When it comes to selecting an agency to deliver legal PR for your law firm, the choices, budgets and levels of service available can be bewildering. So how to go about selecting an agency that will meet your requirements, deliver what they promise and keep your partners happy?
1. Consider competence…
Any PR agency offering legal PR services needs to understand the law and its application, and must be able to create content that is legally correct and easily understood by the firm’s target audiences. Don’t be tricked into thinking its your fee earners’ or junior staff’s role to create content – it’s not, your PR agency should manage this for you.
How? You could provide a couple of brief scenarios and ask the agencies how they would respond to them. For example, a firm with a family law department could point to the recent Steinfeld judgment and ask the agency to create comments, along with an example media list of where they would seek to place said comments. This exercise should help to establish whether the agency team understands family law, and secondly, the media list will help to identify whether they understand your target audiences. Do this across 2 or 3 different service lines, and you will soon build a picture of your shortlisted agencies’ competencies and shortfalls.
2. Consider capacity…
Heard of ‘pitch and switch’? It’s an unfortunate and decidedly dodgy practice whereby an agency will select an amazing pitch team to win the work, which it then hastily disassembles at delivery time.
It’s really important to ensure that the all singing, all dancing team you meet during a pitch process will actually be responsible for the day to day delivery. And if not, you should at the very least get to meet the account executive, manager, and director before signing on the dotted line. Don’t forget at that point to check capability as per point 1.
How? Just ask the right question before making any final decisions.
3. Consider chemistry…
This should be an obvious one but… can you work with these people? Yes, creative industries can attract unusual personalities (but hey, so can the legal profession!) That said, it really is so important that you get along with your PR team. They should know the ins and outs of your business (and if they don’t, you may want to consider why that’s the case).
How? Be realistic and honest. If an all-singing, all-dancing agency has impressed with their ideas, strategy and enthusiasm, but half of the management team hate them – don’t take them on board, it’s not going to work.
4. Consider ROI and strategy
Again, this should be a complete no-brainer… but before you put together your invitation to tender, understand what you are trying to achieve both within your business AND by appointing a PR agency. PR strategies can support business aims, but only if everybody understands what these are.
To this end, it’s important to agree what success will look like and agree some metrics. These could be sales-, audience-, key message- based, a combination of some or all of these, or different ones entirely. So be clear about what you want to achieve, and know understand what success, and indeed failure, looks like.
Still stuck? Give us a call. We can provide a consultancy service to ensure you choose the right PR agency for your firm, the first time around. LexRex can save you thousands of pounds of lost billing time by weeding out the chancers and ensuring your PR agency hits the right notes, from the start.
By Victoria Moffatt
LexRex Communications is a specialist consultancy providing strategic PR and marketing support to boutique law firms.
We help lawyers stand out from the crowd.