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Getting quoted by reporters : Another reason your blog does not belong on your website

December 13, 2011

Today offered another reminder why your blog does not belong on your website.

Yesterday I blogged about the LexisNexis audit of the social media practices of law firms globally. This morning Jennifer Smith, a legal affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal quoted what I had to say in my blog post in her story regarding the audit.

Kevin O’Keefe of Lexblog lasered in on the audit’s blogging results with this post over on Real Lawers Have Blogs. He writes that lawyers are only now getting over “their their own institutional fear of blogging and social media,” and says many blogs now published by lawyers exist only to boost search engine rankings.

“Those blogs provide nothing of value and cast the illusion that there are too many law blogs,” O’Keefe writes. “In fact, law firms are just beginning to see the power of blogs and social media.”

Would Smith have quoted me and my blog had my blog been inside the LexBlog corporate website under a navigation link for “Blog?” My guess is no.

Why not? Because my blog would have been inside a marketing piece for my company. I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen a reporter quote a website. Reporters are not looking to quote marketing materials, no matter the content or form.

Reporters quote people. My blog represented what I had to say, not what my company, LexBlog, had to say.

I noticed the same thing in a Reuters syndicated story on civil claims arising out of the Penn State sexual assault cases.

LexBlog Network member, Attorney Max Kennerly, was quoted directly from his blog regarding the possibility that Penn State could seek refuge in a Pennsylvania state law that shields universities that receive state funding from certain kinds of litigation.

That defense would be “legally weak and politically dangerous,” said Max Kennerly, a Philadelphia trial lawyer who has written about the case on his blog, Litigation & Trial.

Though a brief quote, Kennerly’s comments were syndicated across the country.

Would Kennerly have been quoted had his comments been included in a blog on his firm’s website? I don’t think so.

Law firms and law firm marketing companies are quick to add a blog to a law firm’s website. In some cases it’s a throw-in, “we get a website and the blog’s included!” If the firm and its lawyers are going to blog, then blog. Having a blog to say you have one or to occasionally add pithy content promoting the firm and its lawyers is counterproductive.

In other cases a blog is included in a law firm website so as to draw search engine traffic to the website. Law firms and their website developers or SEO consultants have trouble getting the law firm’s website to rank high in Google. The quick fix? “Throw a blog in, blog’s are keyword rich and link magnets.”

The problem with a quick fix is that only 14% of people trust advertising, which your website is. Lawyers get hired based on relationships and a their word of mouth of reputation, not based primarily on the ranking of their website on Google.

Blogs off the website, as a stand alone site sponsored or authored by a lawyer or law firm, allow a lawyer to get work based on relationships built out of engaging others and a word of mouth reputation which in part is born out being cited on other blogs and by reporters.

If it’s search performance your interested in, that’ll come with a well written blog off your website. A key component of SEO is incoming links from other important websites and blogs. Good blogs are indeed link magnets and will rank high in Google.

Law firms have historically worked hard to quoted by the media. Some firms have paid handsomely for public relations professionals to pitch their stories and lawyers.

Blogs may be the single most effective method of getting quoted as a lawyer by reporters today. Don’t handicap yourself by putting your blog in your law firm website.

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