Mainstream and Digital Media as a Learning Tool

Good afternoon from Seattle, and good afternoon, obviously to the rest of the country. I apologize for being a little bit of the dark shadows. It is one beautiful, sunny day here in Seattle. 

Today, I’d like to continue the discussion about listening tools for blogging. As I started with in the beginning, listening is more important than writing if you want to be engaged in the conversation, preferably with a busy intersection. What is a busy intersection? Well, where are the people that are most highly respected in the subject? Where are the people that are congregating? If they start to reference you and your blog, you’re going to start to get seen by more people, grow your credibility, and grow your influence. We talked about using an RSS aggregator, Feedly, news aggregator; we talked about using Twitter, and today we’re  talking about looking at mainstream and digital media for listing tools. 

I’m going to cover why? What is mainstream? What is digital? What is association? So the idea is that again, that you have to listen, you have to see information in front of you in order to get your blog seen. We’ll talk about marketing later on, but the best way to market your blog is to talk about other people’s things so they can hear about you. Let’s use concrete examples of what lawyers have done. If they’re covering a particular issue on their blog, one publication they might look to is the Wall Street Journal. Would it be nice to be on a first name basis with a Wall Street Journal reporter? Would it be nice to have the Wall Street Journal look to the reporter as a source on stories or for a quote? It’s pretty hard to pick up the phone and call the reporter and say, “I cover a lot of interesting things. I’m a very interesting lawyer, you might want to know who I am. Can we talk?” It’s unlikely to happen. On the other hand, what if the Wall Street Journal reporter covers a story that would be of interest to your readers and overlaps with what you’re writing about? Let’s say you cover IP, intellectual property, issues in the healthcare industry, or particular types of pharmaceuticals, a particular type of medical device. And you’re watching the Wall Street Journal periodically just to see what is flowing through. And you see a story that is related to your focus. And you reference the reporter in your blog. You might say that Patricia Smith has an interesting story this morning in The Wall Street Journal about such and such. And then you would link the story and your blog post to that. And then you’re going to quote it, and then you’re going to provide your take. You may want to provide another; there’s nothing wrong with quoting sources at length. You can think about how news comes across the screen. The Washington Post is reporting this this morning; The New York Times is reporting this this morning; commentators will be on the TV, and they’ll talk about that particular story. But without that original source from Washington Post, The New York Times they would have had nothing to report on they would, they would have to have their own reporters covering it. It’s the same for you. So think of yourself as that commentator. So now you’ve provided your take on that Wall Street Journal issue that had been reported upon. So it’s not just the story. It’s what they cover. Well, what’s the story? What was the angle, and now what’s your take on that? 

To make sure that the reporter knows about it, there’s different ways you can do it. You can share your posts on Twitter, and give a hat tip to those reporters’ Twitter handles, but there’s a lot of reporters using Twitter. So whether this is the New York Times, Washington Post, any type of publication, that’s a great way for people to see it, and they will see it. They’ll get an alert that pops up that says that somebody shared it; it will be unique that you’ve shared it, and then you’re alert with a publication on this subject. If they don’t have a Twitter handle, drop them a note. “Good story this morning. I shared it with my readers.” Your blog is an don’t publication on that niche. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times doesn’t cover IP issues in a particular type of pharmaceutical device. So you have authority. Don’t forego it. Yeah, drop them an email; I shared it with my readers. In the beginning when I started blogging, I did things like that. I don’t know if I had 10 readers, but I was going to let the reporter know that I shared it with my reader. Now, how far can it go? You know, there was a story in the New York Times years ago about lawyers using social media and how they can run into problems, and it made it to the front page of the New York Times on a Sunday. And, you know, sometimes rage causes great blog posts in certain cases.

So I wrote about it. John Schwartz was a reporter at that time; he was covering national legal issues for the New York Times. And I talked about how this is a story that’s going to just do an awful lot of bad for lawyers, and it’s going to be stuck in the front door, or it could be stuck in the desk door of every managing partner in the country for why we ought to use social media. They’re only citing the extreme examples here, as opposed to the good things that our lawyers are doing, through blogging and other forms of social media by sharing insight, commentary with the public and building their names the old fashioned way by word of mouth and relationships, and reputation. And, you know, I kind of laid into the story. I got an email the next day from Josh Schwartz and said, “Would you be nicer if I use you as a source?” And I thought that was kind of funny. About a month later, I was traveling in New York, and I dropped him a note. And

I said, “Hey, would you like to get together for coffee? I’m going to be in New York

with some of our clients and customers at a conference.” And he responded, “Sure, I got thick skin. “And it was fun. It was fun. I mean, to walk into the New York Times, you know, as a snot-nosed kid from rural Wisconsin and be talking to somebody who’s covering legal issues for the New York Times, to me was incredible. And then to talk about blogging and what it means to be a citizen journalist… The point is that you might be covering other issues on particular legal issues that you get totally fired up about. You could be meeting those reporters. And, you know, John doesn’t use me as a source for certain things. I do exchange notes with him at times, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter when he might be in the newsroom on particular types of issues, and I’m asking him about it. He responds, but it does fire me up that even if I may not be covering New York Times type of things, I am playing a role in journalism, by empowering,10s of thousands of lawyers around the country around the world to be a citizen journalist through their blog. So that’s directly what can happen. The same thing with local journalists, or any type of thing like that.

Digital Media is the same as mainstream media too because it’s digital as well. Be thinking about all of the digital publications that come out in various types of formats, email newsletters. Digital publications that come up can sometimes be overwhelming, but look at them from the standpoint of two things. One, they’re providing great information for you to comment on and reference the source. Most publications, digital news or whatever, don’t get cited by other people. Here, you are not only getting commentary to cite and to offer your insight on in your blog, but they know that you’re doing that. They’re going to bring you into that hole you’re networking with, with those people. And it’s just a river in front of the company. So you don’t have to be thinking about what I’m going to blog about every day. But there’s a conversation going on every day on every niche subject in the United States. It could be on certain issues in your locale or your state. You just have to look at the conversation and who’s talking and bring that in the whole association. Publications can be good from the standpoint of measuring if you want to speak in particular in front of a particular type of association because your customers are in the audience. Many people write about their events, and the good people that are going to be there speaking and the expertise that particular people have and the type of events that this association puts on. Nobody does that. 

Truth be told I really didn’t know what the Legal Marketing Association was when I started LexBlog, but I started to learn that it’s a fine organization of professionals that work in business development, communications, and marketing, for medium to major major law firms. They have excellent conferences with really talented speakers that come and share insight commentary to audience members. I went to get invited to speak at something that would be really hard for me to do so. But by reaching out and shaking their hands, you know, referencing that they were going to have a program regional or national or whatever, and sharing the speakers that were going to be there, I’m giving them a pat on the back and an attaboy. “Well, that looks like a great conference; I’m going to be there, I’m going to say that I hope to see some of you there. If I walk into the room, people will know that our running association, whether it’s an executive director or chairpeople of that particular program, because I’ve gone out of my way to share it. I did this because it’s valuable to my audience, and my audience that’s interested in building a name, relationships and whatnot, on the use of blogging and social media. Bringing information to the forefront is worthwhile. It’s also very worthwhile for me to build that network. So what I’m doing is listening to what is going on to particular parties, but I’m networking by sharing the information. Your readers are going to see that you’re highly in tune with the leading conferences and the many programs that go on on this subject. You’re in the middle; you’re the person that knows these types of things. You go to particular events, and other people might go to events, but nobody knows about it. In the old days, people used to actually buy little things in the newspaper and say that, “you know, this Mr. O’Keefe went to this conference in Milwaukee.” It was very lame. Well, today, you could actually write about what the conference is going to be, check out who’s going to be speaking, say that you hope to see people there. By doing so you’re building that relationship. You’re the one that gets to speak. 

So today, what we’ve covered is why listen to mainstream and digital media. Your mainstream, could be any major publication, your digital publications (i.e. NYT, WSJ). I’m separating digital media. It could be everything from digital publications that are coming out for trade or not from a trade organization, but any type of company, whatever. It could be newsletters, that type of thing. Subscribe to their publications and share announcements and whatnot of the associations that you want to speak in front of. Now that you’re going be listening to get good content, you’re not only going to be networking with the people that can begin to share your content, but you’re going to be networking with people that could invite you to speak. They’re going to send you as a source; you’re growing your reputation; you’re marketing your blog. A lot of good things can come out of it. 

The last  thing I’ll mention, again, is Blog4Good. It’s just a hashtag Blog4Good; you can Google it, and you’ll see the details. It’s our continuing effort to be able to power good lawyers across the country and be able to share insight and commentary on issues that are most needed to people today, which is just about every issue. It started with the pandemic and expanded into social and social justice issues. And now it’s every legal issue at stake. Bars are joining the campaign by offering the solutions that we’re offering for free and also by aggregating and curating the content, if they want to do that as well. Thanks much; hope you guys have a great day, take care.