The power of the pen/keyboard

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Nothing says “expert” like having your written work published, and these days, editors are increasingly interested in contributed articles for their publications. It’s a win-win situation because the editor receives quality content without paying a journalist and you and your law firm receive quality exposure, not to mention a bump in your legal credibility. Here are some tips on how to use the power of the pen/keyboard to advance your position in the legal community.

Give a Teaser

Before you write the article, you must sell your idea to the editor. This means knowing the target publication inside and out. Know what types of articles it usually runs and explain how you will keep to that style yet bring something unique that the publication’s readers will be interested in. Your “teaser” should be short and to the point. It could also help to keep several different versions on hand, each tailored to different publications.  Thinking about ways to relate your expertise to slightly different audiences will help you see more opportunities.

Write with Confidence

When you’ve got the go-ahead from the editor, it’s time to think like a reporter. Statistics are golden, but you must cite where you’ve pulled those numbers from. It’s also important that while you are clearly promoting yourself as the expert, don’t be afraid to share the spotlight. Include quotes from other prominent legal experts or reference information or research from trade journals or associations. There is nothing wrong with this — it shows your ability to pull a variety of information and sources together to write a strong and comprehensive article.

Get a Head Start

Recycling is a popular trend these days and it also applies to your writing. Do you have a stack of old newsletters? Have you written articles in the past? Is there a press release archive on your website? These are just a few examples of where you can pull content from to make it easier for you to write an entire article. Save yourself time and energy by repurposing your old work and making necessary edits and additions, keeping in mind the target audience and any relevant current events. This is a good starting place for anyone who has not contributed an article before.

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