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Law firms use of paid bloggers to capture relevant content

Paul Chaney, a recognized business blog leader, has an excellent post on the role of professional bloggers writing for a company’s blog and the value such a blog in marketing communications.

Paul agrees with me that it’s best to have an in-house blogger who knows the company, its personnel, products and services. However he does not believe a company without the resources to manage and publish a blog should be precluded from using a blog for marketing. Likewise, law firms looking to publish a blog as a resource for their target audience are free to use professionals to blog for them.

Is there anything wrong in having a law student summarize and post brief case summaries on a niche topic? Is there anything wrong with a paralegal pulling in content from a government agency or court Web site so the content is better organized and more searchable than such on such sites. Is there anything wrong having a professional blogger identify and blog relevant news stories? Heck no, such a firm should be lauded for providing such a free legal resource whether it be for corporate executives or consumer.

Paul reminded me of well respected author Rebecca Blood’s (The Weblog Handbook) describing two types of blogs. The ‘Metafilter’ model which consisted of a link with commentary and personal asides, and the short-form journal model.

And I’m not going to make a better case than Paul for the role of the first type.

While most bloggers these days opt for the latter, precedent remains for the former. IMO, that’s often what contract bloggers do. To use the term my friend Tris Hussey coined, they ‘gist.’ They surf the web aggregating news and information to present to the reader re-written in a blog-style form. As Rebecca Blood put it, it’s the ‘pre-surfed’ web.

Essentially, that’s what I and others do at Weblogs Inc. I write for the Diabetes blog, the Cardio blog, and the Cancer blog. (I’m 49, and at that age that I need to pay attention to these diseases, so gisting about them on the blogs is a good thing. I’m learning a lot!)

I don’t have diabetes, cardiovascular problems, or cancer so far as I know, so it would be next to impossible for me to write from a first-person perspective. I have to leave that up to others like Amy Tenderich, a type 1 diabetic and exceptional blogger on the subject. In her ‘short-form journal’ she articulates on issues from a perspective I never could.

Does that mean I shouldn’t have the opportunity to talk about these issues? Not at all! It only means I have to find my ‘voice,’ the place where I can be passionate, genuine and authentic. And I think I have, as an advocate for those suffering from these diseases. My passion comes in trying to find news and information that will help educate them, and as a staunch supporter of the need to find a cure.

I think there’s room for both in ‘this man’s Army.’ Ideally, a company that wants to use blogs most effectively should have an inside voice, perhaps that of the CEO. But, they can also use a contract blogger to gist about industry-related news and information. (Link, commentary, and personal aside)

I agree with Paul that the approach of using blogs for marketing purposes by being a clearinghouse of information on a niche topic may be, in a sense, taking blogging back to its roots.

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