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The Power of the Pen: How to Get Articles Published

Writing an article is an excellent investment of your time, especially if the thought of making a speech causes you to break out in a cold sweat. “Speaking” on paper is an ideal alternative. Corporate general counsel, among others, frequently contact attorneys based on published articles.

Here are some guidelines for article publication:

First, select your topic. You can gain rapid visibility by focusing on subjects that challenge the status quo, like newly adopted legislation or controversial industry trends.

Second, spend some time researching current literature to identify the best “angle” for your article. Evaluate other articles written on the same topic and determine how your article will stand apart.

Third, determine the approach that works best for the material you intend to cover. Here are a few article formats proven to capture audience attention:

- Top 5 reasons to …
- 10 mistakes to avoid …
- 7 steps to achieve …
- The pros and cons of …
- An interview with …

Fourth, select and prioritize three or four potential publications for your article, focusing on those that you know welcome outside submissions. Write a friendly email to the editor of the most prestigious publication on the list, after reviewing their “author guidelines.” Describe the proposed article in no more than two to three paragraphs, and ask if they have an interest in publishing it.

If the first publication turns you down, or simply does not respond, move on to the next one sequentially. Editors usually want fresh material, so do not expect to publish the same article in more than one place. Once your article is accepted, you will usually be asked to sign an “Author’s Release” that identifies your reprint rights and other related matters.

If writing is not your strong suit, or you simply do not have the time, consider engaging the services of a ghostwriter to convert the outline of your article idea into a full-length composition. (Some publications do require the author’s original work, however.)

Once you submit your finished article, a good editor is likely to suggest some changes to your headline or copy. Do not be offended. If you feel strongly that any modifications will change the meaning of your message in a significant way, speak candidly with the editor. Most editors will give you a chance to rewrite a portion of your article if they feel it is unclear, but keep in mind that the editor’s decision is final.

Once your article is in print (and not before), be sure to mail your article to clients and prospects as a means of staying in touch and reinforcing your reputation as an expert in the field. Proudly add your new article to your CV and post it on your website also, all in keeping with your reprint rights.

Any time is a good time to start your publishing career. Young attorneys who start to publish on a regular basis will enjoy career-long benefits of visibility, an expanded prospect base, and possibly a faster track to the coveted partnership level.

By Legal Expert Connections, Inc.
Legal Marketing, Expert Marketing, Attorney Marketing, Lawyer Marketing
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Grisdela
Legal marketing consultant Margaret Grisdela is President of the South Florida legal marketing agency Legal Expert Connections, Inc., focused on business development for law firms, attorneys, lawyers, forensic experts, and litigation support. She is the author of the legal marketing book “Courting Your Clients,” and 2008 Co-Chair of the Legal Marketing Association, South Florida City Group. Services include business development training, attorney marketing plans, law firm web sites, law firm brochures, speaking engagements, article placement, and more.

Copyright Legal Expert Connections, Inc.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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