By Kevin O'Keefe

Joe Hartley another blog contrarian without a clue on power of blogs

Well we have more lawyers jumping onto the blog contarian bandwagon. You know, the ones who don’t publish a blog, who don’t participate in the online discussion being generated by blogs, who don’t monitor feeds coming from particular blogs or generated by keywords & key phrases and who don’t use RSS. But have no problem going out and telling lawyers what blogs can do for them in articles.

The latest blog contrarian article comes from Joe Hartley, a Santa Monica lawyer, and is called ‘A Contrarian View of Legal Blogs

A well-written piece in your firm’s library of available articles, composed without the pressure of immediate deadlines, will serve your firm far better than following the blogging crowd and joining the cacophony of loud voices and empty content.

What a lot of baloney that is. Maybe I’m all wet, but I thought legal marketing was all about creating a brand by which your target audience recognizes you as a reliable and trusted authority in the area in which you specialize – so much so that others talk about you as an expert in the network of people they associate with.

It’s exactly this reason that the lawyers attracted to blogs for marketing are some of the best and brightest lawyers you would ever want to meet. They have always marketed via speaking, writing and being a source for journalists, whether mass or trade media.

Here’s a good example. Cathy Kirkman publishes a Media Law Blog out of the Silicon Valley. She wants to reach a target audience of execs and in-house counsel looking for her expertise. She knows that there are key journalists and other blog publishers who already reach her target audience.

I just took a look at Technorati to see how many times Kathy has been referenced for her writings. It’s almost 20 times in the last 90 days. Even more important to note is that she is being cited by folks like Lawrence Lessig and Dan Gillmor, some of the most respected publishers on new media issues. Kathy has in effect been cited as an expert to tens of thousands of people in her target audience.

Hartley, presumably a very good lawyer who has published a lot of what are presumably excellent articles on professional liability issues has never been referenced at Technorati before he wrote this contrarian piece on blogs. No one commanding the respect of others is championing Hartley’s cause on the net, telling others of his expertise. Why? Because he is not part of the online discussion and his content is not disseminated via RSS.

Blog contrarians can say what they want about blogs but here’s what Bill Gates has to say about blogs & Web sites:

  • Web sites and email are outmoded means of business communication
  • Email is obtrusive
  • Web sites require people to return
  • Blogs with their RSS technology are the answer
  • Blogs provide people the news and information they want when they want it

Gates took the first step this last Friday when Microsoft told the world RSS would be included in Microsoft’s next operating system. That way the blog contrarians can have blog and RSS technology on their desktop to better communicate with people and in the case of lawyers, market themselves.

Kerry Randall, a legal marketer with great vision & passion, died a young man this last Saturday night. I pulled one of Kerry’s marketing books off my shelf this afternoon. From it I read a quote from John F. Kennedy that applies at this time when innovative lawyers are being challenged. I quote President Kennedy in Kerry’s honor this evening.

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need (people) who can dream of things that never were.

I remember lawyers who said Web sites were a fad and a gimmick. I’ve read that most lawyers could not imagine fellow lawyers advising people on some new contraption called a telephone. Good thing we didn’t all follow the contrarians then.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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