Many of us make resolutions in the new year, but are you making any professional resolutions? Why not use 2016 to commit to organizing your legal PR activities better? One of the best ways to get organized is to prepare a list of media opportunities at the beginning of the year and then secure attorneys to match these opportunities.

Here are some easy-to-follow steps to help you pair attorneys to media opportunities.

Get Editorial Calendars

To identify media opportunities that are ideal for your firm, track down a publication’s editorial calendar. Many publications provide editorial calendars, usually at the end of the year or beginning of the new one, listing specific topics they will cover for the upcoming year. These editorial calendars are most often posted on a publication’s website; if not, they can be requested from the advertising department. If you’re pressed for time, it’s best to focus on five or so of the publications most often read by your clients or potential clients. These can include legal publications and industry trade publications.

Contact Editors

Once you identify a topic or topics of interest to your law firm, contact the editor to see if he or she is in need of relevant legal sources or contributed articles. For weekly publications, reach out to the editor at least two months before the issue date. For monthly publications, contact the editor no less than three months before the issue date.

Consider Bylined Articles

Many publications do not adhere strictly to their editorial calendars and accept bylined articles on a variety of topics on an ongoing basis, especially for their websites, which are in constant need of fresh content. It’s worthwhile to identify these publications, since they are generally more flexible with topics and deadlines. They also are likely to be interested in articles about breaking news in your area of practice.

Match the Attorneys

Once you have compiled a list of publications to target, you can begin work on identifying attorneys from the firm who are interested in serving as thought leaders. If the firm has had few media placements in the past or you’re targeting just one or two practice areas, it’s best to identify no more than one media opportunity per month, or perhaps just one per quarter if you are focusing on bylined articles, so you don’t overwhelm the attorneys. Another tip is to secure two attorneys to write bylined articles, preferably a partner and an associate. This helps distribute the workload and also increases the visibility of two firm attorneys instead of just one.

Although this process requires time up front, it will be worth the effort, since you  will be laying out your law firm media relations tactics for the rest of the year. In addition, this type of editorial calendar works well because it provides attorneys with all the information they need about the media opportunity, usually well in advance of any deadline.

To discuss media opportunities or placements, contact me, Carlos Arcos, at carcos@jaffepr.com We can help with many, if not all, aspects of this process.