Blogging for law firms

A law firm marketing professional recently emailed me about the challenge of getting a blogging initiative underway at his firm.

His firm, though progressive in other ways, has been slow to adopt things “of this nature.” He was also concerned about the lawyers publishing blog posts.

He wondered if I had any ideas. I thought I’d share my response.

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Don’t worry about slow adoption, most firms are just getting started blogging. Many firms that started a while ago have wasted a lot of time doing it wrong.

The key to the dilemma is to make blogging a fun and rewarding experience for the lawyers who are going to blog. Blogging will not then feel like a chore and getting posts up will not then be a challenge.

Begin with the lawyers understanding what blogging is and what the goal is.

The goal is not necessarily to write content and bring traffic to a blog or a website. The goal is building word of mouth and relationships, the same things that have built your firm. The Internet has not changed this.

Keep clear you’ll measure success by an increase in revenue – how much has revenue jumped for the lawyers/area involved? It can be very significant.

Knowing this, identify the areas the firm is looking to grow or sees an opportunity.

Do you have a lawyer or lawyers who want to build a name in the area and want to learn to use the Internet to do so? Who wants to become a star – to do the type of work they’d love to do, for the type of clients they want to do that work for and never have to worry about where business is coming from.

Why not set such a goal? Many, many other lawyers have achieved these heights. Certainly you have lawyers the equal of other firms.

Know that not every lawyer wants to blog – ask who is excited – do not end up with an editorial calendar where it’s a chore for the lawyers and the person chasing them down. If lawyers say they are not excited, that’s okay.

The blog will be on one niche area the firm excels at or is looking to grow. Could even be tighter than area of law – a type of trust in estate planning versus estate planning, generally, for example.

Niche blogs become a must read by a niche audience, the lawyers will know it and they’ll see “why blog.” Niches are absolutely critical. Niches do not limit work, they expand the work coming through trust and name recognition.

Educate the blogging lawyers that we are not talking articles. We are talking blogging.

Depending on the niche, you may reference and share news and developments, heavily using block quotes, and offering your take/why you shared it.

The lawyers will be referencing other bloggers (law and industry), reporters and association news – you’ll make a list of about 20 influencers that fall in this group that the blogging lawyers will be following.

Blogging is like pressing the flesh. You get known by citing others and your blog gets cited and shared by others in return.

Posts may be as brief 250 to 500 words. Think about the emails between lawyers in the firm and to clients that already do share items and offer a quick take. It’s not much different.

You can expand, once the blog gets known, to having guest posts of people with whom you want to build relationships and to do “four question email interviews” of referral sources, business associates and the like.

Any help lawyers may need, and most do not help once they understand blogging, is in proof reading, titling a post and putting in an image.

Begin with the premise that we’ve always networked to build a name and relationships, now we’re going to learn how to use the Internet to do so. We’ll start networking through the Internet.

Rather than making blogging a big initiative, get a lawyer or two started who can become blog/social media champions and be a viral positive from whom other interested lawyers in the firm can learn. It may be a year or two for others to follow.

Feel comfortable with two to four posts a month, maybe starting with just two. Don’t set yourself up for faiure and making lawyers feel guilty for not achieving unrealistic goals.

Once lawyers get the hang of blogging the right way and pick up the “love” of getting cited by bloggers and reporters, getting their posts shared on social media and invited to speak, blogging becomes addictive.

After the blogging lawyers get the hang of blogging, introduce Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as further ways of networking through the net. Not as distribution channels, but as ways of engaging followers of your blog.

To summarize, begin with education of what we’re doing by blogging, how we’ll do it, how we’ll measure success and involve those excited about the opportunity. Do that and posts will not be an issue.

You know my take on ghost posts as a way to “create content.” Don’t go down that road. Your firm is better than that.