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When Horsing Around Pays Off

by Tom Ciesielka

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Sometimes technology doesn't have to solve everything. In the Herald & Review newspaper, reporter Chris Lusvardi described how a man showed up for his court appearance in central Illinois: instead of driving, which he wasn't allowed to do since his driver's license was suspended, he rode a horse and made it to the courthouse "with plenty of time to spare."

Lawyers can learn about public relations from this no-tech solution, which ironically got lots of attention online. Here are three takeaways from the story:

1 - Simple things can get publicity. A man and a horse come nowhere close to the advanced technology of a Google car. Integrating simplicity into our daily lives can be accomplished in other ways, too. One way to be proactive without using technology is to thank a client or colleague with a handwritten note. A lot of people get junk mail, bills, and correspondence that are always printed or typed. A notecard with a personal message inked with a pen stands out and shows others that you've taken the time and thought to make them feel special.

2 - Be visual. When the man decided to ride a horse, he was being practical, since no one was available to drive him to court. However, what he did created a lasting impression because the picture of him and the horse appeared on various websites, in an unexpected burst of publicity. In the same way, attorneys can think about their own cases in terms of what kinds of images would get noticed to create more attention for their clients or firms. For example, if there is police surveillance video that ties into a court case, make that available to the media.

3 - Consider residuals. Not only did the man get attention for his innovative way of overcoming a transportation challenge; what he did helped his reputation as well. Lusvardi quoted "an investigator with the Macon County Public Defender's Office" who said that what the man did was inspirational. "It can be a lesson...Some guys can't seem to make it, and they live two blocks away." Therefore, it's not only about how lawyers plan to get publicity, but also how the public responds to what they do.

It's important to be practical to ensure that your law practice and all of your cases are successful. Getting the facts right is crucial to communicating with the media and public effectively. However, when it comes to publicity, it's also important to be creative. Think beyond the facts and participants to come up with innovative ways that will make a splash and will help your reputation as well.

tciesielka
By Tom Ciesielka - President - TC Public Relations

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations, a public relations firm that specializes in serving small – midsize law firms, non-profits and faith-based organizations. For over 25 years Tom has worked in public relations, marketing, and business development. read more...

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