Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Houston Reporters Talk About What They Want From Attorney Sources

I attended a truly fascinating Legal Marketing Association meeting yesterday at the Four Season Houston. I it, Greg Barr from the Houston Business Journal, Gail Delaughter from KUHF, Brenda Jeffreys from Texas Lawyer and Woody Sixel from the Houston Chronicle talked about the best ways lawyers can get on their radar screen as sources for potential stories. We will be writing about this in more detail for the April newsletter but for now here are their (collective) top five tips:
  1. If you send a press release out announcing a new filed case, settlement or any other news item make sure there is someone available to talk to the journalist about it. This seems pretty obvious but all the reporters on the panel recounted nightmare stories of getting "hooked" on a press release, calling for an interview and being told the lead attorney on the case was unavailable for comment.
  2. Before pitching a story to a journalist make sure you are familiar with their work, beat and audience of the publication. For instance Woody Sixel covers employment law, she will not care about a federal court filing having to do with an immigration dispute or any other matter that doesn't affect the employment marketplace.
  3. Stay in touch with reporters you want to be quoted by. Share insight, trends, developments within their beat, invite them to coffee to introduce yourself. But most importantly, don't pitch them continuously stories that have no news value.
  4. If you have acquired footage, images or audio related to a story you are pitching and can share it with the media, by all means do so! The Houston Business Journal for instance, has a 24/7 need for breaking news with images attached for their website- if the story is popular enough they may include it in their Friday edition of the Journal, if not, at least your news made it online!
  5. Follow reporters on Twitter! Know what they are working on so you can share your insight as the news breaks, not days after.

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