Can journalists find you?

June 9, 2016

A recent survey discovered only 6% of journalists find that newsrooms on corporate websites meet their expectations. At the top of the journalists’ list of bugbears: missing or hard to find contact details.
How do law firms stack up? At Infinite Global, we’ve just completed some research of our own looking at the online newsrooms of 100 of the world’s largest law firms – 50 headquartered in the UK and 50 headquartered in the US. Of these leading firms, 22% have no online newsroom and a further 16% do have an online newsroom, but it is not easy to find.
There are no named media contacts at 15% of the firms’ websites and 9% have no media contact information whatsoever. And even where contact information is available, it is often limited. Of those with named media contacts, nearly one in three provide just one individual’s name and contact information without alternatives should they be unavailable. Only 15% of firms provide mobile/cell numbers for out-of-office contact.
But perhaps those journalists wishing to talk to law firms have all the contact information they need? Surely they know who to talk to and don’t resort to looking for information on websites. Not so. We spoke to a few journalists about it.
A reporter on a US legal industry magazine summed it up, saying: “It can be frustrating trying to find the details of a suitable media contact at some firms.” Moreover, the legal correspondent on a UK national newspaper said: “It is not just the out-of-hours details that are hard to find. Many firms seem to bury even their normal working hours press contacts.”
And the features editor of a leading UK legal magazine said that some firms are missing out on positive profile: “The harder they are to contact the quicker I switch to looking up their competitors for comment instead.”
Of course, some firms are not interested in media coverage. But we know that is a small minority. We suggest that PR/communications teams at law firms take a fresh view at their own firm’s website, looking at it from the point of view of a visiting journalist. Does it provide the information they are likely to be looking for?
But before you do, read our full report on law firm online newsrooms, which as well as covering contact information, looks at the ease of searching press releases, finding background information on financials, headcount, insight and opinion, and additional newsroom facilities such as print-quality photographs of key people – all things journalists may seek when visiting your website.