Does your law firm have a blog? If so, are you investing time and resources to make it timely, topical and interesting?
If your answer to either question is no, it is time to get on the boat.
Blogs have become the go-to source for legal information and breaking news, writes Donald Scarinci in the Constitutional Law Reporter.
And it’s not just law firms that are riding the wave – the U.S. Supreme Court has moved to blog city as well.
Advance sheets, hard-copy digests and bound summaries are yesterday’s method of staying in touch. Today, lawyers and laypeople alike are turning to SCOTUSblog – sponsored by Bloomberg Law and run by attorneys – for groundbreaking opinions, conversation and up-to-the-minute updates.
“The website is completely devoted to covering the U.S. Supreme Court, from in-depth analysis of the opinions to Plain English summaries,” writes Scarinci. “On days when the court issues major opinions, conducts oral arguments or grants cases, the site’s reporters live blog their initial descriptions and thoughts on the cases. Because the coverage is faster, more in-depth and more accurate than other sources, it has become a leading source of information about the Supreme Court.”
An example: during oral arguments on the healthcare law earlier this year, SCOTUSblog racked up a million hits. And with a handful of major cases on the high court’s docket, traffic is poised to explode.
A Quarter-Billion and Counting
There are 200 million blogs on the web, with more than 20,000 new ones being launched every day, according to best estimates.
Which raises the question: how do you build a blog that stands out among the masses?
Here are some tips:
Carve out a niche. Law marketing guru Kevin O’Keefe says it is easier to establish a reputation as a go-to lawyer in specific, discrete areas rather than as a generalist. This doesn’t mean you can’t accept cases outside your niche. It simply means you build your base of business on a rock-solid foundation instead of a sprawling swamp.
Avoid junk content. Sure, content is king. But crummy content is a turn-off. Even worse: it will brand you as unoriginal, boring and lazy.
Give your readers a reason to keep coming back. Professional, well-written posts packed with valuable information will ensure a loyal readership and reel in new business.
Post regularly. Shoot for a minimum of one to three posts per week, say most experts. Daily posts are even better. The key is to keep your content fresh. An added bonus: regular updates will improve your search engine rankings.
Start a dialogue. Solicit comments, suggestions and responses to specific posts. An active blog participant is better than a passive reader. Create a community based around your talents and expertise.
Promote your blog. Without adequate promotion, even the best of blogs will drift bleakly in space like the marooned astronauts in Gravity. Use your other marketing tools – newsletters, brochures and social media – to drive traffic to your blog.
3 Blawg Cautionary Tips
Legal blogs have become so widespread that they have been given their own name – blawgs – and genre, according to Wikipedia.
An effective blawg need not be a major drain on your time or resources. It can even be fun.
Three cautionary tips:
- Steer clear of giving legal advice
- Avoid posting legal information with a short shelf life that might quickly become dated
- Be careful not to give readers the impression that engaging in a blog discussion will create an attorney-client relationship.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.
- About.com Legal Careers http://legalcareers.about.com/od/practicetips/tp/Start-A-Blog.htm
- Constitutional Law Reporter – article by Donald Scarinci http://scarinciattorney.com/legal-bloggers-are-go-to-source-as-supreme-court-prepares-historic-rulings/?goback=%2Egde_2691620_member_251261372