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Why press releases are important for digital marketing

Press releases have changed a lot over the years; not only are they a public relations tool, but they are also an essential content marketing component and media relations tool for both online advertising and offline marketing in 2019. Law firms can benefit from adding press releases to their digital marketing plan. Since the end result of a digital marketing strategy is to connect with current and potential clients, adding press releases to a law firm’s digital marketing can help gain exposure and raise brand awareness.

Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, that means you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on digital media platforms. Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use a mobile device, or on the Internet. Law firms can leverage email marketing, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, and social media marketing across all social networks (such as LinkedIn, or even Snapchat, which has grown in popularity in recent years). Adding press releases into their content marketing can help them gain brand awareness and reach current and prospective clients on digital channels.

Incorporating Press Releases in a Digital Marketing Strategy:

Effectively using press release distribution services and their media outlets will boost the power and reach of the business owners digital marketing strategies without breaking the bank or hurting the bottom-line. Digital media coverage of your small business news story is a must, and a good press release is a very cost-effective way to get press release services like EIN or PR Newswire to carry your online press release. Done correctly, each news media company that carries your story will provide a link from their website to yours.

This link is called a backlink, which can be a powerful component of affiliate marketing. It is a sign that tells the search engines that your public relations information or brand image is relevant, and it can help affect your websites ranking on search engines like Google or Bing. This little nugget of information that you have produced can be seen around the world without hammering the bottom line of the company.

Press releases have become more important as a digital marketing tool. Your news article or news releases become much more powerful when picked up and distributed by the news media and distributed across digital platforms. The news media links to your press release help expand the reach of your content marketing articles, news stories, or public relations pieces. The goal is to have your public relations stories picked up and served to searchers looking on the first page of the SERP (search engine results page).

Why Press Releases Are Important:

  • Take e-commerce or B2B for example. Announcing the release of a new product, new service or plans for a product launch, or upgrade is easy and cost-effective. According to various case studies, writing a good press release and getting it distributed online can create brand awareness by letting the masses know about your new business or service.
  • If you want to announce a new product or service, you can draft a press release and immediately get your news found in real time on all major search engines and social media networks by using a press release distribution service. This also enables you to target thousands of journalists.
  • Your Brand Image can be affected. Since publishing is so easy, just write up your news story and then distribute it as a press release. Sending out press releases is easy and a sure-fire way to get attention and gain brand awareness. More good press releases you have on the internet can effectively improve and increase your brand’s image.
  • Add an image or video to your press releases. Research has shown that a good image or video has a much better chance of being clicked than items or content marketing stories with no images. Use multimedia to enhance the news story and tell your story while allowing search engine optimisation to get that information in front of more people. Adding an image or video also helps to improve user experience.
  • With the push of a button, you can have your public relations piece seen across the globe. Many of the press release distribution services allow for instant gratification in real time. No more relying on content marketing strategies that require journalists to read your piece and then hope that they call you or followup. Press release distribution services can distribute your information to millions of people around the world instantly, Your press release story should also be released across all marketing channels, including social media platforms. Utilising social networks can help to get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns and overall marketing efforts.
  • Make the search engines read your public relations materials. Adding internal links to pages on your website in the press release, such as using your phone number to lead to your site’s contact page, will direct readers and the search engines to learn more about what your company does or the services it offers.
  • So many people can see this. Online press releases can be written to accommodate a social media perspective. You can copy and paste your press release from a news media website and place it directly into your social media posts. Your story just looks better and has more authority when the media outlets carry it. Everyone that shares your public relations pieces over the various social media networks helps your content marketing strategy to prevail.
  • Your content marketing pieces are just press releases. You only need to write them as such so that your target audience can read your press releases anywhere at any time via laptop, desktop, or on mobile apps.
  • Search engine optimisation. Adding internal and external links to your press release, along with targeted keywords, helps to optimise the press release, which tells the search engines that your information is relevant and important. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, there are countless marketing courses online that carefully elaborate on the best methods and courses of action.

There are many newswire services and press release distribution services. Any reputable wire services or press release distribution service should provide you with a listing of all the locations and websites where your press release can be found. You should be able to have a listing with live links of all locations carrying your post. There are other considerations to take as well, like whether you receive a “do follow” or “no follow” backlink to your website or blog.

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Exclusive: A lawyer’s guide to keeping it professional on social media

In today’s environment, social media allows people to instantly share their opinions with the world. However, given the many heated issues that dominate our national discourse, there can be a tendency to post (or tweet) in anger or passion, which can lead to regrets later.

This risk is especially dangerous for attorneys. While attorneys may sometimes view their presence on social media to be in a “personal” capacity, the reality is that the line between personal and business can be blurred, or may not exist at all. In particular, with respect to an attorney’s ethical obligations, it may not be a very effective defence for an attorney to claim that she was acting in her personal capacity, and not as a lawyer, when she violated an ethical rule.

Recognising the rise of these issues in the age of social media, the State Bar of California issued a Formal Opinion in 2012 that addressed the interplay between postings on a supposedly personal social media page and the ethical rules governing attorney advertising. State Bar of California Formal Op. No. 2012-186. At issue were certain posts on an attorney’s personal social media page that highlighted the successes the attorney had on other cases, such as “Another great victory in court today! My client is delighted. Who wants to be next?” The California Bar concluded that, even among posts relating to the attorney’s personal life, such posts and others constituted the solicitation of clients or otherwise “concern[ed] the availability for professional employment,” and thus were required to comply with the rules for attorney advertising set forth in the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

Another potential issue exacerbated by the rise of social media is the potential for “positional” conflicts. Such a conflict may typically exist where, for example, an attorney argues for a certain interpretation of a statute in one lawsuit because it is in the best interests of one client, but then at the same time argues for the opposite interpretation of the same statute in another lawsuit on behalf of a different client. Comment 6 to Rule 1.7 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct (as effective Nov. 1, 2018) provides that such circumstances typically do not create a conflict requiring the client’s informed written consent unless certain factors are present.

However, it is arguably less clear how positional conflicts may function in the context of positions taken on social media. Comment 4 to Rule 1.7 provides that a conflict of interest requiring informed written consent) exists “if there is a significant risk that a lawyer’s ability to consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially limited as a result of the lawyer’s other responsibilities, interests, or relationships, whether legal, business, financial, professional, or personal.” Interpreting similar provisions, at least one bar association has stated that attorneys sharing information on social media sites should exercise caution “when stating positions on issues, as those stated positions could be adverse to an interest of a client, thus inadvertently creating a conflict.” See District of Columbia Bar Ethics Op. 370.

Although some commentators have suggested that the D.C. Bar’s opinion goes too far to limit attorneys, social media posts can also create sticky client relations issues even if the posts do not rise to the level of a traditional conflict of interest. Below are some tips for avoiding issues when using social media.

Considering Staying Neutral

Social media is generally not a place for balanced, well-reasoned assessments of issues but is used by many to express visceral reactions to news events. While attorneys may feel the urge to immediately share their thoughts with the world, they do so at their own risk.

For example, if Congress is considering passing a law that may impact a client, an attorney may be inclined to immediately offer her or his opinion on that law without regard to whether that position is aligned with the client’s. Even if the attorney’s posting does not create an actual conflict, a client certainly may be less than pleased to see its law firm advocating for a position if that position stands to harm the client’s business, financial or legal interests.

Likewise, commenting on ongoing cases can also be risky, but attorneys who feel compelled to do so can limit their risks by avoiding taking a definite stance and instead presenting a balanced analysis. That could help avoid creating any potential positional conflict with the interests of a client of the attorney and her or his law firm.

Avoid Unprofessional Conduct

Attorneys (typically) understand that their correspondence and briefs should be consistent with the level of decorum expected of members of the bar. Too often, that level of decorum is thrown out the window on social media. However, despite the informality of social media, it should not be considered as a free zone for unprofessional conduct.

A good rule of thumb is to ask whether the comment made on social media would be appropriate if standing outside a courtroom or at a dinner party. Many times, attorneys post comments on social media that they would never say in a face-to-face conversation, much less one with a client.

In some respects, comments on social media are worse than face-to-face conversations, as they are generally broadcast to the world and preserved for posterity. Courts and bars are increasingly taking notice of these issues and applying the same bar rules to social media as they do to traditional legal correspondence.

Think First

The most obvious tip can often be the hardest in practice. Before posting on any substantive issue (e.g., legal or political issues), it is helpful to stop and think practically about the post and the possible response from their firms, clients, and potential clients. Where practical, it may be a good idea to first run the posting by a colleague or firm leadership to ensure that it does not create any unintended conflicts or client relations issues.

Too often, attorneys instead let their emotions take over and fire off a post without a second thought. While attorneys certainly can use social media effectively in establishing a presence in their community or in a certain practice area, the undisciplined use of social media can unfortunately create the wrong kind of presence very quickly.

Shari L. Klevens is a partner at Dentons US and serves on the firm’s US Board of Directors. She represents and advises lawyers and insurers on complex claims, is co-chair of Dentons’ global insurance sector team, and is co-author of “California Legal Malpractice Law” (2014).

Alanna Clair is a partner at Dentons US and focuses on professional liability defence. Shari and Alanna are co-authors of “The Lawyer’s Handbook: Ethics Compliance and Claim Avoidance.”

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Monday Motivation: Meet the self-starters

Ever fancied yourself as an digital entrepreneur? To get you inspired, we’ve taken a look at some of the most successful digital self-starters who, armed with a laptop and a great idea, grew their start-ups into global household names.

1. Daniel Ek, Spotify

The first time Martin Lorentzon met his Spotify co-founder, Daniel Ek was sleeping on a bare mattress in his apartment with just a laptop to keep him company. This is where the pair coined the name of the Swedish music streaming company, which they went on to launch in beta-form in 2007. The platform is now available in 60 countries worldwide with a catalogue of 30 million songs.

2. Pierre Omidyar, eBay

Originally called ‘Auction Web’, Pierre Omidyar launched the first iteration of eBay from his front room with only a few small items for sale. His girlfriend (now wife) was a Pez collector and he even set up an area of the site dedicated to finding other Pez enthusiasts. Now you can sell almost anything on the auction site and there have been some standout purchases over the years – including a grilled cheese sandwich with a likeness to Jesus, and a superyacht that sold for US$168 million.

3. Evan Sharp, Pinterest

Before Pinterest was Pinterest, Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra’s business idea wasn’t the success story they’d been dreaming of. Their first start-up was called ‘Tote’ and aggregated shopping results and sale information. After countless investment rejections, they finally had a taker and brought Evan Sharp in to help move the company towards the content saving and storing site we know today.

4. Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, Snapchat

Snapchat started as a university project for students at Stanford and was first called Picaboo. Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown wanted to send pictures to friends that would then disappear. After a bit of a fall-out between the three guys working on the media-sharing app, it was renamed Snapchat and released to the public in the autumn of 2011.

5. Naveen Salvadurai, Foursquare

There’s no denying that coffee gets our cerebral juices flowing and that’s how Dennis Crowley and Naveen Salvadurai came up with Foursquare. The pair spent loads of time laptop-bound in New York coffee shops building the first iteration of the location-based recommendation site, so much so that friends began poking fun and thus, Foursquare’s ‘mayor’ feature was born.

6. Brian Chesky, Airbnb

All the best start-ups come from some good old-fashioned problem solving and that’s how Airbnb came about. Co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were broke and needed to pay their rent. They set up airbedandbreakfast.com and advertised three spare air mattresses in their San Francisco loft apartment, with people paying US$80 each, including breakfast. It took a further four years, countless rejections and a simplification of the company name to get big money investors interested.

7. Garrett Camp, Uber

Serial entrepreneurs Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanik were attending the LeWeb tech conference in Paris together and wanted something new to work on. They locked themselves in a hotel room with good music and good drinks until 5am and came up with the idea of making taxi ordering more reliable and affordable. Uber was born. Today, you can find an on-demand driver in over 600 cities worldwide and get food delivered with the service too.

8. Reed Hastings, Netflix

Sick of late fees and driving back and forth to the rental store, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings started Netflix for an easier way to watch their favourite movies. Today, the video behemoth is available in 190 countries and now has a substantial production arm that’s doing pretty well. Netflix’s home-grown titles have won a slew of Emmys, including Best Supporting Actress for Orange is the New Black and Best Director of a Drama Series for House of Cards.

9. Drew Houston, Dropbox

Possibly one of the humblest beginnings of all on our list, Drew Houston had a brainwave for Dropbox in a bus station. He was waiting to catch his ride home, when he realised he’d forgotten his USB drive. Right there and then he whipped out his trusty laptop and started writing the code for the file storing and sharing service.

10. Stewart Butterfield, Slack

You may have come across this start-up in your office. Slack is the messaging and productivity service taking our workplaces by storm. Stewart Butterfield’s start-up actually began as an internal tool, created for his team at games developer Tiny Speck to better communicate with each other. The name is an acronym for ‘Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge’, as it allows users to search all messages and files sent on the platform.