by Nick Gromicko
Law firms should use the format of the standard press release to make announcements on their websites and legal blogs. This lends an official quality to any announcements that deserve particular attention or that are time-sensitive. This will help the website visitor distinguish between sales-type information and general news announcements about the law firm.
Press releases can also be emailed to business contacts to help spread the word, as well as increase essential SEO hits–a huge advantage of having your press releases searchable online. Since they are considered soft marketing, press releases are more likely to be widely distributed by the recipients while having the same impact as paid advertising.
Some good uses of press releases include announcing the following:
- introducing new attorneys;
- the formation of new partnerships with consulting experts or other industry-related personnel;
- the formation of a new location, with the sender of the press release as its head or spokesperson;
- a partner having earned new training accreditations and/or licenses;
- offering new types of legal services;
- the law firm’s relocation;
- the law firm’s expansion;
- celebrating the business’s anniversary;
- a change in the law firm’s’ name or contact information; and
- an attorney joining industry-related associations.
Here’s a sample press release:
CONTACT: John Smith, Esquire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ABC Law Ads Bla Bla Bla
BOULDER, Colo. (June 22, 2019) — ABC Law is pleased to announce that it is now offering Bla bla bla…
ABC Law has been providing legal services in Boulder County for the past 20 years. Their attorneys are Bla bla bla.
Essential Parts of a Press Release
Note the various elements and conventions in the sample press release above, from top to bottom, which should be included in all press releases:
- Your name, title, and contact information (but not mailing address), as well as website address, should be included following the capped and (optionally) bolded word “CONTACT:”. This will enable the staff who receives your press release an easy way to instantly contact you without having to hunt for your information. The press release doesn’t have to be issued by the company president, however. But the person who can field questions about it, should any arise, should be the one noted as the contact person. (The law firm’s full name and snail-mail address are already included in your letterhead, so it’s unnecessary to include them in the contact information.)
- The header of a press release is “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,” which should be centered and bolded, and optionally italicized. Some organizations send out their press releases before they want them actually released; this gives the recipient extra time to organize multiple press releases from different entities, etc. In this case, the press release should read “EMBARGOED UNTIL JULY 1, 2012.” The option of embargoing a press release also allows the writer to make any changes and send a revised press release before the release date. An embargoed press release should be sent out only as needed. Typically, most press releases are for immediate publication.
- A brief title for the press release (bolded but un-italicized) should appear below the header, one that succinctly captures the reason for the announcement.
- The city is spelled out using all capital letters.
- The state or province is abbreviated in the style originated by the Associated Press, which is the style guide used by newspapers. Because press releases, as a form, fall somewhere between advertisements and actual news, the AP Style is the adopted convention for press releases.
- The date is enclosed in parentheses. Except for month names that are short (including April, May, June and July), they are also abbreviated using AP Style, such as “Jan.,” “Aug.,” Sept.,” and so forth.
- Following the date in parentheses is the em-dash or double-dash, without any spaces between the date and the body of the press release.
- The body of the text follows; it can be more than one paragraph, with the main announcement in the first sentence, followed by additional supporting information. The press release in its entirety should not exceed one page.
- The end of the press release is indicated by a triple hash mark that is centered on the page. This is another AP Style convention that indicates to both newspaper editors and radio announcers when the end of the press release actually is.
- The italicized information below the hash marks identifies the person/organization supplying the press release. This information is straightforward and factual but may have a marketing tone to it.
How to Send It Out
When emailing your press release to other parties, such as past clients, real estate professionals, and industry associations and organizations, be sure to put your press release on your letterhead and convert it into a PDF, and email that as an attachment, indicating in your email’s subject line that it is a press release, so that its timeliness will be readily understood. This will give your recipients the option of posting the entire document on their own website (which will display your business letterhead), or they can simply copy and paste the text. Your press release should be no longer than one page and should contain no photos, graphics or pictures, except those that may already appear in your company letterhead.
Some Don’ts About Press Releases
Press releases should be used sparingly so that your company’s legitimate news doesn’t get ignored because you’ve attempted to disguise routine marketing as something newsworthy. Marketing doesn’t rate the same level of attention, especially when you are sending out your press release to third parties.
Some reasons that press releases should not be used include announcing the following:
- special sales or discounts;
- non-business related news, including news of a personal nature;
- endorsements of other businesses, entities or products; or
- news or information (such as a press release, white paper or news article) that is plagiarized from another source and repackaged as your own. Your press release should be specifically relevant to your business, rather than to the legal profession at large.
HERE’S A SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE THAT YOU CAN CUT AND PASTE, THEN CUSTOMIZE:
CONTACT: Your Name, Title
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Your Website Address
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITY, State abbreviation. (Date)- Law Firm Name is pleased to announce that [purpose of your press release].
[Insert more information about the purpose of your press release, including what your readers/prospects need to know. A direct quote is appropriate here.]
[Insert a closing or wrap-up statement.]
Company Name has been serving service area for the past number of years in business, providing legal services [and other services]. Visit Law Firm Name online at website address for more information.
Remember that your press release should be on company letterhead for hard-copy distribution or for emailing as a PDF.
Press releases are a great way to announce news affecting your business and to lend legitimacy to its importance. Used with discretion, they are a meaningful way to cultivate your connections with people and organizations who can help indirectly market your legal services.
And remember to send the press release to Checkmate Marketing. At no extra cost to you, we will get the press release in front of potential new clients.