Chicago Tribune’s Eric Benderoff, in a good article on how companies deal with the web now that it’s morphed ‘from a medium of static sites to a place where dialogue and interactivity dominate.’ajor companies such as Kraft Foods Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. not only listen closely to what people are saying on the Web, but also actively engage in Web dialogue. This per the
Companies are adding positions like community manager, new media strategist or blog strategist, to analyze what is being said and engage in conversations so as to protect and advance a company’s image or products.
Very, very few law firms are following the lead. Law firms unfortunately spend more time discussing the design of upcoming static web sites or the branding of their law firm via a pet bulldog than taking advantage of the latest marketing technology.
Law firms ought to have systems in place to listen to what is being said on the Web about, among other things, the following:
- Lawyers’ names
- Firm name
- Clients’ names
- Prospective client names
- Key products or services of clients and prospects
- Expert witness names
- Names of cases the firm is involved
- Relevant case, code, and regulatory law
Law firms also ought to be engaged in Internet discussion in areas of the law in which the firm is looking to grow their businesses. Not through FaceBook, chats, message boards and the like. But through focused blogs. A blog is your mouth. Without a blog it’s impossible to engage in this discussion.
Personally, I’m only aware of one law firm, Steve Matthews’ former firm of Clark Wilson, which deploys an organized system for listening to Internet discussion. Hearing Steve explain the firm’s practice of monitoring strategic RSS feeds and distributing them to lawyers made it all seem so obvious and easy. Made you wonder why more law firms don’t do the same.
As knowledge management, library, and marketing professionals employed by law firms, you need to learn the art of listening to Internet discussion. Lawyers as well. Thomson West and LexisNexis have no services in place or in the works, that I know of, to provide you access to the discussion. The fortunate thing is it’s easy and cost effective to do.
Subscribing to RSS feeds of blogs and keywords/key phrases via a free (Google Reader) or low cost newsreaders is a snap. Ask friends or co-employees. Ask a blogger. Heck, if you want, call or email , and I’ll take 20 or 30 minutes to walk you through a webex.
Learn this stuff and you may not only be creating a new position for yourself, but creating more job security.