Who do you trust to tell you who to trust?
We are experiencing a steep decline in the credibility of most cultural institutions these days, but still the adage is true – nothing you can say about yourself is more believable than what someone else says about you.
Third party affirmation is a powerful source of information for those making buying decisions. That’s why so many people employ testimonials, reviews and rating services. Add the credibility of the news media and you have a potent combination.
This is especially true in the field of law, where ethics rules restrict the ability of attorneys to differentiate themselves from others in the public arena and clients are protected from knowing the results of legal actions for fear that they will be misled.
News coverage of what you do has the added benefit of being exempt from most violations because it is reporters and editors describing your results and not you.
Study after study clearly shows that people believe the news media over the various forms of paid advertising. A 2006 study commissioned by Edelman, the international PR firm, indicated that 66% of respondents considered articles in business magazines to be credible, while only seven percent felt that product or service ads had any merit.
When asked by Nielsen in 2009 to rate information sources that have “some degree of your trust,” 69% selected newspaper editorial content as opposed to 33% who listed online banner ads.
How many times have you heard a report on radio, seen it on television news or read it in the newspaper or in a magazine that features one of your competitors, often one with less experience and ability? Did you wonder how that happened or surmise that someone was paid off or cashed in a favor.
What’s more likely is that your competitor or a media relations consultant presented a reporter or editor with a good story. The process is simple, especially for consultants who were once members of the media. They committed an act of journalism, wrapping that attorney around a compelling story that an audience wants to experience and selling the package to a media outlet hungry for good stories.
Some attorneys do no other promotion than stroking the media, and you see them quoted over and over again in different contexts and in a wide variety of media. That consistent stream of media efforts can evolve into a rushing torrent of clients for an attorney who sounds in the media as if he knows what he is saying.