Law firms regularly ask me who should edit their lawyer’s blogs. My answer is no one. A blog represents the unedited voice of a person.
One exception, if you choose to do any editing, is proofing for spelling, grammar and the like. This is copyediting versus editing.
Editing refers to making changes to the content of a piece. For instance, you might reorganize, rewrite, revise, reposition — there’s a lot of “re” stuff going on. Typically, it’s a very collaborative process with the writer.
Copyediting, on the other hand, involves fewer sweeping changes. It focuses more on accuracy, formatting, and sometimes (though not always) proofreading.
A blog post is not an article, alert, or email newsletter. Neither is a post a form of marketing that must conform to the ‘firm’s communication standards.’
A blog post is a lawyer’s entering into an existing conversation in a real and authentic fashion. The substance of a post, like the words in a face to face conversation, ought not be edited.
Conversation is an expression of who we are. Conversation is an element of learning. Sure we’ll come up short at times in blogging, it’s how we learn. Those we communicate with through blogging all often correct us..
Blogging builds an intimate relationship of trust between lawyers and their clients, prospective clients, referral sources, bloggers, and reporters. Trust is built by being genuine and unedited.
Sure, not editing will be a struggle for some law firm general counsel and marketing professionals. That’s okay.
Educating them on what blogging truly is and seeing that lawyers speaking in an unedited voice helps build relationships and a reputation will help them get over the hump.
True blogging is so powerful personally. We learn, we grow, we connect, we collaborate, and we feel better about ourselves. Editing for substance robs us of these things.
Copy edit, yes. Edit, no.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Nic McPhee