The difference between legal advertising and public relations in the UK are many. In legal advertising the client pays to advertise in the various different mediums. For example, radio, TV, magazines, newspapers and websites. The parameters are exact. You are aware beforehand of the advertisement that will be aired or printed, when, and for how long it will run. You get exactly and only what you pay for.
In legal public relations or PR it is about getting the message and the name of the law firm or legal company out in the public domain using all and any appropriate avenue to do so. Some of the avenues most heavily used are usually free.
It is about increasing the level of exposure of the law firm usually through the use of traditional mediums such as press releases, conferences, and consultations. New non-traditional mediums such as popular social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are non replacing traditionalism.
In legal advertising and any other form of advertising, much of the control over what goes into the public domain, the advertisement is controlled by the marketing or advertising firm with some input from the law firm. The medium chosen is obligated to display your advertisement. In legal PR it is the job of the legal PR team to control and manage perceptions as opposed to content.
There is still some level of control over the content. Sometimes the job is about creating an image for the firm as an authority on certain subject matters or areas. The medium is under no obligation to attend or provide coverage for the functions, seminars, or conferences. They do not have to print articles or press releases.
In times of crises, the PR team job is often reactionary. This is accomplished by doing damage control and turning negative attention into positive exposure for the law firm. The legal PR team must play the hand it has been dealt. They can use their considerable resources and network of contacts to either counter or manipulate negative events.
Legal advertisement has the benefit of being proactive. It is the job of the ad team to create an already conceived notion or message of the law firm into an advertisement to be viewed or aired in the public.
There will continue to be debate on the differences between legal advertising and legal public relations in the UK. Meaning which one of the two advertising or public relations has a longer shelf life. It all depends on the perspective. Legal advertisements may seem to have a longer shelf life as the ads can always run in the print or any medium. However, the ad will run for as long as you continue to pay for it.
On the other hand, even though press releases and other such information released to media sources may only be published once, it has been released into the public domain. It can continue to reach new clients and prospects indefinitely. Articles and blogs written online can be rewritten and resubmitted. Each time someone clicks on the law firm’s site, the process starts anew.
To contact a legal public relations firm contact Blackletter PR.
Here is more information on Marketing Law.
Jeremy Peters is a writer who specialises in Legal PR. Working for Black Letter PR and other clients. You can find him on Google Plus. Please add him to your circles.
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