Blogging can be an effective tool to boost your credibility and your visibility. If you are considering starting a blog, here are some things to keep in mind.
Reasons to Blog
Many law firms have cold, impersonal websites. They may publish occasional articles, but while they may inform, they do nothing to forge a personal connection with potential clients. As a result, most clients call a lawyer who is a stranger, and with trepidation.
A blog is an effective way to connect with potential clients so they feel like they know you before they contact you for representation. Half your work is already done, because the client already knows you, believes you are an expert, and trusts you to care about their situation.
Blogging, as opposed to engaging on social media, also gives you platform control. Facebook and other media services are able to (and often do) change their terms of service, privacy and viewing options, or shuts down accounts. When you blog, you host your blog on a provider of your choosing and control its content, look and feel, navigation, accessibility, and visibility.
Blogging is an ideal tool for new lawyers and for firms looking to promote themselves without spending money on advertising. The cost of keeping a blog running is relatively small each month, and the startup costs are near zero.
You should not blog if you think a blog will act as a direct marketing tool. Blogs are awful direct marketing tools, actually. Expecting people to find your blog and call you is like the Atlantic Monthly writing about current events because it wants to sell consulting services to politicians. It’s like a journalist expecting orders for donuts after publishing an article about the stock price of Dunkin Donuts. Or like people trying to hire the LA Times to handle their murder defense because it covered the OJ Simpson trial. The direct result of publishing a blog is readers, not clients.
Most people who visit your blog aren’t looking to hire a lawyer—at least not at that moment. They are looking for information, or maybe entertainment. Occasionally, they may need a lawyer but not realize it. Thinly-veiled sales pitches will not get very many of these people to contact you.
How to Blog Well
Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. In other words, it requires careful planning and commitment. You’ll need to regularly make time for blogging and be dedicated to providing fresh content. If you’re not prepared to add something to your blog at least once per week—and that’s fairly low by blogging standards—then don’t do it. If someone is a casual reader of your blog and they stop in a few times and see nothing new, they’ll stop reading. If someone new happens across your blog and sees you haven’t updated it in months, they’ll never come back.
Just as you wouldn’t want a website visitor to see that you have dead links on your firm page, or you forgot to update your email address, you don’t want them to find a document you haven’t paid attention to in months. It just doesn’t speak well of your commitment to things, which is the last impression you’d like to give a client.
Develop Ideas and Store Them
In order to blog well, you need a storehouse of ideas to draw from. Given that inspiration for a post can strike at any time from any source, you’ll want to store those ideas somewhere until you have time to write. One way to do this is to use a note-capturing application such as Evernote or similar things like Google Keep.