Facebook’s Feed Change & How It Affects Business

On January 11, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media site’s main goal will shift from finding relevant content for users to helping users have more meaningful social connections and interactions.

The change reflects an effort to improve the value of time spent on Facebook and the well-being of its users, according to Zuckerberg, who explained in a post that News Feed has shifted over the years from mainly personal content to mainly public content. “At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections,” he wrote.

Zuckerberg’s recent News Feed plan may make it more difficult for lawyers and law firms to gain feed time on the social site. To stand out, firms will need to create engaging and interesting content that a reader will click on and share. Firms should also be aware that consumers may encounter content and advertisements less frequently, but it is also anticipated that users may spend less time on the site in general, and this may not be an effective marketing platform.

Paid content will likely still see a larger reach and higher success than organic content, but Facebook’s prioritization and the subsequent success of those ads will be dependent upon the ad’s overall objective. Firms with marketing plans that are heavily reliant on Facebook must reconsider their ad goals, prioritizing those that aim for higher post or page engagement, including Likes and Video Views, over ads aiming solely to send viewers to the firm website for more information.

Ads that aim to foster page engagement and website clicks may be the most successful. For instance, an ad which samples a law firm’s blog might entice someone to continue reading the article on the firm’s site. Sharing organic, original content on the social site may be the best strategy for success. The Facebook post itself might see a high engagement rate via Reactions, Comments, or Shares, which based on the new algorithm (in theory) should result in better performance.

Though digital “billboard” advertising may have had its day, paid Facebook content isn’t going away any time soon. Additionally, there are many digital marketing opportunities on other social media, such as Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and on search engines like Bing, Yahoo!, Google and their networks.

The digital marketing team at PR4Lawyers has a personalized solution to help you grow your practice. Working continually to stay informed of new trends and how to work with them for over 15 years, PR4Lawyers brings clients the experience they need to capitalize on rapidly changing marketplaces. Call 1-866-PR4LAWYERS (866-774-5299) or fill out our contact form.

New Features in Google My Business

Earlier this year, Google added insight reports, tailored actionable buttons (think take-out ordering or hotel reservation booking) and bulk upload spreadsheet functions to its Google My Business features. Though all are especially helpful to restaurants, the latter is a great tool for businesses with more than one location (and, thus, more than one listing on Google) as it enables page owners to collect information for all locations to one central location. For results-driven business owners, the addition of insight reports means they will have greater access to digital marketing analytics, while the other changes make it easier for customers viewing a profile to take action directly from the listing.

New Additions

With the changing landscape of social media management, and owing to the fact that Google+ never quite became the platform people expected, the behemoth company has once again adapted its platform to make it possible for companies to utilize Google My Business pages in a similar fashion to traditional social media. Using the new Google My Business API (Application Programming Interface), law firm staffs can manage their Google My Business account in a more efficient manner.

With the latest updates, page owners will now be able to:

  • Edit location information for one or more pages
  • Read and respond to customer reviews from a centralized area
  • Create and update relevant social media-style posts
  • Add additional business photos as applicable
  • Incorporate a Call-to-Action button, such as “Learn More,”  “Sign Up,” and “Get Offer”

In a similar fashion to Facebook, users now have the option to create an “event” – which can be used by firms, for instance, to promote an upcoming seminar.

Though these new features have already proven to be powerful marketing tools, to be effective, social media pages and listings like Google My Business must be managed properly to ensure positive results. One thing for established companies to consider is the need to migrate Google+ pages to the Google My Business social media page functions.

Taking Care of Your Social Media Profiles

The exposure of your listing works both ways. Though online exposure can draw more attention to your company in a positive way, errors or poor customer service often have a serious impact on your online reputation. Since social media is so, well… social, a business that doesn’t respond to negative feedback on its profile could face consequences from a broader audience of people looking to stir the pot. While many business owners may simply opt to ignore the naysayers, a disproportionate number of negative reviews on one or more social media pages will affect a company’s ranking on a results page on search engines like Google or Bing.

To take advantage of the new Google My Business features, one must regularly check up on these client comments and reviews. It is also important to create and manage a social media schedule that reflects the work and messaging of your business.

Further, customers want to know that your business is active and responsive. Lack of social media maintenance will affect how search engines view your listing, so it’s important to manage social media pages like Google My Business effectively.

Ask an Expert

Though we’ve outlined the basic feature updates of the new Google My Business API, it takes some skill and effort to fully and properly integrate some of the more in-depth functions. This includes:

  • Setting up subscriptions to push notifications for new customer reviews
  • Viewing insights for locations
  • Providing additional attributes for locations (like a firm’s list of services, or its offer of language translation for non-English speakers)
  • Inviting and removing managers
  • Managing service-area businesses

Law firms should consult the guidance of an experienced attorney marketing firm that specializes in social media and reputation management for legal entities. Our team of social media managers work to continually grow their skills to keep ahead of changes in the industry. We can help you develop your Google My Business page, or re-develop your existing Google+ and Google My Business pages to take full advantage of the latest updates.

Contact us at info@p4rlawyers.com or call us directly at 631-207-1057, ext. 107.

Email Marketing Practices for Lawyers

There are a lot of online articles discussing the best plan of action for an email marketing campaign, but some marketing channels may not necessarily apply to the legal profession. In an effort to save you time, we’ve shared some tips on email marketing specific to the field of law.

Some have come to associate email marketing with spam, resulting in a poor view of the company or firm that sends the email. However, when certain tactics are implemented correctly, email marketing can be a means to provide useful and interesting content to current and prospective clients. This, in turn, will help you attract new clients while helping to retain current ones. Word of mouth is extremely important in the legal industry, and successful email marketing can be one way to increase referrals by keeping your name in front of clients and contacts with relevant, useful information.


Quick Tips

  • Send Out Frequently
    E-newsletters should be sent out monthly or at least quarterly.
  • Don’t Blast from Home
    Don’t send to hundreds or thousands of people from your personal or work email. Use a different domain name from that which you normally use, especially if you are sending unsolicited emails.
  • Create Valuable Content
    Don’t clog up your e-newsletter with unrelated links. You want your content to be compelling and related to the audience’s interests.
  • Hone Your Audience
    Develop content related to your practice area. For instance, if you work exclusively in trusts and estates, write about the importance of having a will, when it should be updated, and what is involved in developing a comprehensive estate plan.


How to Build an Email List

Start with your current client base. Use the contacts you have on file from current or previous cases. If you’ve developed a large client base over time, this list will likely be a good starting point.

After that, you will need to actively build your list. There are many ways to do this.

In addition to traditional ways – business cards, membership lists and purchased lists, try these ideas:

  1. Use a Call-to-Action – add a “Subscribe to Our Email List” option on your website’s Contact Us form.
  2. Export your LinkedIn connections – access hundreds of professional contacts who have already viewed or interacted with your online profile.
  3. Create Your Own Content – have a downloadable practice area guidebook.
  4. Use Digital Advertising to promote your downloadable content and require an email address to access that content.
  5. Nurture Your Leads – let potential clients take their time; some make decisions about a firm right away, and others like to browse around before deciding who to contact. Be sure to follow up with those who have an interest in your services.

Take advantage of one of the many companies with nominal fees that will ensure your email address isn’t blacklisted, such as Constant Contact, StreamSend, or MailChimp. These services have pre-programmed e-newsletter templates that can be very helpful for you if you are just starting out. If you would like custom e-newsletter graphics and content, seek out the guidance of an experienced legal marketing team who can assist you. You can also review your email’s click-through activity through these services for potential follow up.


How to Create Valuable Content

Throughout the month, try to make a list of instances of the following:

  • Common questions from clients that you could answer in 6-8 sentences
  • Positive firm news, including positive reviews, recognitions and awards
  • Recent case results
  • Interesting news, especially related changes in the law – be sure to add a sentence or two describing how the news item might affect your audience
  • Events your audience might be interested in attending

Implement these details in two- to three-sentence paragraphs in the body of your e-newsletter, with pages that jump out to expand on the content. In the case that you don’t have a lot of news to share, introduce original content to educate your audience about your areas of expertise, the types of cases you handle, and your experience.


When to Schedule Your Campaign

You want the optimal opportunity for visibility and follow-through. Think about the day-to-day business of your audience and schedule the campaign to go out when your readers will be able to sit down and read it.

Consistency is key for email marketing and e-newsletters in particular. You want your audience to anticipate and look forward to your monthly e-newsletter. If you’re getting a lot of click-throughs, think about implementing a “Forward This Email” option. Let your audience know you’re on the lookout for new subscribers, and ask if they’d consider forwarding your content to a friend or colleague who might likewise benefit from it.

Emails are a great marketing tool, because they are not only highly accessible, but they can also be easily shared via the “Forward This Email” function. Email marketing also increases your firm’s visibility and keeps your name in front of current and potential clients.

Email marketing can be a useful method to garner new business. However, lawyers may not have the time to write, research and implement their content into a monthly e-newsletter. PR4Lawyers specializes in digital marketing, as well as traditional marketing for lawyers and law firms. For more information about our content creation and email marketing services for lawyers and law firms, contact the New York legal marketing professionals at PR4Lawyers. Call 631-207-1057 or email info@pr4lawyers.com for a free consultation.

How Design & User Experience Affects a Law Firm Website

What makes a law firm site successful? Most will say it’s optimization, some will say design, and a few will say usability. The answer is all three. Individuals are often shocked to learn that both design and usability play a substantial role in how a website ranks on search engines. When designing a website for your law firm, it is important to keep this in mind and not prioritize one of these aspects at the expense of the others.

Why Design and User Experience Matters

When ranking a website on search engine results pages (SERPs), search engines look at more than just the keywords. They also focus on user experience (UX), the combination of design, usability, and value. The reason why search engines rank sites based on UX is because they want to provide only the best results possible to searchers. They do not want to send users to a website that does not provide the information they’re looking for, is difficult to navigate, has poor content or is unprofessional looking.

How Google Measures User Experience

Search engines measure UX and design through bounce rate and time on site. As defined by Google, a bounce is a single-page session on your site. Bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions on your site in which visitors only viewed a single page and triggered a single request to the analytics server. Bounces have a session duration of 0 since there are no other hits that occur after the initial one that would let the analytics calculate the length of the session. For sites whose success depends on visitors viewing more than one page, a high bounce rate is a negative attribute. Search engines may rank a page with a high bounce rate as having low value.

Time on site is the duration of a user’s visit to your site once they have a click through from the search results. Generally, the more time users spend on your site the better. Google measures time on site through the average time on page. Through Google Analytics, individuals can view the average amount of time that a user spends on a particular page on the site as well as the average amount of time that users spend on any one page of the site. Google calculates the average time on page by dividing the total time page (in seconds) by the number of total page views minus the Number of Exits from the Site). It is important to keep in mind that Google is unable to account for the time on the exit page, as there is no next page after that and therefore records the time spent on the last page as 0.

What Can Be Done to Improve Design and User Experience

Both bounce rate and time on page can be improved with design and UX efforts. A few suggestions are listed below:

Text Format
One means of achieving this is by making sure that your website’s content is legible and readable. Website content and blogs should be formatted in a way that is visually pleasing and not laid out in large chunks of text, as it tends to deter readers. The use of big, bold headlines, subheadings, and bullet points make content easier to read. Blogs should include images and charts related to the text, where appropriate. When selecting a font, make sure to choose one that is web-safe and easily legible on a screen such as Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana, Trebuchet, Garamond, or Bookman.

Mobile Matters
In April 2015, Google updated its algorithm to penalize sites for not being responsive. A responsive website is one whose design can adjust to fit the screen of a user’s device, including desktop, mobile, and tablet views. To be clear, if a website is not mobile-friendly it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be hurt in all aspects of its SERPs. A website’s responsiveness, or lack thereof, will only affect its SERPs for mobile users, the reason being that search engines only want to show sites to mobile users that are mobile optimized. Since many people use smartphones to search for services they need, including legal services, law firms should not miss out on the opportunity to make their site tablet and mobile-friendly.

Include a Search Bar
According to a usability study by Neilsen, more than half of all users are search dominant, meaning they’ll go straight to a search button when they enter a website. These users don’t want to spend time searching around a site for specific content; they are task focused and want to get the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

Neilsen recommends having an easily accessible search button on every page of the website. Many businesses will include a search button in their site’s header. Search buttons’ width should be long enough to fit the terms users are typing in. Neilsen recommends a search bar width of 27 characters. Search buttons should have the ability to global search (searching through all areas on the site) and operate using a simple search.

Although Neilsen’s search button rule of thumb is for sites that have more than 200 pages, law firms with smaller sites may benefit from having a search feature on their site. For example, a user who was the victim of a workplace burn injury will want to search for information related to this matter. When the user types “workplace burn injury” into the search bar, a law firm’s testimonials, blogs, practice areas, and recent verdicts that include this search term will come up in the search results.

PR4Lawyers provides a full range of web design, development, optimization, and promotion services to Long Island and New York metro-area law firms. We work with lawyers and law firms to create sites that are visually appealing, user-friendly and have a strong search engine optimization (SEO) presence. To learn more about our comprehensive and customized web solutions, call 1-866-PR4Lawyers or fill out our contact form to request a direct call.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: How to Effectively Deal with Negative Reviews

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle

Client feedback is essential to the growth and sustainability of any business, including law firms. Today, there are more outlets than ever for clients to provide feedback about their experience with a law firm and its attorneys. Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are some of the most well-known platforms and are very accessible to clients to post reviews. But what happens when a client decides to share their negative experience about the firm or its lawyers on one or more of these public forums? Lawyers who find themselves in that very situation can deal with the negative review effectively by following these tips:

Know the Forum’s Guidelines for Negative Reviews

Facebook, Google My Business and Yelp have similar guidelines when it comes to negative review removal. In order for it to be taken down from the site, the post must be in direct violation of the forum’s review policy. For Google My Business, the review content policies are as follows:

  • Advertising: Reviews cannot be used for advertising, including the addition of links to pages of other websites or listing phone numbers. Reviews should be reflective of a person’s experience and should not be used to manipulate the law firm’s ratings.

  • Spam: There can be no use of spam. The inclusion of promotional or commercial content is prohibited. The same comment cannot be posted multiple times and the person cannot use multiple accounts to write reviews for the same place.

  • Phone numbers, email addresses, or URLs: In accordance with the advertising and spam guidelines, the site does not allow posting phone numbers, email addresses, or links in a review.

  • Off-topic reviews: Reviews cannot be based on another person’s experience, or are not specific to that particular business.

  • Keep it clean: The use of profane, offensive or obscene language is prohibited. Also, reviews that represent a personal attack on others will be removed.

  • Conflict of interest: Reviews should be honest and unbiased. Those who work for the business should not review the organization or its employer. A business owner cannot offer incentives, including money, services, or products, to provide reviews for the organization or to write a negative review about a competitor.

  • Illegal content: Reviews cannot include or link to unlawful content, including the links to purchase, sell or trade prescription drugs, firearms or ammunition.

  • Copyrighted content: Reviews cannot infringe upon another person’s rights, including copyright.

  • Sexually explicit material: Reviews cannot contain sexually explicit material.

  • Impersonation: Reviews cannot be posted on behalf of another person or misrepresent the individual’s identity or connection with the business.

  • Personal and confidential information: Reviews cannot contain personal and confidential information, including credit card numbers, driver’s license information, Social Security number, etc.

  • Hate Speech: Reviews cannot contain content that advocates against a group of people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, veteran status, disability or gender identity.

If the review violates one or more of the site’s content policies, it can be reported to a representative of the site who will review the post, verify or deny that the post violates the site’s policies, and, if the violation is present, take action by removing the post.

Can I Turn Off the Ability to Review My Law Firm on the Site?

The ability to disable ratings and reviews on a business page depends on what forum it is. For Facebook, law firms are able to turn the ratings and review options off by following the steps below:

  • Go to “Settings” at the top of the Facebook business page.

  • Go to the “General” tab on the left-hand side and click “Reviews.”

  • Select “Allow visitors to review this page” or “Disable Reviews.”

  • Click “Save Changes.”

It is important to note that, by disabling the ability to allow visitors to review the page, it will not show the positive or negative reviews and star rating that were there previously. If, at a later time, it is decided that the law firm wishes to turn the review setting back on, all past positive and negative reviews and star rating that were there prior to the setting changes will reappear on the Facebook page.

At this time, there is no way to turn off review capabilities on Yelp and Google My Business. Instead, follow the best practices section of the article.

Best Practices for Effectively Dealing with Negative Reviews

A bad review does not necessarily mean that the law firm itself is bad. A bad review is the result of a problem that happened between a client and the law firm. If handled effectively, not only can the law firm present itself as a professional business that is able to address the concerns of its clients (even the unhappy ones), but it can also help increase the level of client satisfaction for the individual who left the negative review.

Respond to the Review

If a post is not in violation of the site’s review content policies, it is imperative that the law firm handle the situation professionally and effectively. One of the best tactics is to respond to the review. Keep in mind that, on most of these sites, any response to the posted review is publicly shown.

It is best to post a response that is genuinely human, empathetic, apologetic and demonstrates that the law firm does want to make the upset client happy. Lawyers should request an opportunity to make things right by asking them to contact the law firm to discuss the situation further.

Note: Do not get defensive and start listing off all the reasons why the upset client is wrong. Even if the lawyer feels that he or she didn’t do whatever it was to make the client upset, the attorney can still be genuinely apologetic for how the client feels.

Encourage Positive Reviews

Sometimes, the sting of negative reviews hurts less when there are positive reviews present. Not only do positive reviews decrease the visibility of the negative review, but they may sway the interest of potential clients.

If a potential client visits a firm’s Yelp page and sees 100 positive reviews and only 10 negative reviews, they may be more inclined to think those few bad posts shouldn’t deter them from seeking the law firm’s counsel. As many as 84 percent of people say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, according to BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey 2016.

Do Not Take Legal Action Against the Client

Law firms should not retaliate against clients who post negative reviews through legal action, unless the post is defamatory or libelous in the case of false or fake reviews.

Businesses also cannot include anti-review clauses in general contracts. Under the Consumer Review Fairness Act, businesses cannot incorporate an anti-review clause in their contracts, specifically those which are generic and standardized. These types of contracts do not offer a real opportunity to negotiate these terms. This legislation, which goes into effect on March 14, 2017, protects a consumer’s right to criticize a business and prevents the organization from retaliating against them for posting a negative review.

Navigating the complexities of handling negative online reviews can be difficult and time-consuming. Law firms and solo practitioners should consult the guidance of an experienced New York public relations and marketing firm that specializes in social media and reputation management for legal entities. At PR4Lawyers, our public relations and social media professionals work together to develop comprehensive strategies for law firms to maintain and utilize social media to achieve the goals of the law firm and reach their target clientele most effectively. For more information about our services, contact our New York social media and reputation management office by calling (631) 207-1057 or by filling out our contact form.

Ad Spotlight: March Madness

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, appropriately named March Madness, gets the ball rolling on March 14-15, 2017. According to the International Business Times, 2016’s championship game between North Carolina and Villanova clocked in around 22.3 million viewers.

This year, Turner Networks will continue to share NCAA Tournament coverage with CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV. A total of 43 games will air on cable channels, including exclusive coverage of the Play-In Round and 24 games in the First Round, as well as coverage all the way through the Regional Finals (Elite 8).

Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) advertising packages for the 2017 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament are broken up by zone. Each game airs across TNT, TBS and TruTV. In addition to the 43 spots available, Altice Media Solutions will include 100 added-value spots across applicable networks, excluding News 12, competitive sports networks or top 20 networks.

Altice USA NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament packages and prices are as follows:

Zone Package Price
North Nassau $4,039.00
South Nassau $7,679.00
Huntington $2,169.00
Babylon $2,509.00
Hauppauge $6,619.00
Brookhaven $3,359.00
Riverhead $2,929.00

However, there are zone discount rates available. For instance, if you select two zones, there is a 2% discount; three zones there is a 4% discount; four zones, there is a 6% discount; five zones, there is a 7% discount; six to eight zones, there is an 8% discount.

NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament rounds, dates, and number of games/spots are as follows:

Round Dates # of Spots # of Games
Play-In (First Four) 3/14 – 3/15 4 4
First Round (Round of 64) 3/16 – 3/17 24 24
Second Round (Round of 32) 3/18 – 3/19 9 9
Regional Semifinals (Sweet Sixteen) 3/23 – 3/24 4 4
Finals (Elite 8) 3/25 – 3/26 2 2
Total: 43 43

Contact us for more information about these available packages at 631-207-1057 or at johnzaher@theprmg.com.

PR4Lawyers is a full-service public relations and marketing organization dedicated to helping law firms and lawyers target and connect with their potential and current clients and colleagues. Our New York advertising professionals specialize in the creation and sustainability of all forms of digital advertising, including social media and search engine advertising. For more information about how you can effectively advertise to grow your law practice, call 1-866-PR4Lawyers or fill out our contact form to request a direct call.

Why Facebook Advertising Is Important for Law Firms and Solo Practitioners

As of the third quarter of 2016, Facebook boasts 1.49 billion monthly active users and, during this time, 1.18 billion active users visited the social media network on a daily basis, according to Statista. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, which means it should be an integral part of any law firm or solo practitioner’s advertising strategy, as it allows you to connect with clients or prospects in a way not seen with traditional advertising strategies.

Less Competition

Although there are 50 million active small business pages on Facebook, only five percent (2.5 million) of these businesses utilize their pages to actively advertise. Many businesses, including law firms and solo practitioners, have yet to tap into the advertising potential that Facebook has to offer. With less fish in the marketing pond, so to speak, law firms and solo practitioners have a greater potential to be noticed than if they were in the very competitive and concentrated local television advertising market.

Less Time

If you’ve ever run a local television ad, then you know what a time-consuming process it is from start to finish. It can take anywhere from weeks to months to write a script, research TV ad spots, shoot and edit the commercial and schedule the appropriate ad times. Facebook cuts this process down to days and enables your firm or practice to have your ad running within minutes upon approval. Even if a law firm chooses to run a video ad, including a 30- or 60-second commercial, it will still be a quicker process, as opposed to television. Facebook video ads automatically optimize for the device on which it is viewed (i.e. desktop, tablet or mobile phone), and Facebook also provides free closed captioning to your videos so viewers in a noisy or professional environment can watch it with the sound off and still receive your message.

More Control

Target Demographics

Unlike print or television advertising, Facebook allows you greater control of your ad’s target demographics. You can target your ad through the following ways:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Location – includes countries, states, provinces, cities, congressional districts, zip codes, or specific addresses
  • Education – includes education level, fields of study, schools and the years in undergraduate school
  • Interests – includes specific interests (such as elder law, criminal justice, immigration law, etc.)
  • Behaviors – includes purchase behaviors or intents, device usage, etc.
  • Connections – audience based on whether they are connected to your business page. You can target an audience based on a particular type of business page they have liked.

Call to Action

Facebook advertisers can input a call to action button below a video ad. That call to action can include a “learn more,” “sign up,” “download,” “apply now,” or “subscribe” button option. Upon clicking on this call to action, Facebook users can be directed anywhere on or off Facebook, such as your website, where someone can opt to fill in a contact form to request more information.

Set a Budget

Unlike TV ads, advertising on Facebook does not require you to sign any contracts besides accepting their own terms and conditions. Facebook advertisers can exercise more control over their daily, weekly, or monthly budgets by spending as little or as much as they want. Facebook advertisers also have the freedom to shut the ad on and off, or make certain creative adjustments as often as they’d like.

PR4Lawyers is a full-service public relations and marketing organization dedicated to helping law firms and lawyers target and connect with their potential and current clients and colleagues. Our New York advertising professionals specialize in the creation and sustainability of all forms of digital advertising, including social media and search engine advertising. For more information about how you can effectively advertise to grow your law practice, call 1-866-PR4Lawyers or fill out our contact form to request a direct call.

Top 5 Reasons Attorneys Should Blog

1.) Search Engines Love Content

If you want search engines to pay attention to your site, the more quality content, the better. Moz.com — a leading resource on effective search engine optimization (SEO) — consistently found that content quality and quantity are among the highest determinants of search engine rankings.

There’s no real mystery as to why search engines reward more, better and newer content. A search engine thrives by giving its users the best, most relevant information in response to search queries.

2.) More Information on Your Website = More Ways for New Clients to Find You

A related element involves the ways your potential clients find you through search engines. Think of what a potential client might be typing into Google when they have a law-related question or need legal services. Basics include things like “New York Divorce Attorney,” “Best New York Divorce Attorneys,” or “Reviews for New York Divorce Attorneys.” You initially cover this territory with good SEO for your attorney biographies, practice area pages, testimonial pages, etc. But these keywords also make great blog topics, such as “How Do I Choose the Best New York Divorce Attorney for Me?” or “Where to Find Reviews for New York Divorce Attorneys.”

There is a second tier of relevant search topics for potential clients which is much broader. Think in terms of what your clients may be thinking about as they face a legal issue in their lives, such as “Is New York a No-Fault Divorce State?”, “New York Child Support Calculator,” or “Is Alimony Tax-Deductible?”  Writing quality articles on these kinds of subjects helps clients come across your firm in a range of different ways. Even if they are not yet looking to hire a lawyer, they have been exposed to your name, your firm website, and the fact that you are generous enough to offer information to the public on your areas of expertise. Your blog topics are indexed by search engines and accessible for years to come.

3.) Your Legal Commentary Displays Expertise and Engagement with Your Field

Besides the search engine value, your articles have another great marketing impact. When referrals or other potential clients check out your website, they see your firm’s expertise, and engagement with, the very areas of law they need assistance with. Attorneys can be displayed as authors, with links to their biographies. This kind of personal connection gives the reader a sense of what it might be like to work with you.

4.) Saves Time and Improves Service

When you write content that answers the frequent and genuine concerns of your clients, you then have a quick and easy resource to point to when those topics come up with prospective clients. These blogs can be used in place of crafting a long email or having lengthy discussions about certain topics. Just share the link to the blog.  Again, this will help reinforce the attorney’s position as a thought leader on the topic.

5.) It’s a Great Way to Announce Firm News, Awards or Cases Won

Just one more advantage of a blog: Firm News, or other prominent, regularly updated sections of your websites, allow you to showcase your firm’s successes. Whether an attorney was appointed to a local community board, won professional accolades, or was cited in the media, posting a little update and sometimes a photo reflects well on your firm and gives your website a dynamic presence.

Trust: The Key to PR’s Success or Failure

Trust in MarketingWhat’s the most important part of public relations? You might think that the answer is in the word “public”—in other words, how wide an audience you can reach with information about your organization. However, an equal amount of attention needs to be focused on the “relations” component of PR. PR is less a set of tried-and-true formulas for communicating with customers, and more a discipline of building trust. The relationships you cultivate with audiences will ultimately determine your company’s success or failure.

This is borne out in recent conversations across cyberspace about the role of “influencers” in social media marketing. According to data from the PR firm Edelman, “customers and prospects want honesty. Ethics. Understanding … It means that in order to convince and convert, you have to get down on the customer’s level and see things from their point of view. It means not being afraid to admit your weaknesses or acknowledge your mistakes.”

As one author describes it, “Influencer marketing is yesterday’s word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.” Interestingly enough, even though 21st-century consumers seem to prefer the “old-fashioned” concept of trust when deciding to make a purchase, the media they trust have shifted significantly. Edelman’s data also revealed that millennials tend to place their trust in search engines and social media more than traditional avenues.

Whether your business uses primarily traditional or online marketing in its approach, it’s safe to say that you’ll see great results only if you use public relations to cultivate trust and build relationships with the clients that matter to you. This will strengthen brand loyalty as people will genuinely enjoy your brand and your product. Some of our most successful clients have already developed relationships with customers who love them and what they do, and it shows.

PR4Lawyers can help your organization develop a comprehensive public relations plan to connect with your audiences. As a full-service public relations, marketing and digital advertising agency, we understand the publics your business is likely to interact with, and we can connect you with influencers who will further help you develop a relationship of trust with consumers. If you have any questions about our social media or other marketing services, please contact us at (631) 207-1057 or at johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com.

“The Times” Is Changing: Study Shows Increasing Role of Social Media in News Delivery

Social Media Is Shifting News SourcesWhere do you get your news? If this question were asked forty or even twenty years ago, the most common responses would have included radio, television and good old-fashioned newspapers. But the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently released a study on news and social media, and the findings reveal a significant demographic shift over the past few years.

Shifting News Sources

The big statistic revealed from this study is that 44% of American adults get their news via Facebook. Yes, 44% of all adult Americans stay informed through the world’s most popular social networking platform. This number represents two-thirds of all adult Facebook users, up from 47% of Facebook users in 2013.

Some other figures from this study are worth mentioning as well. The total percentage of American adults who get their news from any social media network (including Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, and more) is 62%, and almost two-thirds of those usually get it from just one social media network. For journalists and marketers alike, this represents a paradigm shift. While news consumers of a previous generation might have read the day’s headlines in the morning paper, heard additional news on the radio during their commute to work and returned home to catch the six o’clock news on TV, today’s consumers are increasingly likely to get their updates from just one source—most often Facebook. Today, information and advertising are still delivered on a screen, but the screen can be found more and more on consumers’ desks or in their hands rather than in their living rooms.

Shifting Attitudes

Another important statistic: Among Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube users who get their news online, about 60% report that they merely see the headlines while they’re doing other things online; only 40% specifically search the web for it. The Internet has made it easier than ever before for information and advertising to reach consumers wherever they are, even if they don’t intentionally seek it out.

It is impossible to predict whether social platforms will ever completely crowd out the “traditional” media of newspapers, radio, and TV. But in regard to marketing and public relations, organizations can gain valuable information about consumers’ shifting news sources from last month’s report. A thoughtful, relationship-driven approach to advertising is essential to navigating the complex avenues of social media successfully.

If you have questions about how best to promote your organization across social media, PR4Lawyers is happy to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-866-PR4LAWYERS or at johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com.