The Difference Between Legal Marketing and Effective Corporate Communications

Whether you are a solo practitioner or a member of a major law firm, you may believe through some very clever advertising that legal marketing is the holy grail of business generation. You may believe that search engine optimization, television ads, and bus billboards are the key to making money, especially in the personal injury and medical malpractice sector.

As a former national news correspondent who now specializes in legal strategy through communication and video production for high-stakes, high-value cases, I am witnessing repeatedly that attorneys who find the greatest success are masters of corporate communication, not attorneys who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising. To put it another way, some of the most successful attorneys who retain my firm spend very little on advertising, but are successful because they are good at communicating that they are effective.

Think about what you see when you pick up a newspaper, browse the internet, or watch a local or network newscast. You are hearing or reading a story. The stories that you care about are likely well told, are presented with a compelling narrative, and have characters that are memorable. Now think about that in terms of legal advertising and marketing. It’s not the attorneys who purchase several 15 seconds ads in a local newscast that come across as being credible. It’s the attorneys who reach sizable settlements in mediation or judgments in trial, and then use that information to present themselves as experts who deserve news coverage and media attention. Quite simply: a one line mention of your law firm in a news article about a medical malpractice suit is arguably far more valuable than a commercial promoting that you handle medmal broadcast between two auto dealer commercials on the local news.

And while paying for search engine optimization is often a poor use of funds, the free web presence that comes from a legitimate mention in a legitimate news story is invaluable.

The key to generating news coverage is the same that we use in the production of day in the life video and video settlement brochure production, and demand package documentaries, and the same that is utilized by network news correspondents on a daily basis. Effective story telling through a compelling narrative with characters that generate emotion. When presented to mediators, the result is record settlements. When presented to reporters, the result is news coverage. When used together, you create a self-sustaining flow of news coverage that leads to new clients that lead to successful outcomes, and successful outcomes that lead to news coverage that leads to new clients.