Some of her friends and fellow lawyers may treat her blogging "like it was some sort of hobby, perhaps akin to collecting stamps" but Ohio business lawyer Teri Rasmussen knows that her Ohio Practical Business Law blog is far more valuable.
"Blogging has also allowed me to tap into an entirely different group of people than traditional marketing," Teri says.
She started blogging because she was tired of traditional methods of business development and thought blogging would speak to her strengths.
"Among other things, blogging puts a premium on knowledge, the thirst for gaining more knowledge, and the ability to write well," Teri says. "For me, blogging was about capitalizing on skills I felt I excelled in and doing something I felt I would enjoy."
We caught up with Teri for this LexBlog Q&A to chat about what it’s been like to watch her blog grow, why she thinks blogging is more efficient than other business development techniques, and what are some of her favorite blogs to follow.
See our e-mail exchange with Teri (after the jump).
Lisa Kennelly: Why did you decide to start a blog?
I was tired of doing the traditional business development activities (which I still do because it’s expected and because you should never rely on only one type of business development activity anyway) and it seemed like the Internet, and blogging in particular, were made for me and would exploit my strengths. Among other things, blogging puts a premium on knowledge, the thirst for gaining more knowledge, and the ability to write well. I love to write, always have, and over the years, have been complimented on my writing many times. And learning is one of my “best things”. So, for me, blogging was about capitalizing on skills I felt I excelled in and doing something I felt I would enjoy. I also liked the idea of being able to touch many more people than I would ever meet doing traditional networking and thought that ought to be helpful for business development.
Lisa Kennelly: How does having a blog differ from prior marketing practices you might have used?
Teri Rasmussen: Unfortunately, I think it is less accepted by those in the legal community than the traditional sorts of business development activities. This means I can’t spend quite as much time as I’d like on blogging because I still need to show I haven’t abandoned the things everyone else thinks are effective. To me, blogging is about embracing the future of the practice of Law and getting there before everybody else decides it’s the “thing to do”. Ultimately, I think blogging can be more efficient than those other techniques because once a post is up, it’s there 24/7, 365 days a year and I can easily send people links to particular posts that address their concerns. Blogging has also allowed me to tap into an entirely different group of people than traditional marketing which tends to be mostly local. And it really IS more ME than the other stuff so I enjoy it more.
What has been most rewarding about blogging?
Well, of course I love it whenever I get complimented on the blog, especially by complete strangers who’ve happened on it. There are also a number of other rewarding aspects of blogging, including some I really hadn’t anticipated. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a whole new neighborhood of people (I,e, bloggers) I would otherwise never have met. I’ve also appreciated the way blogging has gotten me out in the world and helped me learn all sorts of things about the web and how it can be a useful tool in any number of ways. But I think the most rewarding thing has been watching the blog grow – in readership, in acceptance by other bloggers, and hopefully, in quality. It’s been fun and exhilarating in the same way I suppose it is to watch your child or business grow and mature.
What has been most challenging?
Teri Rasmussen: When I started, I thought that finding things to write about might become a challenge, but that really hasn’t been much of a problem at all. Finding time to blog is sometimes an issue, but by and large, I’ve been able to manage that. The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to leverage the blog with more traditional business development activities to really make the blog an effective business development tool. I still haven’t quite figured that out completely, but I think I’m making progress.
What has been the response from clients, lawyers, bloggers or anyone else?
Teri Rasmussen: Clients seem to like it, especially when I’m able to send them a link to a post on point with something they’re dealing with. I also believe that, in some cases, it has helped me establish that level of trust with a client you always want just a little bit faster than before, and in this economy, every little edge helps. Other bloggers have been generous in linking to my posts. However, most of the folks in the world I live in aren’t particularly web savvy so I suppose it’s not especially surprising that so far, many lawyers, and even friends, sorta treat my blogging like it was some sort of hobby, perhaps akin to collecting stamps. Which, at least partly, is why finding a way to make blogging a quantifiable extremely effective business development tool is so important to me. Because it’s NOT just an esoteric hobby – at least that’s not the plan!
Do you read any other business blogs? If so, which are your favorites and why?
Teri Rasmussen: Yes. I especially enjoy Rush on Business (perhaps being from Iowa has something to do with that) and Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, authored by Jon Hyman of Cleveland-based Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz. I like the way both of them seem to have their own voice while being informative about topics that interest me.
In addition, I like reading Dealbook by the New York Times — which seems to cover important developments in business law — and the Wall Street Journal law blog which is the perfect mixture of gossip and newsworthy items. Also, while I suppose it’s not technically a business blog, I’ve recently discovered Courtoons, done by fellow Michigan alumnus David Mills, which has some of the funniest cartoons I’ve ever seen.
Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:
- Kysa Crusco of New Hampshire Family Law Blog [3.27.09]
- Joseph Koncelik of Ohio Environmental Law Blog [3.25.09]
- Peter Mahler of New York Business Divorce [3.23.09]
- Grace Healy of Outside Inhouse Lawyer [3.20.09]
Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.