You cannot make this stuff up.

Thomson Reuters is selling “Blog Fodder” to lawyers who want to “have a blog” to demonstrate their thought leadership, but don’t have the time to do so.

We know that lawyers do not have time to write articles. But fresh content is the number one key to a successful online presence, which is essential for prospect engagement, client retention and business growth. To resolve this conundrum, we have developed thousands of articles that you may use to boost your thought leadership quotient without spending too much of your valuable time.

Our online Content Store is a handy content marketing resource that offers you what the content you need when you need it. Easily search, find, purchase and download professionally-written articles on a wide variety of legal, financial planning, accounting, tax and industry-specific subjects for less than it would cost to write it in-house. (emphasis added)

Yes, a Content Store. Really.

Start Article Shopping Now! — SHOP THE CONTENT STORE NOW,” reads the call to action on Thomson Reuter’s web page announcing blog fodder for sale. You can buy by the piece or get up to 52 articles a year as part of a subscription to Checkpoint Marketing for Law Firms.

Head over to the store to browse articles for sale for $199, $139 if you’re a Checkpoint subscriber.

On display are 300 to 1,200 word legal articles (presumably well done), with abstracts summarizing the article and the angle the article takes on an issue. You may read the full article, if you wish, before you start to fill your shopping cart.

Yes, a shopping cart filled with your thought leadership.

Knowing that a lawyer representing that they wrote something they did not, such as a blog post, poses ethical problems, the Content Store says the articles can be easily edited. But that’s not how the content is marketed to lawyers.

In bold letters at the top of the page is the typical busy-lawyer bravado.

I don’t have time to brainstorm blog topics, much less write the posts.

These “busy lawyers,” their website managers or office staff are more than likely going to copy and paste the articles bought at the store right into the their blog with no editing.

And what about the hundreds or thousands of other lawyers who shop at the content store? Do they put the same articles in their shopping carts? It appears so. Do we end up with hundreds or thousands of blogs with the “same thought leadership?” Seems so. Do we end up with duplicate content on multiple blogs ultimately penalizing the lawyers’ blogs and websites on Google? It sure looks like it.

Don’t get me wrong, teeing up content for a lawyer to blog about is a good idea. The best blogging is a conversation where a lawyer is quoting another source—blog, article, case, etc.—and providing their take. By doing so, a lawyer is engaging thought leaders and influencers in an ongoing discussion.

Many lawyers use a newsreader or Twitter to stay abreast of items to blog about. In order to make blogging easier, many law firms have knowledge management systems to get relevant news and information in front of lawyers. In neither case are articles teed up to post.

Thomson Reuters is a great news and information company with some fine lawyers, reporters and other professionals working there. Some of their reporters are putting their lives on the line to cover stories around the world. The company, through West Publishing, has a legacy of being a leader in the law.

But selling content in a store so lawyers can demonstrate fabricated thought leadership goes a little far.

Relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation are the result of blogging as a thought leader. I am not sure how this thought leadership can bought—even at the Content Store for $10,000 a year.

Image courtesy of Flickr by I-5 Design & Manufacture