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Here’s a Curveball: Newsjumping


Posted in Blogs | Content Marketing | Law Firms

We’re three innings into the World Series tonight. Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber is crushing the Chicago Cubs. Kluber’s struck out eight of the first nine Cubs batters. The man’s curveball is unhittable.
I wonder if some marketer is sending out an email right now. Something like, “Learn how to pitch like Corey Kluber by mastering one simple trick: the curveball. Soon you could be making $8 million a year just like Corey. Follow this link for your first free curveball lesson.”
That’s how it feels sometimes.
Let’s Hear it for Newsjacking
Take, for example, the marketing tactic of “newsjacking,” a strategy that is often touted for law firm content marketers. Newsjacking is so hot it’s got its own website. Newsjacking is so hot that presentations about newsjacking attract their own news coverage. Newsjacking is so hot that the mere mention of the word “newsjacking” causes college-educated adults to thrust their right hand skyward and shout “Hallelujah!” According to newsjacking proponents, all that is necessary for lawyers to perform this trick is to:
identify a trending news topic early,
quickly pump out a blog post with a unique, newsworthy spin, and
sit back and wait for news reporters to come calling and backlinks to start piling up.
That’s a tough pitch to get over the plate. Let me tell you why.
First, most lawyers are busy serving their clients and thus unable to closely monitor the news throughout the day.
Second, flaming hot news items that are simultaneously appropriate for legal bloggers are scarce. Sure, you could pick a newsworthy event such as the World Series and construct a completely synthetic connection between baseball and your law practice. But I’m sure most readers would see that the for nonsense it is.
Third, there aren’t that many reporters around anymore, and not many of those are all that interested in a lawyer’s take on the news.
Fourth — and this is the most significant criticism of newsjacking that I can muster — even if the lawyer is able to jump through hoops #1, #2, and #3, at the end of the day that persona is no more than somebody commenting on recent news. Anybody can do that.
Law firm marketers riding the news cycle might consider surfing in front of the wave instead.
Enter “Newsjumping”
Yeah, I made that one up. Newsjumping is getting ahead of the news. Newsjumping is looking out just over the horizon and identifying future challenges. Newsjumping is articulating sound strategies to cope with a reasonably foreseeble future. That’s better, isn’t it? That has real value. That is how attorneys should want to be viewed by clients and prospective clients.
Newsjumpers have calendars. They know the dates of upcoming meetings and hearings. Newsjumpers know which important legal issues are pending before which tribunal. Newsjumpers make news with a unique combination of intellect, experience, and foresight. These qualities distinguish an excellent attorney from a merely competent one. These are the qualities that clients are looking for.
These are also the qualities that news reporters are looking for. Few news organzations see a future in documenting yesterday. Just like attorneys, news organizations want to help guide their readers into an uncertain future. If you’re a newsjumper and you blog your thoughts, the phone will ring. Better yet, make a call to reporters who write on topics that touch your law practice areas. They’d love to hear a story that makes them look smart too.

We’re three innings into the World Series tonight. Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber is crushing the Chicago Cubs. Kluber’s struck out eight of the first nine Cubs batters. The man’s curveball is unhittable.

I wonder if some marketer is sending out an email right now. Something like, “Learn how to pitch like Corey Kluber by mastering one simple trick: the curveball. Soon you could be making $8 million a year just like Corey. Follow this link for your first free curveball lesson.”

That’s how it feels sometimes.

Continue reading / 571 words

No Reporters in Sight? You’ve Found Your Grail


Posted in Blogs | Content Marketing | Law Firms

My first real writing job, way back in 1980, was covering the Pittsfield Township Zoning Board for a local real estate development consulting firm. Pittsfield Township, located just south of Ann Arbor, Mich., was experiencing rapid suburban growth due to its proximity to the University of Michigan, an economic juggernaut in the state.

Substantial sums were changing hands as farms gave way to subdivisions, shopping malls, and chain restaurants. The Ann Arbor News, a prosperous paper with a large staff and no competition, rarely covered zoning board meetings.

My employer needed to know what was happening at those zoning board meetings. Objectively, and in detail. So he hired his own reporter. Me.

Keep reading / 609 words

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