By Kevin O'Keefe

2016 will be the year of the niche law blog


Reading recent reports and articles, it’s becoming clear that 2016 will be the year of niche legal publications.

David Curle (@davidcurle), Director of Strategic Competitive Intelligence at Thomson Reuters Legal, recently summarized the key points from the 2016 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory from Citi Private Bank.

First on the list of what Citi prescribes for strategic growth for law firms in this annual report on the temperture of the legal marketplace is brand differentiation. “Establishing deep industry or practice area specialties and otherwise focusing on positioning a firm among its competition.”

Focusing and positioning a firm on specialities? You would be hard-pressed to find a better vehicle to accelerate a reputation and relationships in a speciality than a niche law blog.

Ryan Sholin (@ryansholin) at Nieman Lab writes that 2016 will be the year of the single subject sites.

General interest media used to serve that need [local interest subjects], but with newspapers cracking under the strain of trying to be all things to all people, wide gaps are being left in their wake. News sites with a single-minded focus on specific topics have been filling those needs on critical issues for some time now. What’s new is their audiences are diversifying and broadening.

It’s the same when it comes to legal and business publishing.

Legal newspapers and publications are losing some of their talented reporters and editors. Trade publications covering business verticals are struggling. General publications such as business journals and newspapers cannot cover niches with the detail and precision people have come to expect with Internet publications published by experts.

Look at our nation’s capital. Laura Hazard Owen (@laurahazardowenreports for Nieman Lab that reporters from digital niche outlets are replacing daily newspaper reporters in Washington.

Reporters from digital outlets and niche publications now hold more seats in the U.S. Senate Press Gallery than reporters from daily newspapers do, according to a new report from Pew. That’s a change from the late 1990s, when “daily newspaper staff outnumbered such journalists by more than two-to-one.”

Niche publications outnumbering newspapers when it comes to covering the federal government. You’re more likely to see reports from Kaiser Health News or Inside Higher Ed than a daily paper. Amazing.

The recent survey on content marketing from Greentarget and the Zeughauser Group made clear that separating yourself from the chaff is critical in the midst of all the legal content being published by law firms. Quality content of value to in-house counsel becomes the key.

The opportunities for niche law blogs abound. The LexBlog Network has only three states covered on probate litigation. Most circuit courts lack niche publications such as the highly successful blog published by David Donoghue covering IP litigation in the Northern District of Illinois — let alone Donoghue’s blog on Retail Patent Litigation. We’re lacking state supreme Court blogs on the LexBlog Network for the vast majority of states. The list of Reg’s not being covered is endless. The list of opportunities goes on and on.

Pick a niche area in the law for which you have a passion (or could get passionate about) and get blogging. You have the ability to become not only the ‘go to’ publication on the niche, but also the ‘go to’ lawyer.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Grant McDonald

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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