The Write Stuff: Q&A with Top Author & Patent Attorney Courtenay Brinckerhoff
[The latest in our series of Q&A discussions on successful writing in the business realm with recipients of JD Supra’s 2016 Readers’ Choice award:]
Courtenay Brinckerhoff is one of our top writers on patents at JD Supra. She is a partner and intellectual property lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP in Washington D.C. Brinckerhoff’s practice focuses on client counseling in all aspects of obtaining, licensing, and enforcing patents and conducting freedom-to-operate and due diligence investigations. She founded the PharmaPatents blog in 2010 and says blog writing is an organic process that takes time to build an audience but the payoff is worth it.
JD Supra: How did you get started? Why did you decide to write?
Brinckerhoff: I first began writing www.pharmapatentsblog.com because although there were two other patent blogs I followed, they weren’t writing on topics that I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about things going on in the Patent Office and other developments that impact life sciences.
What is your writing process?
I try to publish two articles a week and usually write on the weekends unless something urgent comes up during the week. It’s a pretty organic process and really depends on what is happening in the courts or Patent Office.
What were your expectations for writing when your first began?
When I first began I really just wanted a platform to share my views, write and have my say. I didn’t have any concrete expectations. I work hard to write quality articles and provide insight maybe people don’t get anywhere else.
Whenever you write you never really know if anyone is going to read it but we’ve gained a nice readership. The blog has turned into a good promotion and marketing tool, although that wasn’t my driving purpose.
What is the value in writing?
Personally, at a basic level, it forces me to keep up to date and take a deeper look into the topics I write about. It enriches me to take an analytical look at what a given development means and what the broader implications might be.
Professionally, writing gives me credentials as an expert in the fields I’m writing about. Clients seek my advice and I receive speaking opportunities as a result.
What does success mean for you as a writer?
My proudest success was when the ABA Journal included me in their top 100 blogs, because that was a reader-voted award. I also was honored to receive an award from JD Supra. To me that shows that people actually read my blog and appreciate it enough to give it these recognitions.
…having a blog is a more organic client-development process than making direct client pitches.
I also enjoy meeting the people who are reading what I’m writing, such as at conferences. Certainly there have been clients who have reached out to me on a certain topic because I’ve written on it — clients see I have knowledge on a topic because of my blog and contact me as a result — but having a blog is a more organic client-development process than making direct client pitches.
It’s most important to realize that blogging takes a lot of time and dedication. You really have to be interested in writing articles on a regular basis. It will take time to build up an audience and keep your reader in mind, who you are writing to and why they should be interested in what you have to say. Name recognition comes along with being well-read, but it will take time to build up an audience. Really, whatever payoff you are aiming for, it likely will take some time, so you need to enjoy the process.
[Courtenay was recognized as a top author in the patents category of JD Supra’s 2016 Readers’ Choice awards. Follow and read her latest writings here.]