for a strong, fast pick-me-up
Here’s how YOU can use the news to attract client interest, make your business more visible, and win more work.
By use the news – I mean write in a news style and use techniques that make your business content more newsworthy.
Inspired by Colbert’s Truthiness – I encourage YOU to think Newsy-ness!
You can improve your visibility through mentions in mainstream media AND you can make your website content more compelling to your existing and potential clients.
This article focussed on Law firm websites – and you can use the same principles for other professional businesses too.
I’m a lawyer turned journalist and business communication consultant. I help professionals (not just lawyers) use news and news writing techniques to stand out from business competitors and make their business offerings more relevant to clients.
I’m a real website “nerd” and I carefully analyse best practices from overseas and in Australia.
The firm Slater & Gordon from Australia is a good example of how YOU use the news
I do not work for Slater & Gordon. I do however carefully analyse their work because they are a well-known plaintiff law firm bringing actions in asbestos-related and insurance compensation claims. They have been in the news a lot in widely publicised Australian cases – so they have plenty of experience with and awareness of the news.
The firm features Latest News prominently on their home page on the Left Hand side.
Here are three ways YOU can use the news.
1. Write your content “headlines” in a newsy style with the type of dramatic words and dare I say “tabloid clichés” that the media use to get their audience attention – e.g. warns the clock is ticking on…
Mind you – at a law firm, such newsy headlines should also be accurate. Yes – it is possible to be dramatic and yet accurate.
When I consult to Public Relations organisations I teach their people how to “spice up” their staid business media releases with more dramatic angles and words like:
warn, urge, alarming, shocking, ticking time bomb, danger, risk
Hint: use the punchy, attention-grabbing words you often see in newspaper or on-line news headlines. Pay attention to headlines and make a list of dramatic newsy words you can use
2. Good timing. Like a media organisation the firm has a strong sense of news timing – rolling out stories related to the time of year. For example, on major holidays when workers are entitled to increased pay rates they roll out stories along the lines of:
This Easter workers urged to check their pay entitlements.
They could (and probably do) use the same angle on any major vacation.
3. Use news events as “news pegs” to hang your legal issue stories on.
One example I was impressed with was how Slater & Gordon used a cyclone (and potential housing damage) to connect with the danger of asbestos that could have been released by destruction.
This technique scored media attention: Asbestos Warning in Cyclone Rusty’s Wake.
Another example was using a popular television show (The Block) about home renovation as a news peg – because renovating old homes can expose people to the dangers of asbestos. The business-related content about was in the firm’s blog – and it’s a good example of how YOU can use the news in your blog posts.
I know these shows like The Block are not technically news – but they are well watched, well known, and often well promoted (sometimes as “news” stories) by the channels that run them.
Hint: I know many lawyers are too busy to watch a lot of mainstream television. I certainly am usually too busy to watch much commercial television – and these days I no longer work the long, long hours of lawyers!
When I get a chance, like being away on a training trip with the rare gift of time at night or in the mornings – I deliberately try to “stay in touch” with and watch mainstream television.
I encourage you to stay aware of mainstream television (the big popular shows watched by “the masses”) and relate your content to one of the shows. I thought using The Block as a new peg was very clever and effective .
If your lawyers or other professionals are too busy – brainstorm with other people in your office of how you can connect business issues with mainstream media culture.
I recently worked with very busy spokespeople (doctors rather than lawyers) and I recommended that a range of other people in their office help connect business issues to mainstream media and pop culture. We wanted a range of different age groups with a range of different media viewing habits.
Some people watched the ABC or SBS – others got their news from Channel Ten’s The Project. Think of the media (radio, TV, print and on-line) that YOUR audience consumes.
So a summary for how you can use the news to make your business content more compelling.
If you are interested in learning more about how you and your people can use the news – I can help by running short sessions on how to write in a newsy style, news angles and the elements of newsworthiness… and of course – newsy-ness!
So who is writing this?
Hi, I’m Tony Biancotti and I’m a lawyer turned journalist and business communication consultant.
Sure, I’m a bit of a “nerd” when it comes to business communication – but I get lots of feedback that people like my enthusiastic knowledge of and passion for the power of words and images and techniques of engaging people.
I can share with you practical and easy-to-apply tips I’ve gathered over many years working as a: