By Kevin O'Keefe

The legal digital media battle will be won on mobile – and social

social media

“The battle will be won on the smartphone,” New York Times CEO, Mark Thompson told the audience at the Code/Media conference Tuesday evening, reports Re/codes’s Peter Kafka (@pkafka) and Edmund Lee (@edmundlee).

And mobile alone will not be enough, per Thompson. Gaining readership will require content sharing on third-party social networking platforms such as Facebook.

Per Kafka and Lee:

…Facebook execs have…. been meeting with media companies to encourage them to publish more of their journalism directly on Facebook. As part of the push, Facebook is offering publishers some specialized tools that will make it easier to share their content with the social network’s 1.3 billion users.

Though Thompson declined to address discussions with specific third parties such as Facebook, he acknowledged:

My starting assumption is that … you’re better off playing the game.

When you grow your off-platform audience, you generally grow your on-platform audience, as well.

Spot on wisdom for law firms. Unlike the New York Times which has a huge print readership, law firms publish almost exclusively in digital format. 100% digital in the case of blogs.

Law firms have little choice whether to publish mobile ready blogs, preferrably responsive for custom design and branding.

In a best case sceanrio non-mobile ready blogs will turn off 25 to 40 percent of your readers who are using a smartphone or tablet for reading news and commentary. You’ll look lame.

In a worst case scanario your blog content will not get shared socially across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, something critical for digital media distribution today.

The social media influencers who move your law content across the net use mobile more than the general population. These influencers will not subscribe to your blogs nor share your blog posts with their trusted followers when your blogs are difficult or impossible to read on social network mobile browsers.

Law firms will not be asked by third party social networks to re-publish their blog posts on their networks, but obviously it’s in the interest of law firms to leverage social networking sites for the distribution of their digital media.

As I have blogged before, republishing or just pushing blog posts across social networks will not work. Social media distribution requires individual lawyers bullding personal social media networks.

You cannot buck the game by trying to leverage social through the law firm brand. By leveraging the social networks of individual lawyers, you’ll grow your blog audience.

As a law firm you have too much money and time invested in your blogs not to heed the advice of Mark Thompson.

Play the game – mobile and social.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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