Publishing Articles In Major Media Outlets

Law Quill | Publishing Articles In Major Media Outlets
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Email

Table of Contents

Publishing articles in major media outlets is a business development and marketing strategy for many law firms. While those law firms are usually on a larger scale, there is no reason smaller firms and solo practitioners can not seek published work in commercial outlets. 

Choosing a publication, pitching an article, and ultimately having a piece published can be a long process, but it is worth it for many attorneys and their practices. With the right publication and article content, publishing in national news or trade publications has the potential to boost your law firm’s visibility, increase professional credibility, and drive traffic and potential clients to your website. 

Why Publish With Major Media Outlets? 

While lawyers who utilize digital marketing strategies tend to focus solely on their websites as a means of marketing their firm, there are a number of benefits to outsourcing publishing and working with third-party media outlets. Some of the reasons attorneys should consider publishing articles with commercial publishers include the following: 

  • Search engine optimization. Major media outlets are typically considered reputable sources by search engines, so obtaining a backlink from a commercial publisher to a law firm’s website sends positive signals to search engines about the law firm. 
  • Targeted distribution. Niche outlets publish content for curated audiences. If a lawyer publishes an article in a trade publication, it is more likely the piece will be read by prospective clients. 
  • Reach. A relatively small group of people seeks legal content compared to those who use the internet. It can be challenging for lawyers to reach their target audience on their own, which is why there is so much benefit to publishing with significant media outlets. 
  • External validation. Prospective clients who see the logo of a well-known publisher on the top of a legal article are more likely to trust what they are reading. 
  • Professional development. Attorneys who produce written materials in well-known media outlets are more likely to be seen with high regard by other legal professionals. With that, there is the potential for client referrals. 

While having content published with major media outlets is typically positive, there are some drawbacks to consider. First, some publishers require authors to transfer ownership of copyright. If that is the case, you will lose the ability to repurpose your work. There is also the possibility of potential reputational harm if the commercial outlet you publish content with has values that are inconsistent with your law firm’s brand. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of seeking major media publications so you can make the best decision for your law firm. 

Types of Third Party Publishers for Lawyers

There is a multitude of media outlets to choose from when looking to publish content outside of a law firm’s website. Publishers fall into different categories and come with their own advantages and disadvantages.   

Choosing the right third-party publisher for your content ultimately comes down to what you are looking to publish and the audience you want to reach. If you understand your options, you will be able to pursue the third party that is best for your goals and your website. 

Trade Publications 

Trade publications actively solicit articles from attorneys. In terms of advantages, trade publications are often well-received. The authors of their pieces are most likely able to publish the article on their own website or in other outlets. However, the primary downside is that other lawyers typically read trade legal publications, so it may be considered a weak source of potential clients. Examples of trade legal publications include Law360 and National Law Review

Business Publications 

Nearly every business sector has dedicated publications that bring in hundreds of prospective clients. Attorneys looking to target specific markets, like insurance or small business, should locate relevant business publications. L.A. Biz and RetailDIVE are examples of general business publications that accept attorney submission. 

Bar Association Publications 

The American Bar Association (ABA) and many other bar associations across the country offer publishing opportunities for lawyers. The ABA, in particular, has national publications, section publications, and committee publications that require a steady stream of attorney-authored content. 

In-house Counsel Publications 

Inhouse counsel publications conduct billions of dollars of legal business on an annual basis. For that reason, lawyers should consider publishing articles in outlets that target in-house counsel. Examples of in-house counsel publications include AAC Docket and Inside Counsel. 

Government Policy Publications

Jurisdictions like Washington DC support publications dedicated to government policymaking. Lobbyists, like the National Law Journal, accept submissions from attorneys. This is useful if attorneys are looking to obtain clients in an area of law with recent statute changes or additions

News and General Interest Publications 

Digital newspapers, like the Washington Post and Forbes, regularly run attorney-authored work. General interest publications have millions of viewers, which means there is serious potential for an attorney and their law firm to get noticed with even a single publication. 

How to Pitch and Publish an Article With a Major Media Outlet

Once you have found a media outlet interested in your authored work, it is time to develop a pitch targeted for that publication. Commercial publishers receive a high rate of submissions and are often selective when it comes to the articles they accept and ultimately publish. Successfully having an article published on any media outlet starts with a high-quality pitch.   

Understanding the Pitching Process 

Pitches are typically formatted as a one-page query letter. Top publications receive hundreds of queries monthly, so you want to ensure yours stands out. Well-crafted pitches are more likely to be accepted. To grab the attention of the editor, consider the following elements of your pitch: 

  • Hook. The hook is the first sentence or paragraph of your letter. Hooks should be unique and topical. It needs to grab the editor’s attention and encourage them to read further. The most effective hooks use surprising statistics, a problem and its solution, or an anecdote. 
  • Pitch. The pitch outlines the details of the proposed article. It can include a working title, estimated word count, and information on where the piece would best fit within the publication. 
  • Body. The body of a pitch is usually one to three paragraphs. It outlines an article’s topic, expert sources, images, and other elements. The body needs to flesh out what is expected to be covered without going into too much detail. 
  • Credentials. Most major media outlets are going to want to know why you are qualified to cover your proposed topic. Pitches should include a credentials paragraph that explains the author’s professional experience, education, and related professional affiliations. It is also helpful to highlight writing experience with examples of published works.  
  • Closing. The closing of a pitch should be short and sweet. Simply thank the editor for reviewing your pitch. Be sure to include contact information. 

Publishing Articles in Major Media Outlets

Once you have secured a publication slot, request a copy of the publishing contract. It is essential to understand the publication’s guidelines regarding copyright, licensing, and your rights to your content as the author. As you would with any legal document, review it thoroughly. You will likely want to publish your article on your blog and for other development purposes. If the media outlet does not allow that, you may want to reconsider the offer. 

Once legal terms and conditions have been outlined clearly, it is time to get to writing. You may need to go back and forth with the editor before a final version of your article is accepted. This is normal—especially considering the implications of legal articles if not written with the highest standards and ethics in mind. 

Before or after the editing process, you will want to make sure the media outlet will include identifying information with the article. Examples include email address, phone number, website URL, and a headshot image. It can take some negotiating, but ensuring you are appropriately credited for your work is worth it. 

Once the editing process is complete, you will likely receive a final version of your article. Assuming it meets your approval, sign the publishing contract and keep an eye out for your publication date. If you are able to share the essay on your website and social media platforms, it is customary to allow the publisher a week or two of exclusivity before posting it elsewhere.

BONUS HACK! How To Get Into Other Websites and Publications For FREE! 

This is the bonus hack that will help you get into other websites and publications for free.  There is an organization known as Help A Reporter Out (HARO). You can sign up for free for HARO which will allow you to receive two emails every day full of reporters asking for expert advice. Some of this will not relate to you at all. However, several times a month, there are reporters looking for expert advice within the legal industry – specifically from lawyers.

How do I know? I subscribe as well. Every day I look to see if HARO reporters need any expert advice regarding digital marketing, social media marketing, web design, content marketing, etc. For a few moments every day, I have astronomically increased the backlinks to the Law Quill website and you can do the same. If you do not have time to look at this every day yourself, you can task a Virtual Assistant or Paralegal to monitor the incoming emails to see if there are any that would benefit you. 

How Law Quill Can Help Attorneys Publish Articles

If you are looking to expand your firm’s reach and reach potential clients, publishing articles in major media outlets can help. Depending on your firm’s niche and your experience in the field, you may find yourself seeking guidance when it comes to finding the right publishers for your content.  

We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can help you grow your law firm online through SEO-optimized content! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at support@lawquill.com.