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6 key ingredients of effective law firm press releases

As the media continues to evolve in this electronic age, newsrooms are shrinking or disappearing, the role of journalists is changing, and opportunities for publishing news online are proliferating. The type of information getting published – especially online – also is changing. A decade ago, the chances of getting a law firm press release published verbatim were almost nil. Today, with news and aggregate websites in abundance, wire services publishing on the Web, and more non-journalism-trained editors deciding what gets published, the tables have turned for the press release as a PR tool.

A press release is no longer a vehicle just for informing journalists (who, in the past, mostly cherry-picked the facts they needed from a press release to incorporate into their own stories). In many cases today, a press release is the complete story that your audience will see. That makes the stakes higher than ever before. With that in mind, consider these tips on key ingredients and useful elements to include when writing a law firm press release.

  • Include an attention-grabbing headline.
  • Include the most “newsworthy” information in the first two to three paragraphs – your audience may not read beyond that.
  • Emphasise what’s different about you, your firm or whatever news you’re communicating. Reporters love “firsts” and precedent-setting developments (if they are legit).
  • Insert web links to your law firm’s site and blogs, attorney biographies, and related external web pages. (Even if publishers use “nofollow” links that don’t pass link juice, you will still point readers to your firm’s website where they can further engage with your content.)
  • If there’s a related video, link to that also or embed it into the press release. YouTube and Vimeo players make it easy to copy embed codes.
  • For releases about attorneys, add links to their social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter).
  • Provide an email address and phone number for someone knowledgeable and responsive as a media contact.
  • Employ useful content. Great storytelling is what sells a release, and these add-ons and themes will help get reporters and editors invested in your news:
  • Provide statistics, if applicable, to add timeliness and credibility to your story.
  • Add local angles. For example, if a law firm has multiple offices, consider customising releases for each office with a different market (city) dateline. In each release, quote a local attorney/office head on firmwide stories. Consider other ways to localise your release to interest journalists in each city where you want coverage.
  • Try to pivot from a current event or story in the news. For example, for a press release about a new law firm office, juxtapose it against a recent story about a downturn in new business openings in the community.
  • Relate your news to current or emerging trends in the legal industry. Reporters often are interested in piggybacking on top of what’s on the cutting edge.
  • Analyse the impact of the news or development that your release covers. Don’t just report the news about you or your firm – explain how it may affect clients, the business community, other lawyers and law firms, and other key constituents.
  • Include at least one good quote from an attorney source or the subject of the release. This adds “color,” personalises the information, and breaks up the routine facts of “who, what, when, where and how.”

Don’t be intimidated by having to produce the perfect law firm press release every time out. By including as many key elements as possible, and hitting upon a couple of attention-grabbing content themes, you’re likely to have success in getting published and positively building the public reputations of yourself and your law firm.

Is NOW the right time to expand your business Internationally?

Expanding your business Internationally is a monumental task but, if done right, can be a significant driver of growth. We are proud to say that we now have coverage in 190 countries, with a small team and no outside funding.

Invest in a scalable infrastructure

Build a platform that is designed to scale from day one. For example, we made sure that Advisory Excellence was set up with infrastructure where it was easy to add new countries, and track KPIs globally.

A focus on marketing channels that can scale, such as Google, Youtube, Pinterest and Linkedin, can also prove useful in building a strong foundation for future growth. Whatever your budget, these platforms allow you to test the waters as knowledge of your market increases. As campaign metrics demonstrate positive growth, your company can expand budgets to grow reach Internationally.

Think globally, act globally

Being in hypergrowth mode is exhilarating but there are plenty of opportunities to learn from mistakes. When you scale very quickly, there is no time to micromanage locally. Only tailor locally what has been proven to make a significant impact.

Build a small but mighty team

Crafting a small but mighty team is key to moving forward in a positive direction. Even if there are only a small number of individuals, a dynamic team can move mountains when the focus is right. Create a high passion and energetic team which is invested in the future of the business.

If you instil one motto in your team, it should be: fail fast, learn and improve. We love trying new ideas and encourage the whole team to continuously test, especially when it’s outside their comfort zone. The only requirement we set is to approach it methodically, to document the results and to share learnings with the team.

Stay community-focused

Nurture your brand ambassadors; your first and most loyal members or customers will be your strongest voices if they can be involved. We’ve been around since 2013 and have built a community that continuously stays engaged. Listen to your members or customers, speak with them every week and make changes based on your insights. As a result of listening to our members, we decided to start hosting events. There is nothing stronger than a real-life experience and it really makes us stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Getting more feedback from your audience can push your business to new heights. We collaborate with our members, so a lot of our content is member-generated.

Work smart

Automate time-consuming tasks. We believe we have a strong proposition for individuals around the world and (while there have been many lessons along the way!) expanding into new markets has been one of the most rewarding things we have done.

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High Court blocks iPhone data breach class action against Google

The High Court has blocked a mass legal action against Google over claims that it collected sensitive personal data from more than four million iPhone users.

Mr Justice Warby, sitting in London, announced his decision on Monday.

The litigation was brought by campaign group Google You Owe Us, led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd.

The tech giant faced claims that it bypassed privacy settings on Apple iPhone handsets between August 2011 and February 2012 and used data to divide people into categories for advertisers.

The campaign group hoped to win at least £1 billion in compensation for an estimated 4.4 million users of the device in the UK.

At the first hearing of the case in London in May, lawyers for Mr Lloyd told the court that information collected by Google included racial or ethnic origin, physical and mental health, political affiliations or opinions, sexuality and sexual interests and social class.

They said information about an individual’s financial situation, shopping habits and their geographical location were also obtained.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mr Lloyd, said information was then “aggregated” and users were put into groups such as “football lovers” or “current affairs enthusiasts”.

These were then offered to subscribing advertisers to choose from when deciding who to direct their marketing to.

Mr Tomlinson said the data was gathered through “clandestine tracking and collation” of information relating to internet usage on iPhone users’ Safari browser – known as the “Safari Workaround”.

He told Mr Justice Warby the activity was exposed by a PhD researcher in 2012 and Google has already paid 39.5 million US dollars to settle claims in the United States.

Google argued that the type of “representative action” being brought against it by Mr Lloyd is unsuitable and should not go ahead.

Lawyers for the California-based company said there is no suggestion that the Safari Workaround resulted in any information being disclosed to third parties.

They also said it is not possible to identify those who may have been affected and the claim has no prospect of success.

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Why California’s new consumer privacy law won’t be GDPR 2.0

The consumer privacy law that California’s governor signed into law on June 28 is considered the strongest, most aggressive privacy protection measure in the U.S., according to legal experts.

The new California law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will require that companies tell state residents what information the company is collecting and how it’s used. It also gives people options to ask the company to delete or stop selling that information. The law does not prevent companies from collecting people’s information or give people an option to ask a company to stop collecting their information, differentiating it from GDPR.

“The sweeping nature of this bill is really unprecedented in the privacy area, and its impacts are still far from known,” said Dan Jaffe, group evp for government relations at the Association of National Advertisers.

The law contains “broad sweeping definitions of personal information,” said Ron Camhi, managing partner at law firm Michelman & Robinson’s Los Angeles office and chair of its advertising and digital media industry group. That personal information includes standard categories like people’s names, email addresses and Social Security numbers. But it also covers unique personal identifiers: IP addresses; geolocation data; shopping, browsing and search histories; and consumer profiles that are based on inferences from personal information.

The inclusion of unique identifiers — which ad tech firms use to anonymously track people around the web — means that any ad tech firm storing tracking cookies on people’s devices will need to give people an option to ask the company to delete the information collected through those cookies and will also need to ensure that those cookies and any corresponding information aren’t exposed in a data breach, which would make the company subject to a class-action lawsuit.

On the other hand, the law includes a loophole for any personal information that is “de-identified or in the aggregate consumer information,” according to the law. If the personal information can’t be associated with a particular consumer, then it would be de-identified, said Camhi. But it’s not clear whether the types of identifiers that run the online advertising ecosystem are or are not subject to the law, said Mayer.

The law suggests that online tracking cookies and mobile advertising IDs, which are used to collect information about individual devices, may fall under its jurisdiction. However, digital advertising companies may argue that they meet the law’s exemption standard because they aggregate those identifiers into larger, anonymized audience pools.

“All of this is still in flux. But arguably, anonymized information doesn’t allow you to create that [consumer] profile, so that you can’t draw it to [an individual person]. With a cookie situation that’s tied to a device that’s tied to a person, that may not necessarily be the case,” said Donna Wilson, managing partner-elect at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and chair of the law and consulting firm’s privacy and data security practice.

What’s more clear is that digital advertising companies shouldn’t take comfort that their practices would be exempt from the law. Even if a company claims that it has disassociated the information with an individual person, it will need to ensure that the disassociation cannot be undone and that the data is reconnected to the individual, said Camhi and Wilson.

A week after California’s governor signed the bill into law, many in the advertising industry are still scratching their heads over the possible loophole and defaulting to assuming that there is no loophole because “almost any kind of data connected to some other data is capable of being associated with somebody,” said Jaffe.

Ad tech firm Exponential Interactive buys data from third-party companies to use for ad targeting purposes. “But when we buy it, it is totally aggregated,” said Tim Sleath, the company’s vp of product management and data protection officer. However Exponential Interactive uses cookie IDs to be able to match the aggregated third-party data to its own audience pools in order to target people with ads without accessing the underlying data, such as people’s names or email addresses. That cookie-based matching process likely subjects the ad tech firm to needing to comply with the law, even if it were to somehow remove the cookie-based identifiers from the process.

“If you have a behavioral profile for someone, even if you strip the IP address and cookie ID, that behavioral profile, which I would classify as deidentified, remains personal information under this [law],” said Sleath.

Facebook and Google have already rolled out features required by the law, such privacy settings that categorize the information that the companies collect from people and tools for people to request that information be deleted. The companies claim that they don’t sell people’s information so they don’t need to give people a way to request that the companies stop selling their data. That would help to explain why Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company supports the California privacy law that has been passed, though the company donated money to the organization opposing a similar ballot initiative.

“For the major online platforms, I think this law will have very little impact,” said Jonathan Mayer, assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and former chief technologist of the Federal Communications Commission.

There remains roughly 18 months until the law takes effect, and since the law was passed by the state legislature instead of by California voters, the details of the law can change before it is enacted. But before the industry can try to get California lawmakers to clarify, if not change, the specifics of the law, it will need to assess the impact of this initial version and identify what changes to request.

“The ANA has more than 2,000 members. We’ve gone out to our members asking how this will impact them. Clearly, we’ve not had time to get that input yet, and people are still trying to figure that out,” said Jaffe.

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Google Doodle Honors British Engineer Hubert Cecil Booth

British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth, helped to revolutionise the way we clean our homes.

Celebrated in a Google Doodle on the 147th anniversary of his birth, Booth was the first to conceive a device that sucked up dirt instead of blowing it away.

A horse-drawn, petrol-powered machine too large to be used in buildings, his “Puffy Billy” looked little like the technology used on carpets in every household today.

But the way it operated was essentially the same as a modern vacuum cleaner.

Booth’s inspiration was an American inventor who demonstrated a device blowing dust off chairs at a theatre in London in 1901.

Booth later said he realised “if the system could be reversed, and a filter inserted between the suction apparatus and the outside air, whereby the dust would be retained in a receptacle, the real solution of the hygienic removal of dust would be obtained”.

He tested his theory by putting a handkerchief over his mouth and seeing how much dust he could suck up.

He found the technique worked – although what Booth’s dining companions thought of his behaviour is less clear – and the Puffing Billy was soon born.

Powered by an internal combustion engine, it used piston pumps and to draw air through flexible pipes fed through a building’s windows.

An electric-powered device soon followed, which Booth used to offer cleaning services to businesses through his British Vacuum Cleaner Company.

Despite drawing noise complaints, the machines received royal seal of approval and were enlisted to clean the carpets of Westminster Abbey before Edward VII’s coronation.

They were also used to clean naval barracks, as well as factories, theatres and shops.

The vacuum even led to Booth’s arrest after one of his inventions inadvertently sucked up silver dust from coins at the Royal Mint. However, he was soon released.

Booth later turned his focus to the domestic market after founding Goblin, a company which manufactured his vacuum cleaners for sale.

However, it was William Henry Hoover’s rival firm which would come to dominate that market and become synonymous with the modern-day vacuum.

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Google just rebranded its $100 billion advertising business

Google, which books more than $100 billion per year in advertising revenue, announced on Tuesday that it is streamlining multiple advertising technologies into three main products called Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager.

While the change is mostly cosmetic, it’s a subtle acknowledgment that consumers are increasingly accessing the internet and viewing ads on a variety of devices, not just on their computers.

About 85 percent of Google’s total revenue comes from its technologies that place advertising on its properties and partner sites. It dominates online advertising alongside Facebook, with the two companies taking in 56.8 percent of all U.S. digital advertising spending, per eMarketer.

Despite this massive success, the company is eliminating the AdWords brand, which launched in 2000 as one of Google’s first advertising products, and the DoubleClick brand, which it acquired in 2007.

AdWords allowed marketers to buy ads on Google properties and partner networks through search terms, text or banner ads (known as display), video ads, or in mobile apps. It brought in $95.4 billion last year according to Google’s government filings. But its name still reflects the days where desktop and websites were the main way to access the internet, and the internet is a much different place from when Google started selling advertising 18 years ago.

Google announced in 2016 that there were more searches coming from mobile than desktop in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. Advertisers realize this, and they want flexible ways to reach customers wherever they are, not just on the web.

Google Ads is primarily just a name change for AdWords. Like its predecessor, it will allow companies to buy ads on Google’s ad network across different platforms, including searches, YouTube videos, Google Maps, Google Play, Android Store apps and on partner sites. Instead of buying a specific type of behaviour (desktop viewer, mobile viewer, etc.), Google’s system will allocate advertising dollars across platforms based on the customers advertisers are trying to reach.

However, there’s one small change: Google Ads will make it easier for smaller businesses to advertise through Google. An option called Smart Campaigns will let companies create an ad within minutes through a set form, and set a goal like getting phone calls, sending people to their website or bringing customers to their store.

Google Marketing Platform is aimed for larger advertisers and media buyers, and will combine advertising technology from DoubleClick, which Google acquired in 2007, and data management from Google Analytics 360 to help companies purchase and track the effectiveness of their ads.

Google Ad Manager is a product to help publishers manage spaces on their sites available for advertising, otherwise known as ad inventory. It subsumes DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

Smaller web sites will continue to use AdSense, which lets advertisers place small ads on their sites, and mobile app developers will continue to use AdMob, which lets them earn money from mobile ads in their apps.

To continue to thrive across all these platforms, Google will have to continue tracking user behaviour, especially as advertisers grow more demanding. As people grow increasingly wary of technology firms monitoring what they do online and more regulation comes into effect, Google will have to tread a line between helping marketers find customers and keeping personal data private.