By Kevin O'Keefe

Blogs > lawyers can get valuable coverage in a blog

Great article on the Public Relations Society of America site on how blogs provide valuable PR opportunities. The authors Lloyd Trufelman and Laura Goldberg acknowledge the name ‘blog’ sounds more like a sci-fi character than a legitimate news source, but warn blogs are rapidly becoming authoritative news sources. They recommend PR professionals should keep this new type of media on their radar screens. The point of the article is that there may be coverage to be gained in blogs that cover a specific topic for our in our case, lawyers.

Though people kid me that blogs are for kids’ diaries, this article explains a growing audience of Web-savvy newshounds has quickly taken to getting their news and views from blogs. This trend has caught the notice of established Internet news sources, which have joined in the game. Recently, the authors’ client MSNBC.com (www.msnbc.com) unveiled a collection of blogs on its site. In addition, their agency handled press for the successful launch of the pop culture blog Plastic (www.plastic.com), which was begun by the editors behind the Webby award-winning e-zine Feed (www.feedmag.com).

Look at some of the points made:

Two of the most important, topic-specific Web logs for media pros are Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews (www.poynter.org/medianews) and I Want Media (www.iwantmedia.com). Begun in 1999 as an independent site called Media Gossip before it became part of the Poytner Institute’s online offerings, Romenesko’s site is particularly notorious for being a first-read among media insiders, often creating a firestorm within the journalism community, through its combination of news and rumors.

Publicists have long sought means for reaching highly targeted audiences, including media reps, in order to drive buzz about their clients. With the kind of traffic and targeting that any of the aforementioned sites generate, topic-specific blogs can fit the bill.

The authors provide some advice on how to get your lawyers in the right blogs:

The most important thing a publicist can do before pitching a blogger is to carefully read his or her blog. Unlike beat reporters at typical news outlets, bloggers are extremely idiosyncratic in choice of subject matter and slant. In order to begin a conversation with one – and it should be viewed as a conversation, rather than a pitch – it is vital that you are well-acquainted with the interests of the blogger. Many of them still consider their sites to be personal forums for their views and perspectives, and are wary of corporate or PR interference.

Blogs are a new medium and, therefore, require a new approach. It is crucial not to spam bloggers and to be aware of their likes and dislikes before you drop them a line. Canned, conventional pitch letters can be seen as offensive. Their preferred means of communication is e-mail and their address is often prominently featured on the site. When communicating with blogs, make sure to be completely open and honest about why you are contacting them, disclosing your organizational affiliation. Keep it to the point and always make sure to include a link to a published story or item that they might consider featuring. Do not ask bloggers to link to your client’s site or latest press release. Bloggers are sensitive about becoming mouthpieces for other organizations and companies, which is the reason they began blogging in the first place.

…[M]any bloggers are professional journalists, such as The San Jose Mercury News technology columnist Dan Gillmor, who writes Dan Gillmor’s eJournal, in addition to his newspaper duties. The ability to check out journalists’ blogs offers an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into their true interests and viewpoints. This information can be the difference between crafting an effective pitch and one that will be deleted. In addition, it is possible that well-tailored pitches to journalist bloggers might not only generate hits on their blogs, but develop into placements in other media outlets as well.

You should also take advantage of being picked up by other blogs than the one you contact:

[B]loggers tend to read other blogs and comment on them. It is not surprising to see a single hit on one key blog turn into mentions on several others. For this reason, it is best to begin your campaign by contacting the most popular, targeted blogs. Most blogs feature sidebars highlighting URLs of other like-minded blogs. Any site that is mentioned several times by other blogs, and that is included in a majority of recommended blog lists, should be noted as a primary target.

I have always thought of blogs as a way to publish news, information and the law about the area of law in which a lawyer practices. Now I see the other side of the hand, that I can get lawyers coverage in other blogs – amazing. (note I am easily amazed)

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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