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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

How Firms and Attorneys Can Increase Their Media Exposure in 2013

Is using social media to disseminate firm news the answer?

 

By Michael Bond, Blattel Communications

 

A recent Legal Marketing Association (LMA) – Bay Area Chapter program “Mining Media Opportunities in 2013” featured some of the top minds in California publishing – both in print and digitally. Editor of the Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal David Houston, Vice President and Publisher Molly Miller of The Recorder and Editor Steve Symanovich of the San Francisco Business Times joined moderator and President of Blattel Communications Traci Stuart in a spirited no-holds-barred discussion of all things media, including how firms and attorneys can increase their media exposure in the year ahead.

One of the early flashpoints for the group was the use of social media as a news breaking and dissemination tool. Houston, whose publications do not maintain social media accounts, bluntly declared, “Lawyers do not tweet.” He described the typical lawyer as someone who consumes news headlines in the morning on their phone and then goes to either the online or print version of a publication for a deeper dive – not someone who uses Twitter.

This stood in stark contrast to Miller, whose publication and reporters are active on the social media site. She noted that in her experience, lawyers like to read reporter’s tweets as they serve as a window into the individual and the factors driving their content.

For Symanovich, the San Francisco Business Times is a local affiliate of the much larger American City Business Journals company that publishes 40 similar publications across the country. He noted that the parent organization hired Mario Garcia – a noted newspaper and magazine designer and media consultant – who is reworking the design of the company’s properties across the nation. Symanovich described Garcia’s content-packaging approach – and that in turn of the San Francisco Business Journal – as breaking down into two main subsets: lean forward (consumption of news via tweets and mobile sites) and lean back (consumption of news via tablet and print).

A key concern from the audience was generating greater media coverage for their firms and attorneys. To this end, Miller offered that when a reporter meets with a lawyer, the goal is to come away with “a bigger picture than just what the lawyer is working on at the moment.” She said that a great source is someone who can not only speak to one or two specific issues, but to the industry and their niche – readily identifying and conversing in its trends and topics. Houston and Symanovich agreed.

While the media landscape is changing – particularly the increasing emphasis on digital content – opportunities abound for the strategic firm.


 

Michael Bond is a board member of the Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter and a senior account executive at Blattel Communications. He can be reached at michael@blattel.com.

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