Expert Commentary is Still News and Lawyers are Experts
Press releases are not always about “breaking news.” A lot of high-traffic press releases are expert commentary on a topical subject. If you pick up or download a newspaper, you will find a mix of journalism, commentary, and the occasional interesting op-ed piece. If you watch TV news, you will find that many stories are accompanied by an expert’s opinion.
Expert commentary pieces are more conversational than traditional press releases, which makes them appealing to a wider audience. If you are sending out a commentary-style news release, follow a few rules:
1) Make sure you are commenting on a current event. It should be relevant to something in the mainstream or niche news cycle. Most often, the commentary is on high-profile cases, pending legislation (state or federal), or perhaps the effects of recently enacted laws.
2) It’s not an announcement. You should not comment on firm announcements. Opening a new office, adding an attorney, winning a big case – all of these items should follow a “news” format, as they are more in line with traditional press releases. Expert commentary should be reserved for things not directly involving your firm.
3) Feel free to add details. While a traditional press release should be 300-600 words, an expert column can be 1,000-3,000 words. If you are reaching out to a legal-minded audience, a longer tutorial may be appropriate, but a general audience will have a maximum tolerance of about 1,500 words.
As an attorney, you can position yourself as a legal expert by providing expert commentary distributed as a news release – which is just another way to get more exposure for you and your firm.