How to Determine a Law Firm Marketing Budget

Originally published on our subsidiary site LawsuitPressRelease.com.

Clients often ask us how much they should spend on marketing their law firm each year. It is a simple fact that marketing is going to cost money. However, it’s how you spend your money that makes a difference. You want to create a law firm marketing budget that matches your goals.

The American Lawyer reports that the AM Law 200 firms spend about 2 percent of gross revenues on marketing related expenses. And that number is actually low. Law firm management consultancies have long held that law firms (except for personal injury firms, who must spend more) should plan on spending about 2 to 5 percent of gross revenues on their marketing efforts.Read More

The Business of Online Complaint Sites

Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” – Annie Hall (1977)

Turns out that complaining has become big business, particularly online. Back when Woody Allen made Annie Hall, we only had a few ways to complain about products, retailers, or customer service. We could call a company’s customer service department, ask to speak to the manager at a store, or, if we were really upset, write a letter (yeah, on paper) to the president of a company.

Today, making a complaint can be done in a matter of clicks and even before we leave a retail establishment, restaurant, or hotel. We can contact a company directly through its website or via e-mail, send a tweet to that same company’s president, or post a complaint on a consumer complaint website.DavidPR.com Online Complaints

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for good customer service and accountability in business. The ability to communicate more directly with companies about their products and services certainly keeps businesses on their toes. However, it has also made consumer complaint websites very powerful, opening the door for misinformation, competitor bashing, and unreasonable complaints.

Sites such as Ripoff Report, Complaints.com, Complaintsboard.com, Scam.com, and TheDirty.com have learned that complaints and negative posts can track high on search results. The concept is a game changer that turns complaints into money-making machines:Read More

Attention Graduates: You Will Be Googled

David PR Grads will be googledDavid Geffen lied on his first job application. I recently watched Inventing David Geffen, a documentary that details the life of the billionaire entertainment mogul who has many legendary accomplishments, including putting the Eagles and Jackson Browne on vinyl, Cats and Dreamgirls on Broadway, and Risky Business and Interview with the Vampire on movie screens. One of the many anecdotes Geffen shares is about his first job at the William Morris Agency in New York. He lied on his application for a mail-room position at the talent agency, stating that he had graduated from UCLA. The agency hired him and put him to work, but they checked his credentials with UCLA via old-fashioned postal mail. After learning that a fellow employee was fired for lying on his application, Geffen sorted every piece of mail coming into William Morris. When the incriminating letter from UCLA arrived, he steamed it opened and altered its contents. The rest is blockbuster history.

Today’s recent college graduates can’t use the same solution as Geffen. Employers may instantly check credentials by using Google searches, and they’re looking for a lot more than proof of matriculation.Read More

Crisis Management Begins Online

Crisis Management Begins OnlineA friend called me recently in a bit of a panic. One of her college-aged children was tangentially involved with a crisis at her university, and my friend and some of the other parents were wondering if it would be beneficial to engage a public relations expert. Should they reach out to the media or not? How might their kids be perceived? They had many questions.

Before we dug into the details of the incident, I told my friend that the very first thing that needed to be done was to ensure that the students did not say anything about the incident that might end up online. I cautioned: Don’t post anything about it on Facebook, don’t tweet about it, and absolutely do not speak to anyone from the media. I told her that the most important thing was to guarantee that her child’s name was in no way associated online with this situation. She needed to keep her kid’s name shielded from this crisis, so the student would not be associated with it in any way – pro, con, or indifferent.

We are in a whole new world of public relations crisis management because the Internet is now king.Read More

Managing Corporate Online Hate

ManageOnlineBrandHate

While I’m certain she wasn’t pondering online reputation management, Taylor Swift had it right when she sang “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate” in her hit single “Shake it Off.” Online hate remains a major problem in business today, and sadly, we can’t always just take the pop starlet’s advice and roll with it.

Hate blogs and hate websites can pop up overnight, and if written by clever authors, can quickly rise to the top of search results. Reputational and economic damage frequently follow.

When confronted with negative online content that hinders your business or damages your organization’s reputation, the best advice is to remain calm and make a sound assessment. While the first reaction may be to blast away at the hate blog, defamatory post, negative news article or nasty review, we have found that it makes more sense to slow down and develop a strategy before confronting the source—assuming you can figure out who posted the negative information in the first place.Read More

Being “Off the Grid” May Damage Your Online Reputation

In the past year, I’ve become increasingly interested in the world of online reputation management and helping executives and other professionals to counteract negative articles, blog posts, and other troubling web content. A couple of things have caught my attention. The first is that almost everyone I speak with has a story (often a horror story) about how a friend or colleague felt victimized by negative online content. Negative reviews impacted business, social media missteps hurt an applicant’s chances of getting a job, and online stories (true or otherwise) injured people personally and professionally. The prevalence of this has surprised me.

The second thing that caught my attention was the fact that so many professional people have no control of their online reputation—on purpose.Read More

Uh-Oh, Girl Scouts Changed Thin Mints

Now Vegan jpg David PR GroupIt’s Girl Scout cookie season, and I know this because there are 17 cases of the tasty treats in my living room. This annual resolution buster, happily nestled between Christmas and Easter, marks the biggest annual fundraiser for Girl Scouts, and cookie selling remains an iconic rite of passage for young girls (and their moms) throughout the United States. My daughter began selling the cookies seven years ago, and I have helped sell them at my office, loaded the car for booth sales throughout our neighborhood, and wolfed down more than my share of Tagalongs, Samoas, and Do-si-dos. (You can keep the lemon ones and the logo-emblazoned butter cookies.) But of course, the star of the Girl Scout cookie universe is the chocolate-covered, peppermint-flavored wafer known as the Thin Mint. This year, though, there is something rotten in the state of baking sheets: Thin Mints have gone vegan!Read More

What if The Interview Sucks?

the-interview-seth-rogen-james-francoHonestly, my first reaction to hearing the news that Sony was cancelling the release of its movie The Interview because of threats from North Korean hackers and blowback from theater chains was this: North Korea, you need to lighten up. Have you seen Seth Rogen and James Franco? Have you seen their movies? Do you really think they could be a danger to the North Korean military? One only needs to watch Pineapple Express to see that this is not a credible threat – unless you are worried about them stealing your weed.Read More

Person of the Year, 2014?

time question markLast year, I had great responses from a blog post and survey about TIME’s Person of the Year, so I decided to revisit the topic as we start to look back on the people and events that shaped the news in 2014.

My interest in this began a few years ago when my Aunt Rosie told me of a great Thanksgiving tradition: After the big meal, her family discusses who should be named TIME‘s Person of the Year.  So for the second year in a row, I have decided to offer up the question as a topic for readers of my blog and have included a survey in this post.  I have suggested a few nominees, and you can vote for one of them or write-in your own.

Quick background: TIME named Charles Lindbergh its first “Man of the Year” in 1927, and each year since has featured a person, group, idea, or object that “for better or for worse has done the most to influence the events of the year.”  Previous winners have included U.S. presidents, world leaders, executives, scientists, and bad guys like Hitler, Stalin, and Ayatollah Khomeini.  Concepts and groups win too. “The American Soldier” won in 2003; “The Protestors” (representing the Arab Spring, Tea Party, and Occupy movements) were named in 2011.  Last year, TIME recognized Pope Francis.Read More

Strengthen Your Marketing Channels in 2015

ic top shelfA consequence and perk of being a blogger is that you often get solicited by public relations and marketing people. Because my blog is  written about whatever I feel like writing about, I try to respectfully decline invitations and story pitches. This week, though, I was invited to a marketing event that I just couldn’t turn down. It involved a major liquor company and the sampling of specialty cocktails, kind of like a wine tasting but with hard stuff. I was in.

The event was sponsored by Intercontinental Hotels and Bacardi, and the publicized goal was to choose a signature specialty cocktail that will be showcased in the hotels next year. It was held at Bacardi headquarters, not far from my office.Read More