Legal Blogging: The G.Y.I. System
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I know it’s not for everyone (and I’m really curious how many Lawyerist fans will appreciate it) but, I’m a big fan of the television program, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
In one of my favorite episodes, Dennis outlines the D.E.N.N.I.S. system, his fool-proof plan for having success with women. While you’ll have to watch the episode for his full plan, the first component: D – Demonstrate Value, is very relevant to marketing a law firm online.
Before you contribute to this post’s “bounce rate” because you feel strongly one way or the other about the show, allow me to explain.
D – Demonstrating Value
As a lawyer, you sell your professional time, knowledge, skill, and experience. Further, the value of each of these assets bears a direct relationship to how they are perceived by your past, present, and future clients. Finally, your clients’ perception of each of these depends, to a large extent, to how well you are able to demonstrate their value. So how do you demonstrate value?
You may not realize it, but you demonstrate value every single day. For example, you demonstrate value during your initial consultation with a prospective client. You demonstrate value when you effectively explain a particularly complex legal matter. And, of course, you demonstrate value when you obtain a favorable result for your client.
But how do you demonstrate value on the Internet? This is the part that many lawyers still haven’t quite grasped.
The truth is, it really isn’t all that different from the familiar ways of demonstrating value described above. However, the execution and implementation are a little different when it comes to the Internet.
I know what you’re thinking. Here we go again, yet another endorsement for starting a legal blog. And yes, I do think blogging is one of the best ways to increase your law firm’s Internet visibility. However, not all blogs are created equal. While some build professional reputations, others have little to no effect, or even do harm.
More important than installing, buying, or setting up a blog is understanding HOW to blog effectively. The way that you blog will have a much greater impact on your ability to demonstrate value than the platform that you choose. And I’m not talking about merely “writing great content.”
Demonstrating value on your blog, through your writing, is different from other forms of writing with which lawyers are familiar. In addition to providing content of substantive value (with which many lawyers have no problem), there is a need to structure your blog posts in a conversational or “citation-worthy” way.
The G.Y.I. System
Without further ado, I humbly present the G.Y.I. System for successful legal blogging:
G – Go find Sources.
Before you write word one, identify sources that have written about your topic. Look for news sources (both local and national). Look for bloggers, they are the most “citation-friendly” folks on the web. Use reliable informational resources like government websites.
Once you have identified these sources, use them in your post with proper link citation back to the source.
Y – Your writing counts.
As I have said before, I’m not one who subscribes to the “if you blog it, they will come” mantra. The quality of your writing counts. Demonstrate value through your writing. Show readers through your words that you are knowledgeable on the topic.
There is no question that writing is a skill. Like all skills, writing is part talent and part work. Don’t be discouraged if you are not confident in your writing abilities. Stick with what you know, which, hopefully, is knowledge of the subject about which you are writing.
I – Invite engagement.
Be conversational in your writing. You’re not writing a brief. You’re not writing seminar materials. Think more conversation over lunch and less treatise. Encourage your readers to comment on and cite your writing. Publicize your content throughout your social media circles, like our LinkedIn group. Connect with legal content publishers like Legal Blog Watch and Lex Monitor. Invite guest bloggers!
Let your readers know that you value your readership and its participation on your blog.
While blogging success doesn’t happen overnight, your commitment to building an authoritative blog will pay huge dividends in terms of Internet visibility, your professional reputation, and ultimately more business.