Eye-catching headlines are easy. This one’s the truth. InsideCounsel’s headline of last week was not true.
Last week, InsideCounsel ran a story titled “Survey Says In-House Counsel Don’t Read Law Firm Blogs.”
Already contrary to the headline, InsideCounsel’s Marlisse Silver Sweeney (@marlissess) reports in the story that “close to a third of corporate counsel aren’t reading blogs offered by firms.”
What are the other more than two-thirds of corporate counsel doing? Yes. Reading blogs.
The day after the story, I asked Silver Sweeney, via Twitter, if she had read the survey (2015 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey) co-authored by Greentarget and the Zeughauser Group. My thinking was that the headline was terribly misleading. I also shared, again through Twitter, that Facebook discussion among legal marketing professionals did not view the headline favorably.
I did not receive a response as to whether anyone at InsideCounsel read the survey, but I did receive a note the next day that the headline had been changed.
Does the survey question the value of blogging poorly and and without a strategy? Sure. Law firm publishing has never been more popular, the challenge lies in standing out.
The survey does not question actual blog readership by general counsel though.
I had the pleasure of seeing a presentation on the survey’s findings by Greentarget President and Founder, John Corey (@jecorey) at the Legal Marketing Association Technology Conference a couple months ago.
Corey shared that 40 percent of general counsel read blogs on a daily and weekly basis, trailing only LinkedIn and and Wikipedia when compared to other social media. While not a majority, the figures are impressive considering the timespan.
In-house counsel also find law firm attorney-authored blogs to be more valuable than blogs from professional journalists, blogs from fellow in-house counsel and blogs covering various industries.
According to the survey, three in four in-house counsel find the content from blogs to be valuable.
The numbers could be endlessly dissected, but the survey and Corey’s central point revealed the value in-house counsel see in law blogs.
The survey clearly shows that in-house counsel know the value – or the potential value – of relevant content generated by law firms. But the sheer volume of content out there combined with the dearth of documented strategies, and even the absence of any kind of strategies, has caused a problem for many firms – and an opportunity for those who can get it right.
Jacqueline Madarang, Digital Marketing Technology Manager of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, took immediate issue on Facebook with the InsideCounsel headline and article. She said the firm’s financial services litigation and labor and employment lawyers have had good success reaching in-house counsel via the firm’s blogs.
We’ve generated new matters directly from our blogs. A couple of weeks ago, the head of litigation from [a national shipping company] even emailed us after finding our blog post on the web. In addition, we’ve had clients ask us to write about topics that matter to them. I agree about producing quality content vs. quantity. If the attorneys are producing great content, the clients and in-house will continue to read them and follow them.
The GC from [a national moving company] also emailed us not too long ago and commented on how we made him laugh on a blog post our attorney wrote (that was a huge plus for us!) on the labor and employment blog. And [a major insurance company] asked to meet with us after following and reading our financial services Nevada HOA blog posts on the web, in addition to reporters frequently reaching out to the attorney who writes about Nevada HOA litigation to provide status on the current litigation.
83 percent of the 200 largest law firms in the country publish blogs. They do so to connect with and build reputations with their clients and prospective clients. Their clients, in most cases, are the Global 2000 and Fortune 500 companies whose legal matters are directed by in-house counsel.
It’s a real disservice to the legal profession for InsideCounsel, a magazine that’s been targeting top in-house legal professionals since 1991, to run an unfounded story with a sensationalized headline to draw attention to itself.
Ironically, it may go to show InsideCounsel that the publications (blogs) which it was quick to dismiss may be more reliable than their own magazine when it comes to reporting the news.
For more information on the survey, checkout Greentarget’s blog post.