Blogging Provides Publishing Platform and Offers Control

Clean, simple, responsive law blogs from Lawyerist Sites, just $20/month.
Learn more.

As lawyers, law firms, small business owners and solo entrepreneurs, many of us blog and engage on social networks. However, like clockwork, some major news outlet will proclaim the death or decline of the blog.

The latest, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter, comes from the New York Times. But, as Larry Bodine at Law Marketing Blog points out, While the Young Stray, Serious Readers Still Follow Blogs, noting that blogging among 34 to 73 year-olds increased.

Blogs offer control

The New York Times piece opens with a young filmmaker abandoning his blog where he no longer posted his video clips. “I don’t use my blog anymore,” he said, “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”  But what happens when Facebook changes its terms of service, privacy and viewing options, or simply shuts down the account?

In answer to a Facebook update by social media trainer, Mari Smith, about some of the new, less desirable features imposed on us, I commented, “It’s why the blog will always be my forum of choice. Love and engage (and have biz pages/accounts) on the social media platforms, but years of work can go up in smoke at the whim of these guys.” The question and comment resonated with scores voicing their displeasure with the new features and the frustrating lack of control and options.

Blogging pays dividends in terms of Internet visibility, professional reputation, and more business. It also offers control — over content, look, feel and navigation, accessibility and delivery.

Keep it simple on social media

A recent study showed that once users connect with a brand (“like” a Page) on Facebook 90% never go back to the page. They interact with the brand solely through their News Feeds.

Unless you have a budget to hire an experienced social media professional to handle the creation and management of a business Page, I suggest keeping it simple. Concentrate on providing useful links and information and engaging via status updates.

Facebook and Twitter are useful communication and marketing tools.  Anything more — adding lots of bells and whistles and originating content — can leave you vulnerable with little control.

Use blogs as publishing platforms and social networks as communication channels

Blogging isn’t dead, Mitch Joel, influential blog and social media expert, acknowledges, also in response to the New York Times article. “Blogging is publishing and publishing online is just beginning to evolve”. He suggests that as mature as Blogging is, it’s just beginning to take on it’s publishing role.

Indeed, 2011 has been proclaimed as the year that law firm websites become “publishing platforms.

Blogging is publishing. It’s content. And it provides a home base for social media channels.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wakingtiger/3156791845/)

, , , ,

  • http://bunkerlawgroup.com/the-las-vegas-nevada-small-business-blog/ Ben Bunker

    Great article!

    I enjoy writing and have found blogging is a useful creative release. I can’t say that many people read it, but I still enjoy doing it. The fringe benefits (adding content and legitimacy to my practice) are also helpful.

    • Tim Baran

      Thanks, Ben!

      Blogging is so many things — a platform for writing – asking questions and providing answers, content marketing, building community, even therapy. And I couldn’t agree more that it has been and continues to be a creative release.

  • http://www.rawsthorne.org Peter Rawsthorne

    Tim, I agree with the homebase idea… I’ve written about the homebase and outpost concept on my blog also ( http://criticaltechnology.blogspot.com/2011/01/homebases-and-outposts.html ). The challenge with using the blog is the homebase is I see it as more of an outpost, particularly if it is hosted elsewhere. And the blog is somewhat a piece of social media in that it accepts comments. The big challenge with the blog as a homebase is that the environment, look and feel, branding is “owned” by the hosting company and is at the whim of the hosting company. So if you are going to go down the blog as homebase path, be sure to have it hosted on your servers (or hosted in a co-location of cloud) but b sure you have complete control over the environment. There are good opensource options here… his is why I still see the website as the homebase. The lines between an HTML website as homebase and your own hosted blog is blurring…

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      When you say “the environment, look and feel, branding is ‘owned’ by the hosting company and is at the whim of the hosting company,” what do you mean? My consumer law blog and firm website are completely separate, but my hosting company doesn’t have anything to do with the look and feel.

      • Tim Baran

        Peter, are you referring to self-hosted (wordpress.org, joomla, etc) vs. Blogger, Posterous, Tumblr, etc? If so, I agree, there are many advantages to going with self-hosted blogs. Although, when starting out, the choice of platforms and what they offer can be confusing. So, starting with Blogger and migrating to WordPress.org could be a less intimidating, incremental learning path. It worked for me and I still have so much more to learn.

      • http://www.rawsthorne.org Peter Rawsthorne

        Yes, Sam. It looks as though your web site and blog are self-hosted on separate servers and you look to be in control of the look and feel. Unlike, as Tim mentions Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous… are not self-hosted (they are hosted on the providing companies servers) and you are at the whim of these companies and if they want to change their service they can without your input or influence. All the data (past blog posts) could disappear, though this is very very rare. I agree with Tim that you may want to start with these hosted services (Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous…) and then moving to having your own self-hosted using a wordpress or drupal… I just think for the long term you want to have deep control of your homebase where your outposts are open to disruption… doing some more reading on the homebase and outpost concept could assist here; http://www.google.ca/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=homebases+outposts

  • http://www.attorneysync.com Gyi Tsakalakis

    Self-hosted blogs are easier than ever to implement. Even those that don’t have tech background should be able to get a self-hosted installation of WordPress up-and-running in a matter of hours (minutes if you know what you’re doing).

    Most hosting companies also include fantastico, a one-click installation application for a variety of content management systems including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Check out hostgator hosting.

  • http://www.rawsthorne.org Peter Rawsthorne

    Gyi, I agree these self-hosted tools are easier than ever to implement. And having your own organizations self-hosted server is the way to go for the long term. Particularly, when you consider the cloud based services like http://www.rackspace.com. They cost so little when you also include server admin, back-up, recovery, 7×24 support in the overall price. I have a few installations where we have been running a number of self-hosted cloud based systems and the collective costs (servers, storage, backup, monitoring and admin) has stayed at $48.00 per month for the whole server.
    The other side of this is don’t underestimate the technical understanding required to get these self-hosted systems up and running. Yes, installing a wordpress or drupal is easier than ever. Getting them configured and branded to be what you want isn’t something I suggest a non-technical person could do in a few hours, particularly if you want multi-user configurations with some strong organizational branding…

  • Margaret Kasten

    I agree these self-hosted tools are easier than ever to implement.