Target media outlets that target your clients

Big does not always mean best in many industries. That includes the media. While not all outlets are equal, don’t ignore ones just because their circulations are small.

Public relations professionals often talk about landing that major interview in USA Today or getting a client quoted in the Wall Street Journal. And there’s no question that for some clients, this kind of publicity in a major outlet can be incredibly useful and can raise visibility and potentially lead to new business. It may even be the ideal situation for that client with their media strategy.

But PR professionals and the lawyers who hire them must recognize the media sector is broad and diverse. Most lawyers work in a specialty area like insurance, energy or intellectual property. Each of these areas has its own niche specialty publications that are very closely read by industry members who are current and potential clients. In fact, a lot of them are read more closely by industry members than broad publications with wider distribution. One of my clients, a telecommunications group at a major law firm, told me the specialty telecom publications were more closely scrutinized than the New York Times when it came to finding out what was really happening in the industry.

The Internet and social media outlets have created countless other hyper-specialized publications. There are websites and blogs that deal with niche issues that are read by only a couple of thousand people – yet these are the key decision makers and influencers in that industry. And being quoted among them will give a lawyer instant prestige and credibility.

In addition to reaching your target audiences, articles and quotes in specialized, smaller publications have other advantages: the writers and editors are eager to work with those that can be true contributors, have strong opinions and relevant points of view. It can take several months to build relationship at a major metropolitan newspaper and that may never result in being quoted.

Other advantages of working with the trade press: For building a lawyer’s bio for his or her website description, or adding a significant line to a LinkedIn listing, these smaller publications will do just fine. And even more, quotes in specialty publications get noticed by larger publications and can help establish even more credibility.

So don’t judge a media opportunity by the size of its readership, judge it by the value of its audience and the value to a lawyers professional reputation.