I recently ran across a law blog post nine lines long with five authors. That’s right, five authors with a picture of each lawyer embedded below the title of the post.
Does it really take five lawyers to research and pen a blog post that long?
I was embarrased for the firm, and the lawyers. I was embarrassed for the company whose comprehensive blog software and support enabled the five authors on one very brief post. It was my company, LexBlog.
Law blogs are a publication by which lawyers enhance their reputation as a trusted and leading authority in their area of the law. Blogs enable relationships and grow networks. Blogs are cited by other blogs, reporters and, in some cases, the courts. Blog posts are shared by third parties across social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Blogs are not a vanity contest — at least they should not be. Blog readers, especially the influencers (leading bloggers, reporters, association leaders) and tech savvy readers will see a blog with that many authors on a post as published by a law firm whose judgment is lacking — at least when it comes to publishing, if not more.
I have never worked on publishing software for law firm newsletters, alerts or articles. Perhaps there you included five lawyers as authors on a one paragraph article. Perhaps there someone penned a paragraph or two, someone posted the copy to software and, as instructed, put the name of five lawyers and embedded their pictures in the article before it was sent it out.
But it doesn’t work that with a law blog.
- Readers look to the author of post as sharing their reasoning and insight in a blog post.
- The post, and probably the blog, will not be cited by anyone, including bloggers, reporters and other readers. Getting cited is what grows influence, reputations and search engine performance.
- The post and, again, the blog, will not be shared by third parties on social media. Social media which is not only critical for sharing from one trusted party to another, not only for distribution, but also to grow influence, reputations, and search engine performance.
- Who would be cited or given the attribution for the post, whether it be for a blog post, story or a share on Twitter? Certainly not all five lawyers — unless one was making fun of the firm.
- News agggreators will have a tough, if not impossible, time picking up all those authors via a RSS feed. This only adds to the many influencers using news aggregators wondering if the law firm knows what what they are doing.
- Blogs are akin to publications offering news, insight and commentary. Look around at leading publications. Look at the New York Times. You are not going to find more than a couple authors on a post, article or story unless it relates to an indepth piece.
- Blog posts with numerous authors fed back to the law firm’s website so as to be displayed on each author’s bio page may get the firm website and blog penalized on search for duplicate copy.
Years ago, I told a leading law firm partner he couldn’t do something silly on his blog (I don’t recall what it was). He asked why not. I told him because it was lame. After a long pause, he said “we’re certainly not going to do anything lame.”
Blogs with this many lawyer authors on a post are lame. The firm and its lawyers will be looked at as lame. And its not enough to say we’re no more lame than the next law firm doing the same thing.
A blog with multiple authors generally means different lawyers will author different posts, not one where all the authors will author one post. A couple authors may be okay, if two lawyers really worked on the post. One author per post is widely accepted and tends to be the rule.
I am sorry that we let the firm and its lawyers down by allowing posts with so many authors. Maybe it couldn’t be stopped.
But bottom line, everyone could have done better.