MEDIA BUYING GUIDE SERIES - PART 5: OTHER MEDIA TYPES
International Law Firm Solutions (ILFS) specialises in helping independent law firms develop the international part of their business. It has a client base of independent law firms in more than 100 jurisdictions. Nearly all of our clients want to raise their international profile and recognise that one way to do this is in the international legal media. However, there are an overwhelming number of opportunities to consider - legal directories, handbooks, comparative guides, monthly and weekly publications and more.
PART 5: OTHER MEDIA TYPES
Online Banner Adverts
These are advertisements seen on the internet, often in the form of a rectangle at the top of an internet page. Law firm online adverts almost invariably click through to the law firm’s website.
The popularity of online adverts varies widely in different jurisdictions. In some they are very popular whilst in others firms regard them as too blatant a form of advertising and in some instances are in breach of specific bar regulations. For reasons already stated we would always suggest that firms that have doubts about the concept think carefully before buying. However, for firms which do not have any such objections online adverts can be a very powerful way to build and reinforce awareness of a firm/its brand and can achieve much higher levels of penetration than many other products.
Also note that the exposure online ads get on the main legal websites varies significantly and this will clearly have a significant impact on how many people see them. Some only appear on one, or a very small number of pages. Others appear on a much wider number of pages.
Prices vary widely for banner adverts and some publishers do not regard them as core products and are often willing to include them as part of a package with other products at no significant additional cost.
- Seriously consider if you have no objection to the concept and your strategy is to build and reinforce awareness of the firm/its brand
- If you do decide you want to promote your brand, bear in mind the following:
- Consider whether you are looking for maximum or targeted exposure i.e. who is likely to read the webpage
- If you are looking for maximum exposure make sure that the online advert you are buying provides it
- Consider the format and message delivered by the banner
- Periodically check the links.
Distribution services and databases
These services distribute law firm publications such as articles, alerts and newsletters to a wide and relevant audience of potential clients and international law firms. The rationale is that firms write publications to demonstrate their expertise to current and prospective clients. But by the time these have been researched, written and reviewed they can take up many hours and thousands of Euros/US$ fee-earning time. There is therefore huge value in distributing them as widely as possible.
These services ensure wider distribution by allowing firms to publish articles on a database. They are sometimes only accessed by specific subscribers – usually a targeted group such as Corporate Counsel. Others ensure that if, for example, you enter “M&A in [Jurisdiction]” to a search engine your article will feature prominently.
These services also help to prevent your mailshot newsletters/articles from having a negative impact on recipients who may not wish to receive them. Articles published through a distribution service are distributed to and accessed by subscribers who have made a positive decision to sign up. Publications are more likely to be of interest to the subscribers of the distribution service. Some services will also provide feedback on who has been reading your publications
Several of the directories also offer some form of distribution service either as an add-on, or as part of the integrated package that you get when you buy an entry. Although the benefits are significant it can be quite time consuming to post publications, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the process. Some publishers undertake this work for you by constantly reviewing your website.
For firms that produce a lot of publications this type of service can represent one of the best value products. In deciding to which service(s) to subscribe consider who they distribute to. As most of the services have different distribution channels if you like the idea you may decide to use
more than one.
If you buy a firm profile in a directory check if there is a related distribution database. Make the most of them. Many firms subscribe to these services and then fail to use them either at all, or to their full potential. In particular:
- Have in place a process for “capturing” all the publications being produced within your firm – many lawyers write publications about which other members of the firm are not aware
- Ensure that someone in the firm is responsible for posting the articles and understands the process. The nature of the taxonomy with some of the databases means that this person may require some legal knowledge.
These are weekly, monthly and other periodical publications produced by the legal media. This is a far more general category than the others and covers a very wide and diverse range of products.
It can be divided into a number of sub-categories including:
- General publications: these are generally focused on news and market analysis
- Regional publications: generally focusing on news and analysis in a particular continent
- Practice area publications: focusing on a particular practice area
- Specialist publications focused on a specific issue.
There are also a number of publications in other sectors, especially finance, that focus heavily on the law. The diversity of the category is such that you can spend your money on almost anything.
Probably the most frequent opportunities are:
- Printed Advertisements
- Sponsored Editorial
- Online Advertising
The rationale for taking coverage in periodicals is to raise your firm’s profile amongst their readership. Done effectively it can be one of the best ways of raising your profile in a particular group. Done badly it can be money completely wasted. In addition, if the content you write is suitable, and the publisher will allow it, you can reproduce and distribute it elsewhere.
Avoid the temptation to buy randomly and do not buy just because it is cheap. As stated above a number of publications have started to sell a high volume of relatively low cost products. Some of these are very good, but others are not
Be targeted. Review the readership and decide if they are your target audience. In particular:
- It may be better to have a campaign focused on one or two publications than taking one advert in ten
- Most periodicals’ circulation figures should be audited by an independent 3rd party. If they are not ask why
- If you are buying an advert try and get editorial coverage as well. Very few reputable publications will guarantee you editorial coverage with an advert but it may buy you some goodwill.
Contact us to see how we can help you get the most from your media strategy: