You may not have news today, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't contact reporters now to prep them for upcoming announcements - as long as you approach the pitch with no expectations of immediate coverage. In early 2001, the Association of Patent Law Firms wrote an amicus brief supporting the Supreme Court's reexamination of an important patent law case. When it appeared as though the Supreme Court would consider hearing the case, Jaffe Associates, the APLF's agency, began prepping reporters covering the Supreme Court. The team provided reporters with a copy of the APLF's amicus brief, as well as a list of APLF sources who could be interviewed. Reporters weren't immediately interested. But in June, when the Supreme Court announced it would reexamine the case, calls immediately began streaming in from sources like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AP, Reuters and Dow Jones, "all of whom I had primed way in advance," says Jaffe SAE Kevin Aschenbrenner. These top-tier media interviewed and quoted the APLF member attorney who had drafted the brief. "Interestingly enough, several reporters who had brushed off my pitch in March were hounding me for sources," Aschenbrenner says. In January of 2002, the court began hearing oral arguments, and he again began prep work with reporters. The oral arguments themselves weren't big news, so Aschenbrenner's pitches didn't immediately yield much interest. But the prep work resulted in coverage of the final decision - and more importantly, coverage of APLF - by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Dow Jones, AP and Reuters. Aschenbrenner says the pitch was a lesson in patience. "This is significant because of the long-term aspect of this push, which was over a couple of years." He says providing reporters with key information and sources well in advance was the key to APLF's widespread coverage in heavy-hitting media. (Contact: Aschenbrenner, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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