This morning, legal marketing expert, Larry Bodine became the first blogger to be included in LexBlog’s new “Five Questions” feature, which we hope to use as a tool to provide greater insights into the minds of some of the blogosphere’s biggest movers and shakers.
1. LexBlog: Your blog is hyped as “one of the most-subscribed to and linked-to marketing blogs online.” What are you doing that makes you the Internet’s marketing go-to guy?
Larry Bodine: I provide practical, how-to information so people will come to [my] site to get specific tactics and techniques. I also make a point of following current events [that relate to marketing] very closely, and people know that if they follow my blog, they’ll read about it there first.
2. LexBlog: What made you get into business development advising?
Larry Bodine: The reason I got into business development is because that’s what law firms want now. The market has changed. Pretty much every law firm knows how to send out a press release or put up a website or print a brochure. That’s not going to bring in clients. But business development – which is getting face to face with people and learning to say and do the right things – will generate clients. So people ask me what I do, and I tell them, “I help law firms get more clients and make more money.” And making more money is what it’s all about.
3. LexBlog: You sometimes update your blog two, even three times a day. Is there a specific blogging routine you’ve gotten into, or do you just write whenever you’ve got a free moment?
Larry Bodine: I have so much content that I schedule when it’s posted. That way I have enough material to run for the next 10 days. Sometimes, if I have something that’s like hot news or a new report or new research, I’ll just move that item [so that it will] appear later. But other times – for example, when I’m at a conference and I’m blogging live – I’ll post it immediately, so you’ll see more than one post a day.
It’s a trick I picked up, maybe from Kevin, years ago. I don’t know about other bloggers, but I have so much material, one [post] a day is not enough. And so the scheduling feature works great. Because I tend to get my inspirations all at once, like say on a Sunday afternoon, and I’ll write five blog posts and schedule them to appear once a day, and then maybe two days later I’ll get five more, and so I’ll add those online.
One of the things that I really enjoy doing is going to a conference and blogging live. People really like that. They like to know that here’s something somebody said today, and you’re hearing it first from me. I mean, its real simple. Its like what the reporters are now doing at the political conventions. There’s a whole section for bloggers, and you have your little Aircard – or, if you’re lucky, there’s Wi-Fi in the room – and you just simply type your notes [in a blog entry], post it online, and then when you get a chance, clean it up and run spell check and stuff. But the main thing is to win that race to the keyboard.
4. LexBlog: You were already an active blogger by the time you came to be a LexBlog client. Do you think there is any connection between the proactive role you’ve taken in marketing yourself online and the amount of success you’ve had as an advisor?
Larry Bodine: Definitely. People know that I am absolutely current on the latest thinking, because I’ve attended all of the conferences, I’ve spoken with the people who are leaders in the field. So when I get hired for an assignment, they know that I not only know what’s going on now, but I can look over the horizon. And that’s what law firms want in a business development advisor. Frequently its like, “We’re doing great, but how do we get to a higher level?” That’s where I come in. Nobody wants to know what happened yesterday. Everybody wants to know what other law firms are doing right now, so I always focus on people, activities or a success story.
At this point, I’ve attracted enough of an audience that I get people who e-mail me press releases and telephone me with blog items. Everyday I open the mail and somebody has sent me something that they want me to post on their blog. Its really kind of fun, because I can look all these things over and decide, “Yeah, this is just self promotional.” But then again, a lot of times people will save some sort of a news item for me, and then I’ll look it over and I’ll basically compose a news story about it.
I think a lot of bloggers are either trying to promote themselves, or they’re blatantly selling their services. And nobody wants to read that. The best blogs talk about other people. A bad blog is where you talk about yourself. And you have to know your audience. You don’t write so much about what interests you, as the blogger, but what interests your readers. And that can often be different. Nobody wants to know Larry Bodine’s favorite color. But everybody wants to know what’s going on at a competing law firm.
If there was one bit of advice you could give to American law firms in the 21st century – regardless of their location, size and practice areas – what would it be?
Larry Bodine: Know your clients’ business…know how they make money.
Larry Bodine is an llinois-based business development advisor, boasting an impressive client roster that includes law firms of all shapes and sizes from around the country. Larry is both a former lawyer and journalist, whose resume includes work with the National Law Journal and the New York Daily News, and eight years as editor of the American Bar Association Journal. He currently operates his own LexBlog blog.