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.

Happy Valentines Day! If you are in search of a perfect last minute gift for him or her, make sure to check out lexblog.com (mostly joking). Since our last “New to the Network” post, we have welcomed two new clients while launching ten new blogs.

  • LexBlog would like to give a warm welcome to Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz who has now joined the network with the creation of Focus On The Data. Frankfurt-based out of NYC started as a boutique firm focusing on the entertainment industry but has now grown to become a full-service firm. Focus On The Data is authored by Frankfurts privacy and data security team, and provides insights and practical guidance on complex information privacy matters through every stage of the cycle.
  • Also new to the network, we have CJ Lee & Associates with the Indian Law Blog. CJ also known as Calvin Lee Jr., focuses his practice on supporting Native Americans in their varied endeavors.
  • Third, the Health Care Law Observer from the Boyce Law Firm out Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Observer will not only cover regional health care updates but legal alerts at the federal level as well. Kudos to attorney Tommy Johnson, who has led Boyce in increasing their online presence with their second blog.
  • Next, we have New Nuclear from Hogan Lovells, a blog following the legal and regulatory developments shaping the future of advanced nuclear reactor industry. LexBlog has always said find a niche topic, and this is about as niche as it gets with not very many nuclear law blogs out there.
  • Property taxes in Minnesota are based on real estate values, making the laws surrounding the taxes complicated and nuanced. So in comes the Minnesota Property Tax Review by Larkin Hoffman.
  • Ballard Spahr has launched Money Laundering Watch – ‘Insights and news on the world of financial corruption’, a blog focused on covering the latest news and developments in the area. I’m excited to the see content MLW churns out as Ballard Spahr’s other finance related blog, “CFPB Monitor” led by Barbara Mishkin, is recognized as an ABA Journal Top 100 Blawg.
  • Next up we have another financial services blog in The FinTech Report by Perkins Coie. The blog covers everything fintech from pre-seed startups to complex multinational organizations.
  • And yet another financial services blog, Dykema has launched the NextGen Financial Services Report. NextGen sums up why we are seeing so many finance related blogs, saying “The Financial Services Industry has gone through a tremendous amount of regulatory and operational IT change in recent years, and with a new presidential administration more changes and developments are on the way.”
  • Just in time for tax season. McNeese Wallace & Nurick LLC out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is starting up the Adding Value – ‘McNees PA Tax Blog.
  • Lastly, Robinson+Cole is continuing to grow their blogging network with the addition of the ERISA Claim Defense Blog. They now have ten total blogs and have quickly launched two in the new year.

Most large law firms publish law blogs by traditional practice groups. There are over 130 employment law blogs being published by AmLaw 200 firms, alone.

The “2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market” from Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, widely labeled as the “Georgetown Report,” signals that publishing blogs focused on general practice areas is misguided.

Niche focused publications demonstrating subject matter expertise is key.

Why? The erosion of the traditional law firm franchise over the last ten years. Clients are disaggregating work and allocating work to different law firms based on subject matter expertise established, in part, through niche blog publishing.

From the Georgetown Report:

One significant result of this disaggregated approach is that the client’s relationship with its outside counsel may – and often does – shift from a traditional client/trusted advisor relationship to more of an ad hoc, transactional relationship. In the latter model, the outside lawyer becomes less of a counselor with respect to the overall matter and more of a provider of specialized services that the client is unable to provide internally or acquire more effectively elsewhere.

Fox Rothschild, which publishes thirty-seven law blogs, is one law firm that recognizes the disaggregation concept in its approach to blogging.

Mark L. Silow, Firmwide Managing Partner for Fox Rothschild, in telling Bloomberg Law he’s amazed both by the amount of traffic that the firm’s blogs attract and by the amount of business that they generate, says a niche focus is key.

The thing that we encourage, and actually insist on in our bloggers is that they be very focused, that they be very specific. We would never approve of someone who says I am going to write a litigation blog. It has to be much narrower, much more focused.

Why does Silow insist on niche blog publications?

Clients are hiring experts. They are not hiring law firms, they are not hiring generic lawyers, they are hiring experts.

If you can blog today on a decision that came out this morning involving a really specific technical aspect of the law, you have now portrayed yourself as a current expert.

Silow’s thinking closing parallels the findings of the Georgetown Report.

The buzz word is disaggregation, where clients, especially the larger and more sophisticated clients, are no longer saying “Fox Rothschild is my law firm, whatever legal issues I have pick up the phone and call Fox Rothschild.” They have now have litigation counsel for this, they have litigation counsel for that kind of issue. They have tax counsel, real estate counsel, securities counsel, and all kinds of counsel.”

Those who can project and have the real specific expertise are getting more and more work.

There’s little doubt Fox Rothschild is outperforming the majority of large law firms on the blog front. The reason is a proactive and strategic focus. Rather than the tired and old marketing and business development by practice groups with a large number of lawyer bloggers, Fox Rothschild looks to opportunities for growth.

Fox Rothschild’s blogs can have as many as six or eight bloggers, but a good number have two to three bloggers, with some as few as one. The firm is tapping into the interests and passion of its lawyers in order to establish firm niche expertise.

Fox Rothschild’s business success is in line with the findings of the Georgetown Report.

There are, of course, many reasons that some law firms outperform others – including historic location, practices, and client base – but there are two characteristics that seem to have emerged over the past several years as particularly important in marking firms as likely winners: strategic focus and proactive response to the needs and expectations of clients.

Though there are exceptions, general practice oriented blogs struggle, especially to start. The blogs do not become must have publications for clients, including in-house counsel. The blogs do not get shared on social media. The blogs do not get cited by reporters, bloggers and the even the courts.

As a result, the lawyers’ interest in blogging wanes and the blog shows it. The firm has wasted an opportunity and often hundreds of thousands of dollars in collective lawyer time.

Legal blogs present an opportunity for lawyers and law firms to make a name for themselves as subject matter experts. But follow the wisdom of the Georgetown Report and Fox Rothschild. Go niche law blogs.

Michigan State University College of Law is hosting their second annual Social Media Bootcamp this Saturday (Feb 4). I couldn’t be more honored to be leading the workshop. We had a great time last year.

The workshop is open to law students, lawyers, academics, judges, court staff and all other legal service delivery professionals.

The interactive workshop is designed to help law students, lawyers and legal services providers improve their professional use of blogging and other social media, whether you are beginner or a pro.

You’ll learn how to effectively utilize social media to build a personal brand, establish expertise, and build an online community. You’ll also learn how social media can be used for learning, advancing the law, and networking as a law student, lawyer, law professor or other legal professional.

If you’re a practicing lawyer, you’ll leave knowing how to really use the Internet to get the type of work you want from the type of clients you want to represent.

We’ll cover, among other things:

  • Use of a news aggregator (Feedly) for listening to the influencers and identifying items to share
  • Blogging on a niche to build your name, a network and advance the law
  • Twitter for listening, establishing yourself as an intelligent agent, building social media equity, and building relationships
  • Facebook for building solid professional relationships and sharing personal and professional information and insight
  • LinkedIn for more than just a profile, but to engage, to build a name – and in the case of lawyers how to get work

Law student, professor or law school administrator and looking to blog, ask me about the LexBlog sponsored Law School Blog Network. You’re entitled to a blog on our comprehensive blog publishing software and related services – for free.

Complete details:

  • Date: Saturday, February 4, 2016
  • Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Event Address: 648 N. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Room: Castle Boardroom (3rd Floor)
  • Parking: Free on weekends in the parking ramp next to MSU Law
  • RSVP

Questions? Contact Amy Krieg, Assistant Director for Career Development, kriegamy@law.msu.edu or (517) 432-6830.

Big thanks for Michigan State Law for having me back again. This may be the third or fourth time in the last couple years. You’ve opened my eyes to the passion of law students looking to do great things – often, for other people.

Hope to see how this year’s social media contest is going too. past participants have ended up at with positions at Honigman in Detroit, General Motors, London law firms (internships) and West Coast companies in the agriculture/food business.

Legal tech companies are heading en masse to New York City next week for ALM’s Legaltech Show – now billed as LegalWeek.

Billed as the largest and most important legal technology event of the year, over 10,000 people, including decision makers from large and small law firms, will attend educational sessions and walk the exhibit halls filled with hundreds of legal tech company booths.

Tens of thousands of dollars will be spent by companies in product announcements, booths, alcohol and what not to enhance their brands and sell wares.

The wild thing is that the founders and executives of these tech companies don’t have a clue when it comes to using technology and the Internet to market and sell.

Rather than take responsibility for learning how to use the Internet for relationship building, marketing and selling, the executives hire public relations and marketing professionals to do the job for their company. Crazier yet is that those they hire usually don’t know what they are doing either.

A couple weeks ago, lawyer and legal tech entrepreneur, Zach Abramowitz @ZachAbramowitz, penned a piece in Above The Law about the challenges legal tech companies face in selling to law firms.

I meet a lot of legal tech companies, and I cannot tell you how many great products I’ve seen way which I later discover have zero meaningful traction. I’m not the only one.

Abramowitz went on to reference an interview with Mark Harris, CEO & founder of Axiom, who said:

Selling tech-only solutions into the legal industry today would be like selling a conveyer belt to a blacksmith in the late 1800s. You cannot sell the instruments of industrialization to artisans! They aren’t ready for them and have no idea what to do with them!

So, before legaltech can have its analogous fintech moment, the legal industry needs to make headway on a services-led, but tech-enabled approach to industrialization. We have to build the factories before we can embrace the tools that make the factory better!

The problem with guys like Harris (and maybe you) dissing law firms and their use of technology is that maybe you’ve done nothing to engage law firms, earn their trust and educate them. At least not in an effective fashion.

Legal tech companies coming to Legaltech sell the same way companies sold 100 years ago – through traditional marketing, advertising and sales. Virtually none of them leverage the Internet in a way that engages influencers, customers and prospective customers.

Hundreds of companies have booths at Legaltech. They are relying on websites, emails and cheesy social media to try to grab people’s attention to come to their booth.

I am getting three or four emails a day asking if I want to come by a company’s booth to meet the company’s CEO or founder. Understand that I am the CEO of my own legal tech company who just happens to blog and have some aptitude using social media.

I don’t know the company emailing me. I don’t know the CEO. In most cases, neither I nor my social media/blog followers have any interest in the company’s product.

The person sending the email doesn’t even know who I am, they are firing off random emails to a list of recipients. In the PR or marketing person’s mind I am a channel to get the company’s message out because I blog and use social media.

Though they may be selling something great, I have no reason to trust them.

One can only assume these companies are sending the same message out to lots of bloggers, reporters and influencers, all of whom know how to use the Internet to engage and build relationships. It’s almost like saying, “Yeh, I sell a tech product, but I am a total noob when it comes to using the Internet, how bad did I embarrass myself?”

So not only do the companies have to keep selling in an expensive and tiresome way, but they leave the people they ought to be connecting with wondering how innovative and tech savvy the companies really are when they don’t even know how to use the net when it comes to sales, marketing and business development.

How many of the companies have CEO’s and founders strategically and effectively blogging to build a name, develop relationships and grow business? How many of those companies will have their audience seeking them out based on the name they have built and relationships they nurtured online? Probably none.

Sales, marketing and business development is best done, or at least started, online today. Not with websites and email campaigns but through mediums being used by your customers, prospective customers and their influencers. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should be used by company leaders as individuals, not by the company.

People learn about products, services and company leaders socially. They learn to trust a company, it’s leaders and their counsel through online engagement – think blogging and social networks.

Don’t get me wrong. Face to face discussion is critical to sales. But accelerating relationships and your reputation makes selling much easier.

It’s never been easier to market and sell than today. But you don’t do it the old fashioned way, or else you’ll embarrass yourself.

If you’ve read this far and you’re a legal tech exec attending LegalTech wanting to know how to leverage the Internet for marketing and social selling, drop me a note. Lunch or a drink is on me and I won’t be selling you anything.

At LexBlog, we recently welcomed ten new blogs to the network spanning from Data Privacy to Family Businesses. If the trend continues, 2017 will be a big year for law firms and blogging, as we see more firms continually moving away from the traditional newsletter and legal alerts.

  • Be sure to check out the Data Privacy & Security Observer from Balch & Bingham LLP. Joining what is a thriving community of blogs in the area, this publication takes aim at keeping companies apprised of the latest and biggest data risks.
  • Davis Polk’s new blog Tax Reform and Transition covers the latest developments in tax reform, as well as shedding light on the background and context in which tax reforms will be considered. Given one-party control of the government and big campaign promises by President Donald Trump, tax reform seems to be one of the top priorities for the 115th Congress.
  • In the midst of President Donald Trump turning his company over to his sons, Murtha Cullina LLP launched their Family Business Perspectives blog. In the blog’s first post, editor Michael Connolly summed up the publication by saying, “This Blog is designed to identify and comment on common legal issues and current cases and developments that affect family-owned and controlled businesses.”
  • Attorney Barry Seidel launched the Probate and Estates Blog. Barry has been running his own law practice since 1982, starting out as a general practitioner and moving on to probate matters. He says “Most (probate) cases involve three questions, which are: 1. Is there a Will or not? 2. Is the situation friendly or unfriendly? 3. Are you the person who will be handling the Estate or a person affected by the handling of the Estate.”
  • The Fiduciary Advisor by Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP offers an online resource covering emerging and new developments in laws and news affecting trust and estate administration as well as estate planning.
  • Perform Law, a management consulting firm, is now offering advice to small and mid-size firms on their Law Firm Management Concepts blog. They’ll be posting “detailed analysis and advice for putting concepts into practice.”
  • Education & Public Agency Law Blog by Ball Janik attorneys, reports on the “legal topics affecting real property developments and construction for school districts, universities, and public agencies.”
  • From McCarthy Tétrault we have the International Arbitration Blog, where their practice team will discuss recent court and arbitration decisions that deal with complicated and important issues as well as new and applicable legislation in relevant jurisdictions, and commentary on new rules or procedures provided or adopted by arbitral bodies.
  • Robinson+Cole launched their 9th blog, Health Law Diagnosis, “Monitoring the Pulse of Health Care and Life Sciences.” The blog will be covering a wide range of health care matters, ranging from Medicare to mergers and acquisitions.
  • Lastly, we have Immigration Edge from Lane Powell which offers insight not only to individuals but regional, national, and international corporations seeking immigration advice.

 

Many legal tech companies bemoan the difficulties of selling technology to law firms when law firms are so far behind the times.

In reality, it’s the legal technology companies which make it tough on themselves by using outdated marketing, sales and business development methods.

Last week, lawyer and legal tech entrepreneur, Zach Abramowitz @ZachAbramowitz, penned a piece in Above The Law about the challenges legal tech companies face in selling.

I meet a lot of legal tech companies, and I cannot tell you how many great products I’ve seen way hich I later discover have zero meaningful traction. I’m not the only one.

Abramowitz went on to reference an interview with Mark Harris, founder of Axiom, who said:

Selling tech-only solutions into the legal industry today would be like selling a conveyer belt to a blacksmith in the late 1800s. You cannot sell the instruments of industrialization to artisans! They aren’t ready for them and have no idea what to do with them!

So, before legaltech can have its analogous fintech moment, the legal industry needs to make headway on a services-led, but tech-enabled approach to industrialization. We have to build the factories before we can embrace the tools that make the factory better!

The problem with dissing law firms and their use of technology is that maybe you’ve done nothing to engage law firms, earn their trust and educate them. At least not in an effective fashion.

Legal tech companies have innovative technology, yet they sell the same way companies sold 100 years ago – through traditional marketing, advertising and sales. Virtually none of them leverage the Internet in a way that engages influencers, customers and prospective customers.

So not only do the companies have to keep selling in an an expensive and tiresome way, but they leave the people they ought to be connecting with wondering how innovative and tech savvy the companies really are when they don’t even know how to use the net when it comes to sales, marketing and business development.

Perfect example is LegalTech in New York City, coming up in a few weeks. I just saw a long list of exhibitors who are spending a fortune to do what companies like them did in 1949 – have a booth. They are relying on websites, emails and cheesy social media to try to grab people’s attention and come to their booth.

How many of them have CEO’s and founders strategically and effectively blogging to build a name, develop relationships and grow business? How many of those companies will have their audience seeking them out based on the name they have built and relationships they nurtured online? Almost none.

Sales, marketing and business development is best done, or at least started, online today. Not with websites and email campaigns but through mediums being used by your customers, prospective customers and their influencers. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn used by company leaders as individuals, not by the company.

People learn about products and services socially. They learn to trust a company and it’s advice through online engagement – think blogging and social networks. People seek the input of others on social networks.

I can’t tell you often I have seen someone at a law firm ask on Facebook about a tech company and their product and no one knows much about the company. The reason is that the company’s leaders have refused to get out and mingle with people online.

Don’t get me wrong. Face to face discussions are critical to sales. But accelerating your reputation and relationships leads to meetings and sales.

It’s never been easier to market and sell than today. But you don’t do the old fashioned way.

Through efficiency brought by technology and a law school’s commitment to introduce its students to more effective business models and technology to improve legal services, LexBlog is moving forward with a Law School Blog Network offering law students, professors and administrators its blogging platform and services at no cost.

A year ago I was talking with Michigan State University Law Professor, and then Assistant Dean for Career Development, Daniel Linna, about the possibility of some day having free blogs for law students. What seemed like a pipe dream to me then is now a reality — and then some.

I was back in East Lansing teaching at a social media bootcamp for students, professors and administrators. At that time, Linna was launching The Center for Legal Services Innovation, LegalRnD for short, to study and introduce students to technology and innovation to make legal services more available to moderate income Americans and less expensive to businesses.

Part of the discussion concerned the power of blogging for learning, for building a name for yourself, building a network and making legal services more available through young lawyers with niche expertise. Let alone the contribution to advancing the law via open publishing.

In only the way Linna can put the subtle pressure on you, he says, “Gee, that would be pretty cool if you could make blog software and services free to law schools.” He had me.

One problem. A year ago, a project (blog site) at LexBlog took fifty hours of time – intake, design, development, quality assurance, content about the publisher etc. Free is pretty expensive at that rate.

Fast forward to today and LexBlog has become fifty times more efficient. What used to take 50 hours takes an hour. My tech team, led by our CTO, Joshua Lynch, is looking to push it further – maybe get it to 15 minutes in some situations.

This efficiency was brought about by moving the company from an agency to a software company.

Rather than design in Photoshop (.psd’s), developing sites and making modifications to sites separately as website developers and marketing agencies do, LexBlog has developed its own publishing software on WordPress core.

Think of software as a service such as Salesforce or Clio, except with a custom front interface. Bottom line we’re disruptive to the industry and able to do more for people.

With this increased efficiency we realized we could build a “Law School Blog Network.” LexBlog would offer the most comprehensive blog publishing software in the industry as a service to law students, law professors and law school administrators. All for free – blog publishing software, mobile design, hosting, SEO, marketing, free ongoing support and syndication across the LexBlog Network, including a forthcoming Law School Blog Network.

Blog software is free – in theory. But it’s not tailored for the law, folks don’t know where to start, their blog cannot be found, they don’t know how to maintain it and don’t know good blogging from bad. If you’re putting in the time, we want you to build a name for yourself in an area that you love.

To see an example of a blog on the Law School Blog Network blog, check out Dan Linna’s LegalTech Lever. Michigan State Colors and logo – everything Sparty (school mascot), the law school and the alumni could love.

Linna owns the content, title and domain name. He is free to move the content to any other branded site, whether part of the Law School Blog Network, or not, at any time he chooses. No strings attached.

For an example of a law student’s blog, see Miguel Willis’ Innovative Law Student. Seattle University Law School colors and logo.

Law student? Law professor? Law school administrator? Want to start blogging or are already blogging on a less than professional software without accompanying support, let us know. It will be our honor to help.

You can use the contact form on this blog or on LexBlog, and we’ll get back to you. You can also reach me via social media or email.

Medium, a web publishing platform used by a number of lawyers, announced in a blog post that it is making major changes, laying off a third of its employees – 50 people and closing its offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Ev Williams, their CEO and founder, said in his post that the company is “changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally.”

Ev doesn’t say what the new business model will be. He does say that ad-driven media on the Internet doesn’t serve the publishers or the public.

…[I]t’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.

……

We believe people who write and share ideas should be rewarded on their ability to enlighten and inform, not simply their ability to attract a few seconds of attention. We believe there are millions of thinking people who want to deepen their understanding of the world and are dissatisfied with what they get from traditional news and their social feeds. We believe that a better system — one that serves people — is possible. In fact, it’s imperative.

So, we are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward building a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day.

I’ve never liked a publishing model driven by eyeballs as a measure of success. Publishers, particularly professionals such as lawyers, will publish (blog) to build a name for themselves. The money they’ll earn with their name will be far greater than what they could ever earn through traffic, ads or selling their content.

When you’re building a name for yourself, you’ll even pay for comprehensive publishing software. LexBlog has proven it with thousands of lawyers paying to publish on professionally tailored software offered as a SaaS model.

Ironically, some lawyers chasing traffic, versus building a name for themselves started to use Medium over the last year. I have not heard from the lawyers, but I wonder how it’s worked out for them as a revenue generator — that is through legal fees.

This is quite a fall for Medium. The company raised $130 million in venture capital, most of it in the last year. The valuation for the latest round was $600 million. I always wondered if the investors were betting on Ev than the business model. Appears so.

Ev’s a talented and caring guy, giving us Blogger, Twitter and now Medium. Medium, as publishing software, also appears to be pretty good. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Medium.

One lesson for lawyers and law firms is to control your own publication. Not only do you control your content, what gets highlighted and how things are syndicated, but you don’t have to worry about your host’s business model when so much is at stake.

Does a business need a website?

My company, LexBlog, is going to find out as we move to a blog, as opposed to a website, for our Internet presence.

I’ve been asking the website question as to LexBlog’s Internet presence for the last year. So has my COO, Garry Vander Voort. We’ve both been blogging for a long time and believe a blog may do everything a website would do for us and more.

So last week we met as a group and decided that LexBlog would move to a blog as our web presence for now, as opposed to having a website. I pushed pretty hard for a number of reasons.

  • Every company talks of being real, genuine and authentic. We all know that is what customers, prospective customers and the influencers (bloggers, association leaders, reporters) are after. It’s how we build trust. But how many websites are real and authentic? They’re advertising and most people do not trust advertising. A recent white paper from Avvo said less than one-third of Millennials are influenced by a website in their decision on who to hire as a lawyer.
  • Websites are a suck of time. I hear all the time that a law firm or company is working on its website. Every couple years, including at LexBlog, companies talk of upgrading their website. A huge amount of time goes into it. Once a website is done, if ever, marketing talks of drawing traffic to the website. Time is spent on trying to draw traffic, sometimes money is spent. Why? Does traffic to a website mean more revenue for most companies?
  • Your company is your people. Nothing more. Nothing less. Your team members need to grow as people, they need to build a name so they can go on and do great things. Your team members need to get known by your customers, prospective customers and the influencers of those two. Your team members sharing what they are learning internally and by following others in a real and vulnerable way attracts a following and an interest. Garry’s sharing his work, research and decisions on putting our health insurance benefits together is interesting stuff. Our CTO, Joshua Lynch’s sharing insight and research on a security matter is good stuff. By sharing other’s posts online and engaging the source, my team members build a network and build a name for themselves.
  • LexBlog is selling a blog publishing software product that is everything a lawyer or organization needs to make a name for themselves and grow their business. It’s odd if we don’t blog as a lead. We built our company with a blog. I like returning to our roots.

Just as a blog has sections about the publisher, what the publisher does/sells, and how to get hold of the publisher’s company, we’ll do the same with LexBlog. All the information about what our product, the plans offered, our people etc will be part of the blog.

It will be an evolution in stages. Stay tuned and I welcome your thoughts.