How to Pitch a Story
You’re an attorney in a mid- to large-sized firm with several regional offices. Your practice is going well, but you feel the need for some “face time” — a little walk down the Insider Catwalk. What do you do?
One way is to write an article, and since this is the Law Journal Newsletters Web site, we’ll offer some handy tips for our own publications, but they really apply to any publication in the industry. Let’s suppose, just as an example, that you have recently and successfully tried a case involving an employee blog that led to a lawsuit against his company. You represented the company—and won. Voila! You crunch your notes, get some input from peers in your firm, turn the notes into an article without too much trouble, and there you go. Face time.
Next question: Where do you publish? You surf the Web for likely publications, and lo and behold, you wind up on www.ljnonline.com. And you see The Corporate Counselor, Business Crimes Bulletin, and e-Discovery Law & Strategy, among many others. They sound good, but the first one sounds ideal. What do you do next?
- Before pitching an article, always make sure you know the newsletter. Download at least three issues. Have they run articles on the same topic? Are the articles much longer or shorter than the one you have written? Who is the audience? (That’s an easy one; we write for lawyers and others in the legal community who need analysis of issues important to their practice).
- Make sure your article is “fresh news.” For instance, although it may be very helpful to explain Sarbanes-Oxley to the uninitiated, our readers are well aware of SOX and all its ramifications.
- Make sure you are writing more than a case summary. Our readers want to know why a certain ruling is of importance to them and their practice. They NEED TO KNOW, which is the whole point. Anybody can find a case ruling; the key is ANALYSIS.
- Once you are sure your article meets our needs, you are ready to make your pitch. The best way is via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 215-557-2309. You want to be listened to, so here is the “right way”: “My name is Joe Lawyer. I’m a partner/associate/etc. with ABC LLP, in the Denver office. I’ve noticed that The Corporate Counselor has run quite a few articles on company liability for employee blogs, but I think I have a new angle your readers need to hear about. I’ve written a 2000-word article that explains a case I just won, and the ramifications for your readers. I’d love to share it, is there a chance?” That is DEFINITELY going to get your article read and considered.
- Wrong way: “My name is Joe Lawyer. Did you know that employee blogging can lead to lawsuits against a company?” [Um, yeah … ] “Read all about it in a fantastic new article I’ve written describing the landmark Jones v. Brown case and its ramifications [discussed at length in the newsletter’s recent three-part series that Joe Lawyer didn’t bother to read].” This e-mail won’t make it past “delete.”
We are always looking for new voices, new points of view, and EXPERT ANALYSIS in every area of the law. We welcome your ideas and hope to hear from you early and often. We also welcome ideas for content you would like to see in our pages. That’s what we’re all about. Like all other areas of ALM, Law Journal Newsletters is made up of dedicated professionals whose focus is informing you—our readers. So please let us hear from you!