10 Tips for lawyers: How to get in the news and stay there

October 5, 2020 | By Julius Melnitzer

10 tips for attracting media attention
  1. INVESTIGATE: Which online, print, news and trade publications target the clients you want?

  2. ACCUMULATE: Make a list of the above. Keep updating it. Your best bet to be heard is by someone who’s listened to you before.

  3. ANTICIPATE: Tell the media what’s coming. If something newsworthy is pending, like an important decision from the courts or a big merger announcement, offer your services before the news comes and make yourself available as soon as possible thereafter.

  4. GENERATE: If you want journalists’ attention, send short pitches by personal email. With few exceptions, anything longer than 100 words is a waste of time.

  5. CREATE: Write timely articles for your firm’s website. Legal journalists often look there for story ideas. You’ll be the first source they contact if your article interests them.

  6. INNOVATE: Before you’re interviewed, think about what others might say, or have said about the issues. Then don’t say it: or say it in your own, unique way.

  7. HESITATE: Listen to the questions. Unless you happen to be the subject of a particular story, it’s not about you or your firm. Remember, the readers aren’t interested in you: only whether you have something interesting or intelligent to say about the issues. And if you do, the readers will remember your name: that’s the point, after all.

  8. ATTENUATE: Whatever you want to say, say less. Most of the time, you’re being interviewed for a 700-word story – 7,000 word answers are welcome only to reporters who know little about their subject.

  9. FACILITATE: Editors don’t like one-source stories. Whether you’re asked or not, suggest other sources who can provide different perspectives – industry sources, experts from other disciplines, etc. Don’t suggest your partners unless you think they know more than you – and then bow out gracefully from the interview.

  10. RELATE: Stay on top of journalists with whom you’ve worked. The best way to do that is to share stories or items that might interest the journalist – even if they’re not in your subject area of expertise and nothing seems to be in it for you. Be judicious: overdoing it will mean quick trips to the trash folder for your communications.

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