Is an editorial calendar helpful for a law blog?

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I am not sure that an editorial calendar is helpful for a law blog. In many cases an editorial calendar can even be counterproductive

Many medium and large firms are using using editorial calendars for law blogs with multiple contributors, often with blogs published by a practice or industry group. More and more I am hearing speakers and “blogging experts” suggest that firms use editorial calendars, especially firms new to blogging.

The idea behind an editorial calendar is to get lawyers to blog regularly, to make sure that a law blog doesn’t go dark, for lack of a blog post. Many hands makes light work appears to be philosophy. “How could we ever lack for blog posts with ten contributors sharing the load?’

Editorial calendars are also used to make sure various subjects are covered. By assigning particular lawyers to subjects “needed” to be covered, there’s the necessary coverage and no overlap.

With law blogs published by one lawyer, an editorial calendar is not an issue. The lawyer blogs or they don’t, though some lawyers schedule particular days and times for blogging.

Editorial calendars sound good in concept, but how much fun is it for the “editorial calendar coordinator” to chase down lawyers  for their posts?  How much fun is it to get chased down on Friday for a blog post do on Monday?

Here’s some points to consider before enacting blog calendars.

  • Blogging works when it’s fun. Blogging may not be fun for everyone. Let those who enjoy blogging run with it. If they publish five posts to everyone else’s, that’s fine. Editorial calendars and committees can take the fun out of blogging before you even get started.
  • Blogging is about passion. Blogging lawyers should cover subjects they’re passionate about, not subjects assigned to them. Read passion to mean areas of law or subjects lawyer is excited to learn, excited to network in and excited to be known in. Passion is evident to readers, who will become followers — and passion begets more posts.
  • Readers don’t generally “come” to a blog looking for content or content covering the lay of the land on a subject. That’s for a book, the definitive resource on a subject, which your blog is not. Blog posts can “come out” when they’re published, whatever day or time that may be. Blog posts can cover those things bloggers are interested in, without having to cover everything. “Hot” subjects will naturally draw lawyers’ attention and their blog posts.
  • Blogging can be best viewed as a form of networking, versus writing content alone. Follow what your target audience of bloggers, reporters, association leaders, business colleagues and even clients and prospective clients are saying or writing. Share and reference what they are saying or writing and let readers know why you shared it or what your take is. Firms struggle to get their blog and bloggers known when the best way to market a blog is to blog about what others are saying or writing.
  • Listening via a news aggregator like Feedly, Twitter or another source for news or legal updates is important for blogging. By nature we all listen to various subjects. We’ll naturally want to blog about what we read or listen to. Let it happen.
  • Effective blogging and social media are acquired skills for individual lawyers, and even a firm. I advise many firms that a major success is at the end of one year having one or two lawyers who know how to blog and use social media for successful business development. Empowering individual bloggers to blog with passion and to become a little bit of a star in the their own right as a result generates blog champions, viral positives for the firm’s effort to get other lawyers blogging and using social media successfully.

Sure, have a blog leader or editor. Let them make it fun through lunches, dinners or drinks out for the blogging team. Share what you’re discovering in your blogging, not just by subjects covered but as far as successful blogging and social media use. What’s working? Who’s citing you? Who are you meeting? How are you using social media?

Maybe that blog leader or editor arises naturally. Maybe they’re the one to whom blogging comes naturally. Maybe they’re the own who’s generating business. Maybe they’re the youngest lawyer in the group who is becoming a rising star for the firm.

English writer, Gilbert Chesterton said “I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.” I guess I feel the same way about a blog committee with an editorial calendar.

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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