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Published by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog

Engagement versus vanity

December 1, 2009

Yesterday, I had the honor of being included in the 100 best law blogs as judged by the ABA Journal. The top 100 blogs and their authors were the subject of a feature story on the ABA Journal online. Each of the blogs were linked to in the story.

Also yesterday, Eric Turkewitz linked to a year old blog post of mine in a blog post on Turkewitz’ blog. The text in the link to my post read ‘ratings system is toast.’ In his blog post, Turkewitz also referenced and linked to 16 other sources other than my blog post.

Glancing at my webstats from today I noticed that in the last 24 hours 58 unique visitors visited my blog from Turkewitz’ link to my blog. During the same time, 3 unique visitors visited my blog as a result of the link to my blog in the ABA Journal Top 100 Law Blogs feature story. 20 times the traffic from Turk as the ABA Journal.

I’m always preaching engagement over vanity when it comes to law blog success. Engagement meaning listening to relevant conversation online and when appropriate offering value to the conversation through a blog post of your own. Vanity meaning press releases announcing your blog, top blog contests, blog directory listings, and the like.

Vanity marketing is old school. ‘Marketing is a conversation’ is new school. Today being part of a conversation in which your target audience and their influencers is taking part in or following is more important in drawing attention to yourself, establishing a word of mouth reputation, and getting peer reviews and references than the attention we have bought in the past.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what Ed Adams, the Editor of the ABA Journal, and his reporters and editors are doing to shine a light on lawyers who are giving of themselves through blogging. I further appreciate that the ABA Journal is differentiating good law blogs from the law blogs being published by lawyers who think they are blogging while merely scrapping news stories for SEO. The latter is crap and demeaning to the profession.

I’m honored to be included among the better blogs by the ABA Journal. I hope it reflects my effort to help lawyers improve their practice and station in life.

At the same time, it’s a privilege to have gotten to know Eric Turkewitz, as a person and as a blogger. I met him through blogging years ago. Either he or I must have referenced what the other had written in a blog post, we started to follow each others’ blogs, and have referenced each other in blog posts on multiple occasions over the years.

I asked Eric to join a New York City panel on blogging I was moderating a couple years ago and we had dinner afterwards. Found out his roots in the Internet, like mine, go back to AOL days, that he’s also a distance runner.

Eric’s a good lawyer and a widely respected blogger (also in the ABA Journal top 100). When he references something I’ve written on my blog, it’s akin to a tacit endorsement of me, or at least my opinion, from a well respected lawyer and blogger. That carries a fair amount of influence with not only New York lawyers, but lawyers around the country as well as reporters and bloggers covering our legal industry.

This ‘endorsement,’ if you will, further enhances my reputation and generates a word of mouth reputation. And if you’re worried about traffic to your blog, it does that too. All the result of joining the conversation. By engaging others.

So when chasing blog accolades (some good, some worthless), give some thought to whether you’d be the greater winner by getting out and engaging folks through your blogging.

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