowl. So acronym analogy. Here’s another one anecdote, you’ll remember I spoke about how I got an attorney interested in alternative automobile batteries on CNN, to talk about an issue that was in the news at the time. And then the fourth one, acronyms, and a D, anecdote, alliteration. You see how they all start with a. So that makes it easy to remember the four A’s. So in speaking with a reporter, you want to make sure that you are the one that gets quoted in the story, because the reporter might not talk only to you. They might talk to your colleague down the hall, they might talk to your competitor across town. So if you want to be the one in the story, then you have to be quotable and memorable. And using the four A’s of acronyms, analogy, anecdote and alliteration will help you to stand out in the reporter’s mind.
Davina: Mm hmm. Wonderful, wonderful advice. So tell us how we can find out more about you and about your thought communications and research and also how we can connect with you if we want to.
Janet: Okay, my website is my name, janetlfalk.com. I’m active on LinkedIn. And I’m active on Twitter. And I have, as I’ve mentioned, a monthly newsletter, where I share tips and best practices on Public Relations and Marketing Communications. And I also have an ebook, which is about how to introduce yourself to reporters, so that you will be the one that the reporter calls and you can download that from my website.
Davina: Okay, great. Terrific. Thanks so much. We really appreciate you sharing that resource with us and, and just being here today, and really shedding some light on this area that a lot of attorneys probably are not thinking about when it comes to promoting their business. So, thanks so much for being here, Janet.
Janet: I’ve really enjoyed our conversation, Davina. It’s been great.
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