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You’re probably overlooking what makes timely thought leadership so magical

Don’t sleep on how timely thought leadership can position you and your colleagues as authorities on the areas of law you practice or the industries you serve.

Lawyers and their law firms often view timely thought leadership as inferior to evergreen thought leadership.

They think timely thought leadership is too ephemeral to be effective. It’s not hard to see where they’re coming from.

If a lawyer creates thought leadership content regarding recent developments in the law, in the business world, or in society overall, that content will inevitably get stale. It’s not going to have the staying power and shelf life that evergreen thought leadership has—that is, content that’s focused on non-timely thought leadership, such as best practices for litigating cases, handling investigations, doing deals, etc.

This conventional wisdom about the inferiority of timely thought leadership is centered on the idea that individual pieces of evergreen thought leadership are better than individual pieces of timely thought leadership because of their longer shelf life.

But what this conventional wisdom gets wrong about timely thought leadership—and what the many lawyers and law firms that follow the conventional wisdom don’t realize—is that the power of timely thought leadership isn’t in individual pieces of content. Rather, the power is in its consistent, ongoing approach to thought leadership.

If a lawyer or law firm takes a long-term view of thought leadership and consistently publishes timely content that is relevant, valuable, and compelling to their target audiences (their past, current, and prospective clients and referral sources), it positions them as thought leaders.

It does so because it shows they have their fingers on the pulse of the areas of law they practice or the industries the serve by, again and again, covering timely developments within them or regarding them.

Timely thought leadership in action

No matter the area of law practiced or industry served, there will be an opportunity for a lawyer or law firm to show they have their fingers on the pulse of either.

A white-collar criminal defense attorney could be covering recent prosecutions regarding white-collar crimes on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. One way to do this would be to track the number of cases of a certain type filed during a period.

A securities litigator could publish content analyzing recent cases of a certain type that allege violations of the securities laws. They could summarize them or otherwise provide a quick and dirty analysis of them, but do so consistently, such as on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

An eDiscovery attorney could track the number and types of court decisions concerning eDiscovery from month to month or from quarter to quarter.

Deal attorneys could track particular types of deals. Similarly, bankruptcy attorneys could track particular types of bankruptcies.

I’m willing to bet ANY attorney could find some aspect of their legal practice that they could build a timely thought leadership program around that their target audiences would gobble up because of how relevant it is to them and their legal and/or business concerns.

The magic of timely thought leadership

To many lawyers and law firms, timely thought leadership is not worth the effort because of its relatively short expiration date and a concern that their target audiences may come across a back catalog of once-timely-but-now-stale thought leadership content and think poorly of its authors for keeping that content online.

But if you look at those pieces of thought leadership as part of a larger ongoing program where content is published every week, month, or quarter focusing on the same subject matter, you begin to see how timely thought leadership magically positions the attorneys and the law firms creating it as having their pulse on the subject matter and, because of that, positions them as authorities.

Think about it. If you were looking for help regarding a particular area of law or an industry, and you found a lawyer or law firm that was consistently publishing information that’s relevant to that area of law or industry, you would of course think they must know what they’re talking about because they’re frequently pumping out thought leadership regarding that area of law or industry.

The connection created between consistent, timely thought leadership and the positioning of the creators of that thought leadership as authorities, is the magic of timely thought leadership.

Lots of attorneys and firms want to publish primarily evergreen thought leadership content because they think the impact of that content is greater than the impact of timely thought leadership content.

But let’s not besmirch the name of timely thought leadership.

What these individual pieces of timely thought leadership might lack on their own when it comes to staying fresh, they more than make up for when it comes to positioning, branding, and the cumulative effect those ongoing pieces have on building the perception that their authors are authorities on the subjects they’re writing about.

Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.

Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps Big Law and boutique law firm partners, and their firms, grow their practices and prominence by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.

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