Nathan Miller, writing in Forbes, nailed it…
As the CEO of a strategic communications firm in Los Angeles, I frequently work with lawyers. Whether my client is a high-profile individual in the middle of active litigation, a nonprofit engaged in a public education campaign or a large corporation getting ahead of a story — good or bad — there is a legal team at the center of the action.
As I have seen time and again, great working relationships with counsel mean better results for our mutual client. Below are six tips for attorneys to effectively hire and manage a strong communications team to support your client’s goals.
1. Rely on professionals who truly understand how the communications environment has changed.
In just a couple of years, the skillset, contacts and knowledge required of top-notch communications professionals working on high-profile crises and legal issues have shifted dramatically. From the transformation and decline of traditional journalism to the rise of digital platforms to spread messages and protect reputations, to the challenges of hacking and information warfare, we are all operating in a brave new world. Make sure the people driving your communications strategy are not operating according to legacy models with outdated information. You and your client need communications professionals who are fluent in this new media landscape.
To determine this, you could ask them questions like: How will you manage our digital ecosystem around the press? What is your tactical approach to amplifying positive stories? How will you help us to navigate if negative comments are bubbling up on social media or damaging our SEO?
2. Find team players.
It is critical that your communications partner sees the complete picture — not just their piece of the puzzle. Sometimes a course of action is vital for the legal strategy and terrible for the PR strategy. Or vice versa. You need a partner who will be able to work collaboratively with the rest of the team to understand and prioritize the client’s most important objectives. When making complex decisions with multiple considerations, the client — not the ego of a service provider — must always come first.
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