Client Alerts in a Perfect World

In a perfect world, PR professionals would be alerted when a lawyer or team of attorneys starts writing a client alert. That’s because many client alert ideas are generated way before the finished product is posted to a website or sent to my inbox.

I realize that the attorneys do not often think of us when they see something that is newsworthy or a development in their industry that their clients need to know about. But, I wish they would. If given the heads up, we, as PR professionals, can do more than just try to find a home for an alert that most often is days or weeks old, and posted well after the media has moved on from its coverage.

Here are some tips to help your attorneys think of PR before they put fingers to a keyboard:
1. When you hear or read of a development in the law or your target industry, contact someone in a communication role before you start writing. It’s simple, but attorneys need to be reminded.

2. Provide the PR professional a brief (two – four sentences of what this means for the industry or your clients). We do not need the entire alert to generate media interviews or secure an article.
3. Let us know when the client alert is going to be ready. This way, we can get a deadline to the editor.

What you should know is that more and more trade publications are requiring first run articles. That means if your attorneys post a blog or client alert to a website, the editors will look at it as previously published material and may not consider it for their publication. So, make sure the client alert is brief and not a full article.

It’s unfortunate that many PR professionals, whether in-house or outside a firm, are the last to know. In a perfect world, we would be the first.