Table of Contents of this Article:
4 Reasons Legal Blogs Die And 5 Ways To Succeed
By Jay Fleischman
Much has been made about this blogging thing as a sure-fire online legal marketing tool. A variety of my colleagues blog as part of their online legal marketing efforts. for my own part, I am a co-founder of the wildly popular Bankruptcy Law Network (as well as a variety of other blogs, including this one). Still, I am often asked why I do it and whether these efforts yield paying clients.
Here’s a clue: aside from my attorney referral network, I do no paid advertising at all for my law firm. My online legal marketing pays the bills and keep the office running.
And for my online legal marketing consulting services, I do ZERO paid advertising. All of my business comes as a result of my blogging.
I didn’t start out with this as an overt strategy, but it grew into one after I learned the benefits of what I was doing. Now I’m not only experimenting with content creation, I’m feeding myself with it. Proof is in the pudding, to continue the eating metaphor.
Over at Branding & Marketing, there was a terrific post about the use of blogs as not only a marketing tool but also as a means of networking (link removed because the blog apparently took down the article, which sucks). And though the article is no longer available, I can tell you that it spoke to the unique ability of content creation to enable people to connect.
This, of course, before the rise of such services as Twitter and Facebook. It shows how even then, using content creation as a means of connecting was a powerful thought in the minds of many.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of wonderful lawyers and technologists I never would have come to know in the absence of their blogs.
These relationships have resulted in a number of great ideas for my practices and business ventures, and the people I’ve come to know have helped me raise my game significantly. I can only hope that I have done the same in return.
4 Reasons Legal Blogs Die
A few weeks ago I was looking to compile a list of all the bankruptcy blogs I could find. I figured it should be a pretty simple task, what with legal blogging being all the rage and such (though it’s de rigeur in the rest of the online marketing world, we lawyers aren’t so much into the cutting edge).
So I did a search for bankruptcy blogs on Google and was surprised – no, shocked – to be confronted with a virtual graveyard of old, dead blogs just hanging around and taking up space. So I did a little research and found that the issue of dead blogs is a pretty big one. So much so, in fact, that WordPress.com numbers show that only about 22% of their registered blogs are active.
Wow – nearly 80% of all blogs are just dead properties. Crazy, huh?
Truth be known, I’m sure many of those blogs are of the, “I just ate a bowl of corn flakes and am watching my cat,” sort. Either that, or they’re spam blogs (which have a lifespan of about 32 seconds). But even if we cut those out, what are we looking at? 50% of all blogs are dead?
Whatever the number, this all made me wonder WHY so many blogs – particularly legal blogs – die. After all, legal blogs are marketing vehicles for viable businesses. They should stick around forever …. right?
Some time ago, Lorelle did a post on when to stop blogging (by the way – if you don’t know who Lorelle is, shame on you. She has forgotten more about blogging than most of us will ever learn. Her posts are smart, well-informed, and helpful. Read her site. Now. Well, after you’re done read this post). And from that I’ve culled my list of reasons:
Now, Now, Now! We’re all impatient, and we want results immediately. Someone sold us on the notion that all advertising pays off right now, and we’re all bent out of shape that blogging for a week doesn’t result in a flood of new multi-million dollar clients.
The Empty Brain. I have no idea what the heck I’m supposed to say here. I’ve repeated the same 4 things I said on my website. I guess there’s nothing left to say, so I’ll just stop.
Too Full For A Doggy Bag. I blogged for a few days because my phone wasn’t ringing that week. My phone started ringing, and now I’m just too darn busy for this foolishness. Maybe I’ll go back to it if the phone stops ringing again. Probably not.
Shiny Objects Get Dull. I read something that talked about how blogging was an excellent way to market my law practice. I hired a designer to make a really cool legal blog for me, and I hit it hard for awhile. But then I discovered Facebook, and I’m spending all of my time there. It really seems as if blogging is dead, just like the pundits say.
To Avoid Blog Death
Realize This Is Not A Short-Term Fix. Blogging is all about making connections and establishing a long-term rapport with your audience. In doing so, you establish your value in the legal market by virtue of the content you’re putting out there. As much as we’d like it to be otherwise, you can’t create trust and rapport in a day. Nor, for that matter, in a month. It’s going to take some time to build a blog, so get used to it.
Create A Content Marketing Strategy. Blogging involves the regular creation of new, unique and creative content – words on electronic paper. Take some time to map out what you want to say, and when you want to say it. My blogging calendar contains about 6 months worth of posts (that goes for this blog, as well as for Untethered Lawyer and my bankruptcy blogs), and I find it to be very liberating.
Set Aside An Hour Twice A Week. By scheduling an hour to do a blog post, and setting that time aside twice a week, you’re sure to get at least two posts out the door in a 7-day period. Once you get comfortable with blogging you’ll find you can knock one out in about 30 minutes.
Read More Than You Write. When you read the news and other blogs, you gain knowledge as well as ideas on what to write about. Whether it’s a listserv, another blog, or the newspaper – there’s a ton of information out there for you to use and comment on.
Remember To Have Fun. You’re blogging, not writing for the Pulitzer Prize. If you see a funny YouTube video, use it on your blog. Share a story about yourself, even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. Why? Because if you’re looking to establish a relationship with your readers (and you are) it’s more likely to happen if they know something about you as a person rather than as just another lawyer. Show your humanity, have some fun, and laugh. Your enjoyment will show through, and your readers will be infected with it.