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Professional lawyer blog done incorrectly can be marketing liability

Any lawyer or law firm can start a blog on their own but not knowing how to properly set up a blog, how to maintain one, how to promote it and what to publish can actually hurt the lawyer or firm. B.L Ochman, an Internet marketing strategist and President of What’s Next Online writes for MarketingProfs.com, that doing a blog the wrong way can be as much of a marketing liability as a marketing benefit.

Frankly, that’s the reason for lexBlog’s existence. Lawyers need help in setting up a professional blog, knowing how to maintain a blog without taking too much time and making certain their target audience finds and reads their blog.

Ochman highly recommends considering a blog as a way of establishing one’s identity and reputation on the Internet. But she wants folks to understand the challenges going in.

Ochman’s Blogging Caveats

  • Blogs are writing intensive. Most people would rather have a root canal done than write something coherent, pithy and provocative every day. It takes talent, skill and training to write down ideas clearly and make them interesting to read.
  • Maintaining a blog is hard work. Researching and writing are complex and time-consuming tasks. A blog that isn’t kept up to date quickly loses its luster and its audience.
  • Blog software is cheap and easily configured. However, you need to have a designer customize the appearance and navigation of your blog and set up templates to make using it easy for you.
  • It takes time, effort and skillful promotion to build an audience for a blog. Just as with a newsletter, report, Web site or e-book, driving traffic to a blog requires marketing.
  • You have to register your blog in blog search engines and use subtle PR to push traffic to your blog. Blogs are no more of a “build it and they will come” medium than Web sites. Besides time and consistently good content, you need to think about sending out press releases and media alerts about your blog’s scoops.
  • A blog that isn’t well-written and frequently updated will simply be ignored.
  • A blog that is an obvious attempt at self-promotion may be mocked by other bloggers.You could be a laughing stock of the blogosphere.

The amount of work is not really as onerous as it may sound. Lawyers, by trade, keep up to speed with the latest legal developments. Most lawyers, unlike the population at large, have done a fair amount of writing. Best of all lawyers have traditionally marketed themselves by showcasing their expertise, something, a good with the blogging philosophy.

Compared to doing a seminar or an article for a bar publication, maintaining a blog is not that difficult. A blog entry can be as brief as a couple paragraphs, two to three sentences each, in length. With a little training on the sources of content relating to their area of expertise, lawyers find they have more than enough content to post. Lawyers also find two to three entries per week becomes very doable.

Ochman’s Good News About Blogs

  • Blogs can help you get better search engine placements. Search engines like blogs because they are frequently updated, have lots of incoming and outgoing links and are made up of words. Search engines like words. If you know how to search engine optimize content, you can take advantage of the good placement being afforded to blogs by Google, Yahoo and others. You can write about a topic on Monday and see it in the top 10 ranking on that subject a couple of days later.
  • Blog software is so user-friendly that it frees you from the tyranny of the IT department. Even a technical clunkhead like me can post content, images, photos, articles and more to the Internet instantly.
  • If you’re willing to be controversial, you can build up a substantial audience for your blog in a short time.
  • Journalists troll blogs for source material because bloggers often break stories before traditional media. Posts in your blog can lead to coverage in mainstream, traditional media.
  • Blogs can bring in business. Blogs bring you closer to prospects and customers alike, who get to know you through your writing and are therefore one step closer to doing business with you.
  • Blogs are great for Intranets that allow sharing of information within a company.
  • Blogs are a perfect way to organize large amounts of information, because posts are automatically archived and searchable.

Like Ochman says: “Scores of companies, including giants like Microsoft, as well as associations, authors and consultants are bypassing newspapers, magazines, billboards and other traditional media to take their message directly to the public through blogs.” Lawyers and law firms out to seriously consider doing the same.

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