Maximize the Marketing value of an Article or Guide
If you write a comprehensive article or guide on a single topic or covering a series of issues of interest to a distinct audience, the best to way to maximize its marketing value is not to send the article off in its entirety to clients, prospects and referrals sources with a cover letter.
Instead, it’s best to create a promotional campaign around the work, as we recently did for an attorney who wrote an article on corporate investigations.
This approach recognizes that a campaign is the basic unit of promotion. The approach ensures authors will both reach their audience, and do it frequently over a period of time. Frequency is the key to building name recognition and credibility in a practice area. It also takes into account that no matter how good a first impression an author makes with an article, demand for the service(s) the article suggests will be intermittent. That’s true because recipients are unlikely to need the services the article addresses on the day they receive the article. Referrals sources are equally unlikely to know anyone with a need for the services that day. So, authors must keep their message in front of their prospects and referral sources for a prolonged period.
In this case, the recommendation was to break the article into nine installments, one being released every 60 days, making the campaign 18 months in duration.
Each installment was to be supported by a multi-media platform:
1. A podcast or video segment posted to the firm Web site (alongside of the article)
2. An ad announcing the installment and its subject in the local legal weekly (and urging it be read/heard/seen on the Web site)
3. Emails to executives, corporate counsel and referring lawyers with links to the podcast or video
4. Personal letters to executives, corporate counsel and referring lawyers with links to podcast or video.
The installments were created from the sections of the article, in this case:
- Making the decision to conduct an investigation
- Composition of the investigatory team
- Determining scope
- Significance of privilege/work product
- Gathering documents
- Interviewing employees and others
- Special considerations in light of Sarbanes Oxley
- Reporting the results
- Third-party disclosure
Most articles can be broken into segments as done here.
Personal selling should be a component of a campaign built around an article. In this case, the recommendation was to find as many in-house law departments as possible, and offer a CLE on the topic there. Best case: get an ethics credit for the presentation. That increases the likelihood of presentations. If other professional advisors, bankers, CPAs, investment bankers, risk managers, might need to know about the subject, crafting a CE or lunch-and-learn lecture for them makes sense, too. If their professional organizations, for example, the state CPA society, have conventions, identifying the person arranging speakers and offering a workshop there would be wise. And, the author could offer the installments mentioned above for the newsletter of the professional organization. 
1. By Bob Weiss. He is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years