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Attracting New Clients with Corporate Journalism

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The practice of “corporate journalism,” according to a new report, is the best way for lawyers to stand out in a sea of content.

With the advent of the digital and mobile eras, the report begins, the current media landscape is marked by constant access to a seemingly-endless stream of information, from alerts and press releases to newsletters, blogs, and other content. While this has created unprecedented opportunity for law firms (and all types of companies) to reach their target audience, the information overload which characterizes this new marketing era presents challenges of its own. Namely, with so many voices shouting for recognition, it is easy for any one voice to be drowned out.

In order to avoid being swept downriver in the deluge, the new 2014 State of Digital and Content Marketing, put out by by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group, recommends that lawyers adopt the practice of “corporate journalism,” defined in the report as “a practice that combines an organization’s market intelligence and subject-matter expertise with the credibility and narrative techniques of professional journalism.”

Why emulate traditional journalism? Because news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are still rated as the most trustworthy sources of information. The “credibility and narrative techniques” of journalism, in the context of corporate journalism, is associated with the following benefits:

• Helps to foster a sense of accuracy, fairness and credibility
• Imparts the notion that content serves its audience first and foremost
• Uses direct, succinct, lively writing that favors everyday English over industry jargon (i.e. legalese)

In short, the practice of corporate journalism allows law firms to “act like media companies” and produce “clear, compelling, relevant content that can rise above the noise.” Such content should “spark conversation among target audiences and inspire readers to promote the firm’s content by sharing and recommending it to others.” It should be “high-quality, credible, memorable and relevant.”

So how is this done? The report recommends that law firms:

• Appoint a dedicated “content manager.”
Hire somebody for this position with appropriate knowledge, skills and training (i.e. a professional writer)
• Devise a policy/document that lays out the corporate journalism strategy

The study reports that less than one-third of law firms currently employ a dedicated content manager, while far fewer are hiring trained content professionals and fewer still have a content strategy.
You can read the full text of the report here.

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