I have been blogging for over eleven years, most of the time encouraging lawyers to blog and when they do, to blog better. I am sure many of you have seen it as more of a hammer than encouragement.
Define the perfect niche strategy, identify and listen to the influencers, master the use of a news aggregator, engage the influencers by quoting them (engage by linking, don’t just write summaries of the law), write in a conversational style, use the pefect imagery, and build social media equity by sharing others content so that they share your own.
Yowza! A lawyer’s going to master all of this while working her or his tail off and rasing a family?
Is all of it necessary for success? Maybe not.
I think back to Attorney Dave Donoghue (@rdd) calling me almost ten years ago. He was at Delco Electronics, I believe, and wanted to be doing IP litigation in Chicago.
Together (more him) we came up with the idea of a blog focused on Chicago IP litigaton.
Dave would cherry pick relevant cases from the District Court and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He’d do brief summaries of cases, something a practicing lawyer may be apt to do, and post them to a good looking blog that would be search engine optimized, kicking out email updates and RSS feeds, and providing a searchable archive of the cases.
The Chicago IP Litigation Blog worked to help get Dave a job at DLA and then a position at Holland & Knight. The blog put Dave on the national stage and has generated significant work and revenue.
Wilmington Delaware Attorney Francis Pileggi (@fpileggi) contacted me at about the same time. Much of Francis’ litigaton work was before the Delaware Court of Chancery, widely recognized as the nation’s preeminent forum for the determination of disputes involving the internal affairs of the thousands upon thousands of Delaware corporations and other business entities.
Francis read decisons from the Chancery Court as part of his work. Rather than hold the summaries to himself, he decided to post summaries of some of the cases, with some commentary, to a blog.
The Delaware Corporate and Commercial Blog brought Francis notoriety among regional judiciary and lawyers across the country. Like Dave, he has generated significant business as a result of his blog.
When Dave and Francis contacted me I didn’t know half of what I know today about blogging and social media. That was probably fortunate for Francis and Dave. Imagine if I ran them through the 10 things you need to do to blog well which I mentioned above.
I am not saying a law blogger should not aspire to achieve these things. But looking at the accomplishments of Dave and Francis, it may not be necessary.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of niches (legislation, subjects, courts, agencies, states, locales) for which others would appreciate being kept abreast of descisions and developments. They’d rather see relevant summaries, with a little commentary, from a practicing lawyer with a keen eye on a niche, than a legal publisher.
Take a look at the blogs of Francis and Dave. Could you do this for a niche? Sure, it takes work. Those who achieve more, tend to work a little harder.
But with the right set up, branding, design and development, SEO, marketing, and support, when needed, you probably could achieve great things.
I’d like to see blogging done better, as we have characterized it at LexBlog, but maybe I am asking more than I need to.
What do you think?
Image courtesy of Flickr by David Clow