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Writing Articles and Public Speaking

There is a lot of advice in the legal marketing world on the value of publishing and making presentations at conferences.  Lawyers often do get business from articles and speeches.  However, articles and speeches, by themselves, rarely produce prodigious results.

To be useful for rainmaking, articles and speeches need to get to a wide, appropriate audience.  (Although not relevant to rainmaking, some, often academic or political, articles and speeches are not written with an eye to winning business.)  The trick is deciding how, with whom, and in what manner to share your work.

Someone hearing your talk or reading your article in its original source obviously wanted that experience.  People purposely attend events and read publications.  However, the audience that finds your original source is often smaller than you would like.  You should take great care, however, not to cause others to question your character or intelligence by thoughtlessly distributing your work.

The most obvious way to share an article or speech is with a post or link on your own web site.  Someone visiting your site wants to know about you.  (Authors should be aware that certain publications retain all copyright privileges, meaning that you would be required to pay to post on your own site).

It is also fair to assume that your current clients want to see your published work, even clients for whom you do a different type of work.  They may want to expand what you do for them or at least care about your skills and knowledge.  When possible, it makes sense to send your work to all conference attendees and perhaps the membership of an organization at which you spoke.  If you are permitted to obtain the list, there may be a charge.

Finally, go through your friends and professional acquaintances.  Even your fans who have no particular need for the article or speech may have an interest in spreading it to appropriate recipients.

Be careful, however, about sending your work to others who logically have no interest.  That can backfire. It makes you appear self-serving and primarily interested in name exposure.  We have all received thoughtless, egotistical communications with the words, “thought this would interest you.”  Perhaps, but if it’s not obvious, explain why you thought it would be of interest.

Speeches or articles can be distributed through snail or e-mail.  Snail mail is “louder”.  E-mail can be more easily saved and makes a longer impression.  Just send it. When appropriate, follow up.  Imagine how the world would be different if Martin Luther had only sent, but not posted, his 95 Theses.

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