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Friday, March 6, 2020

No surprise that professionals on the LexBlog network are reporting and commenting on the coronavirus pandemic. The question arises how LexBlog, as leading legal publisher should “report” on the pandemic by virtue of aggregating and curating relevant coverage.

When we started running LexBlog.com as a publication of aggregated and curated blog posts shining a light on our bloggers, as opposed to a marketing site about our products and services, our thinking was that LexBlog.com would be a legal publication where people would come and read stories – in addition to reading stories on the original publication, the blogger’s blog.

We talked of  “dressing up” pages of LexBlog.com akin to what you’ve seen in newspapers in days past. I still remember the green and orange pages of certain newspapers being the sports section. Internal “magazines” were discussed.

But can LexBlog expect people to naturally come to topical or tag sections on topics such as the coronavirus pandemic. Some people might, but my gut tells me the readership will not be high.

We’re not a traffic centric, advertising supported, or pay to play (lawyers and organizations pay to get their content distributed), but we are in the business of getting valuable legal insight and commentary out there, inspiring our network bloggers (whether they are paying us or not), and perhaps most importantly experimenting with what the future of legal publishing should be.

So we don’t need to go to pains to drive traffic to a channel page. We can look at other means of news distribution.

Things as simple as a daily newsletter of curated content could work.

Perhaps something more innovative would be to drive such publishing through our Syndication Portal solution.

Via a Portal, LexBlog launches an independent publication on the coronavirus pandemic. The stories come from the leading legal professionals in the world.

If we’re lacking existing coverage on the LexBlog network, we go out and get coverage from legal professionals from around the world. Find publications with a RSS feed that we believe would contribute to our pandemic coverage, and recruit them. Not every one of their stories needs to be on coronavirus, we can tag those that are for Portal inclusion.

The draw and excitement of publishing to one of the world’s leading coronavirus legal publications is a strong one. Contributing to the great good, visibility, directory inclusion in the coronavirus portal site and, as it should be, paying nothing for inclusion and distribution as a reporter/blogger.

LexBlog’s cost is minimal in running such a portal and it can generate a lot of excitement for our team. We’re one of the world’s leaders on coronavirus pandemic legal coverage right from our small Seattle-based team.

The revenue to LexBlog could come from multiple channels – sponsorships, greater Portal sales as publishers see its potential and greater subscription sales of our blog publishing solution, among others. We’d also gain partners in traditional legal publishers who fear the Portal model.

There may be good reason to fear the syndication model. Go find the best and brightest reporting on niche subjects such as coronavirus and syndicate their copy at no significant cost to LexBlog as the publisher.

The blog publishers, unlike traditional publisher’s reporters and editors, already have a means of earning a living. The traditional publishers couldn’t even garner the amount of such coverage – and from such authorities.

In internal LexBlog discussions, I’m harping about doing what other publishers are not. Innovation is not likely to come from the past. What’s being done by other publishers on the net is largely failing.

Whatever we do, let’s do something different. If it doesn’t work, we stop doing it and move on.

My gut says Portals are a good model for publishing on niches such as the coronavirus pandemic.

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