CASE STUDY: How a little-read law review article became an e-book and series of alerts distributed to thousands on social media
September 27, 2016
We recently re-purposed a law review article written by a client using it as the basis for a series of articles that will reach the authors’ clients, prospects and referral sources through direct distribution and social media.
In short, an article that took an extraordinary amount of time to write and was destined for limited readership and impact was restructured into powerful marketing content that will have a long shelf-life.
In general, we recommend firms follow the protocol below when generating articles or alerts:
In this case, our client handed us a copy of a 55-page law review article on non-compete agreements and asked: “Is there anything we can do to get more out of this?” The recommendations we made will work for most any article, not just for those written for a law review. They would hold true for briefs, too. Additionally, if you get a fair amount of work from other lawyers, in private practice or in-house, CLE materials are great for re-purposing.
First, we broke the law review article into a series which was easy. The table of contents gave us the logical breakpoints: an employee’s right to compete; employee fiduciary duties; covenant enforceability; litigating covenants, and drafting agreements. With an introduction that was a slight rewrite of the article’s abstract drafted to appear at the top of each article in the series, we were ready to go.
We advised our client:
1. The articles should become firm blog posts appearing once every 2-4 weeks;
2. The authors should post each article on LinkedIn’s Publishing the same day the blogs appear;
3. All other firm attorneys should be notified when each article posts. Firm attorneys whose Connections include in-house lawyers, execs, business owners (employers) should go onto LinkedIn and create an Update saying something akin to “(Insert article headline) is the first in a series of four articles about non-compete agreements in (state) by my colleagues, (authors’ names)”.
4. When the series has run, the copy should be formatted into an e-book and offered for download on the firm’s website. We suggested calls-to-action be inserted into the e-book urging readers to contact the authors. Links to the download should appear on the practice group page of the firm’s website, and on the author’s bio page(s).
5. When the e-book becomes available, a press release, optimized for search and put on a third-party news site, such as PRWeb, should be considered to drive traffic.
6. As a leave-behind and to give to select prospects and key clients, we suggested the e-book also be formatted as hard copy. Self-publishing software makes this relatively easy and you can print on demand; no warehousing needed, easy updating.
This re-purposing and reformatting of an article into blogs, on social media and to hard copy is a best practice scheme we recommend firms follow whenever substantive text is available. Briefs discussing substantive law also can be content fodder. We have recently written blog posts for clients using as a guide portions of briefs describing a state’s guardianship and conservatorship laws, what constitutes undue influence, the doctrine of good faith and fair dealing. Think of what lies in years of briefs on your firm’s hard drive!
We kept all citations from the law review article. As Search Engine Land recently wrote: “There’s little doubt that search engines try to assess authority” when deciding what to give as answers to search inquiries.
A best practice we missed in this case was advising the authors to reach out to referrals sources and clients for input before writing the article. As the graphic illustrates it’s best to ask for input into your outline. “I’m writing an article about x and would appreciate your thoughts on my attached outline…”
Some will say that following our recommendations means people will read or see the same article more than once. That’s correct, and intended. Frequency is requisite to your success. As Dale Carnegie said: “Tell the audience what you are going to say. Say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”