Standing out in a sea of experts and becoming a go-to source for journalists can significantly elevate a lawyer’s profile and lead to new business. A strategic approach to media engagement can help you achieve this, turning the occasional press mention into regular appearances in media coverage. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how lawyers can make themselves indispensable to reporters covering the legal beat.

Step 1: Understand the Media Landscape: Begin by familiarizing yourself with the publications and reporters who cover topics related to your area of expertise. Regularly read their articles, understand the types of stories in which they’re interested and take note of how they present their information. This will help you tailor your pitches and interactions to align with their interests and reporting style.

Step 2: Make the First Move: Don’t wait for journalists to find you. Reach out proactively with a concise, informative email introducing yourself, your expertise and how you can help them with future stories. Highlight specific topics you can comment on and any unique insights you can offer. This initial contact is the foundation of a mutually beneficial relationship.

Step 3: Be Responsive: When a reporter reaches out, respond promptly. Journalists often work on tight deadlines, and your ability to provide quick, accurate information can make you a valuable resource. Even if you can’t provide a full response immediately, acknowledge their request and give a timeframe for when you can get back to them.

Step 4: Provide Valuable Insights: When you do respond, ensure your contributions are insightful and add value to the story. Avoid legal jargon and strive to explain complex legal concepts in a way that’s accessible to the general public. Your goal is to enhance the reporter’s story with your expertise, making their piece more informative and engaging for their audience.

Step 5: Offer Additional Resources: Go above and beyond by providing reporters with additional resources that can help bolster their story. This could include relevant case law, recent studies or contact information for other sources. By becoming a one-stop-shop for information, you increase your chances of becoming a preferred contact for future stories.

Step 6: Follow Up: After your input has been included in a story, follow up with a brief thank-you message. This keeps the lines of communication open and reinforces your interest in continuing to assist with future articles. In addition, share the story through your professional networks, which not only amplifies the reach of the piece but also shows your support for the reporter’s work.

Step 7: Stay in Touch: Maintain the relationship even when you’re not actively contributing to a story. Periodically check in with updates on your work or developments in your field that could lead to story ideas. Keeping the conversation going ensures you stay top of mind for reporters when they need expert commentary in your area of law.

Key Takeaways to Become a Go-To Media Source

  • Understand the media landscape to tailor your pitches effectively.
  • Be proactive in reaching out to journalists with relevant, concise introductions.
  • Respond quickly to inquiries to become a reliable source.
  • Provide valuable, clear insights to enhance the quality of reporting.
  • Offer additional resources to become an indispensable asset to the story.
  • Follow up to maintain a positive, ongoing relationship.
  • Stay in touch to ensure you remain a go-to expert for future stories.

By following these steps, lawyers (and any business professional!) can successfully position themselves as invaluable resources to the press, enhancing their visibility in the field and contributing to the broader public understanding of legal issues.

Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, recruiters and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for small and mid-size law firms.

Over her 20+-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedInTwitterYouTubeInstagramsign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on JD Supra.