24 Mar Five things law firms should do to grow their practice during the Coronavirus crisis
During a time of great uncertainty, it is key that law firms focus their communications strategy to grow their relationships with current and past clients who will need help navigating the legal complexities arising from the economic shutdown caused by the growing COVID-19 crisis. Although the economy has temporarily come to a standstill, this is not the time to hide, but to spring forward by providing legal solutions to a new gamut of issues. Now is the time to position your firm in front of your target audience as the go-to expert with the depth and experience required to guide businesses through the many legal aspects of this global pandemic. Efforts to stop the spread of this infectious disease is causing severe business disruptions, giving rise to contract issues, halting transactions, calling for debt restructuring and lease workouts, fueling a wave of unpaid creditors, and more.
As your firm retools to serve the sudden demand for a different myriad of legal services, it is important to let your target audience know that you are ready to help. Traditional media, social media, newsletters, webinars, virtual networking meetings and other forms of external communications will be the most effective way to position you and your firm as an industry leader. Here are five tips on how to leverage public relations to help position you in front of your core audience looking for legal advice.
1 – Revamp Your Public Image: This is the time for you and your firm to become more visible. Position yourself as the local and/or national expert who can shed light on current trends, solutions and strategies required to deal with the uncertainty and challenges created by a stalled global economy. You can do this by positioning yourself, your practice and firm as a third-party expert source in the media. We have found that serving as a source in news stories that move the needle is an effective way to raise brand awareness and further position you as a thought leader in your industry.
2 – Be Top of Mind: Develop a public relations strategy that will position you in front of your core audience using information that is relevant. You want to be top of mind with current and prospective clients so they think of you as soon as they reach out for help to tackle the legal challenges rising from the economic shutdown. You can achieve that by communicating with your relationships on a regular basis through personalized emails, eblasts, LinkedIn posts, webinars, research papers, surveys, etc.
3- Be a Source of Ideas: In my previous life as a journalist, a WSJ editor once told me he always recruited reporters who were not the best writers in the world but had the greatest ideas for stories. He would say,‘the world belongs to those with great ideas.’ In times of economic uncertainty, you need to become a resource to your clients and offer ideas to help stabilize their business. Blog posts, newsletters, and LinkedIn posts can be effective vehicles to position you as a resource. Everybody is hunting for ‘the next big opportunity’ in this sudden downturn, and clients are hungry for ideas. Be a source of inspiration to your clients. At some point, one of your ideas may work and you will have a loyal client forever.
4. Turn Negatives into Positives: Public relations will give you the platform to remind your core audience that crisis breeds opportunity. While the business community will see many doors closing in the coming weeks and months, other doors will open. Public relations can help position the experience your firm has gained over the decades – and especially during the last recession – as the ‘key’ that can open new doors to current and prospective clients.
5 – Be Nimble: In the coming weeks and months, your practice could look very different. Taking into consideration America’s entrepreneurial spirit, law firms will be coming up with successful strategies to help clients overcome the challenges created by the health and financial crises. Law firms with several practice groups will most likely recreate cross-practice teams that successfully tackled complex issues during the Great Recession to mitigate and solve today’s legal issues. Through mass and external communications, law firms can let their target audience know that they are prepared and committed to act on their behalf.
In conclusion, law firms will play an important role as clients assess litigation risks, develop pre-litigation strategies, close down businesses, recoup losses, and deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Now is the moment to implement or boost a comprehensive public relations & marketing strategy aligned with your clients’ evolving legal needs. More importantly, a proactive public relations plan will let you speak directly to the business community seeking secure routes to economic recovery.