Archive for December, 2009

Retired legal blogger talks about blogging

December 22, 2009

Mark Herrmann, who recently left Jones Day for Aon and also retired from his blog, Drug and Device blog, has left us with great insights into the blogging experience.  

Here is my take-aways:

1.  You don’t need a fancy blog platform to be a successful blogger.  Their blog name and look and feel is amatuerish at best.  Yet the blog was highly influential because Herrmann and his partner used their expertise in a specific field to say interesting things in an engaging way.

2.  Have a routine: Mark Herrman describes how he used his weekend to make sure he had a post every week.  He anticipated that litigation would take him away from blogging during the week so he fit blogging into his Sunday morning.

3.  Don’t expect great financial benefits from blogging per se.  Blogging is excellent marketing: it establishes credibility, visibility and differentiation but it’s unlikely to make your phone ring.

Will 2010 be the year big law crashes?

December 22, 2009

Susan Liebel Carter who founded the Solo Practitioner University has written:

“Opportunity is everywhere because today lawyers have the tools they never did before to go small firm or solo and actively compete with the big boys both in quality and demographic reach. The economy is deconstructing and reconstructing. The clients don’t want ‘business as usual.’ The clients want something more and it is why we are ripe for massive change during this economy turmoil. Some may call it the perfect storm. The internet is making almost every client a shrewd purchaser even with misinformation.”

See here from entire post.

Sure its hard work going out on your own as an attorney but at least you control your destiny in a way that isn’t possible as part of the Amlaw 200 crowd.

Separating your website from your blog

December 21, 2009

Kevin O’Keefe in this recent post claims that blogs don’t belong “inside” a law firm website.  What does this mean?  Does this mean that the blog shouldn’t share the same url as the website?  That it shouldn’t look from the outside world as if it is part of the law firm website?  That it should be hosted by a proprietary firm that offers a specialized blog platform?  And is this “rule” applicable to small firms which specialize in a specific niche and could use to drive traffic to their website by utilizing a blog?

Most of his ten reasons have to do with two issues:

1.  Making sure the blog has a unique name and URL because that will build the blog’s brand.  If its seen as “law firm blog,” it will not have as much credibility.  That’s as easy as a re-direct URL and doesn’t require hosting a blog on a different platform. 

2. That the blog needs a unique look and feel from the website.  That can also be done from “within” the law firm website.  See Shepard Mullin which has a “blog” page on its website that links out to the individually branded blogs.  Now LexBlog hosts these blogs but the law firm could create these blogs itself with unique URLs and names and host the blogs as well.

Its too bad that many of Kevin’s excellent point get mushed into the vague concern about blogs being “inside” a law firm website.

10 email scams to watch for

December 20, 2009

Here is the list.

Can I make just “one” suggestion?  If you don’t know who sent the email, assume its not worth reading.

Effective social networking by an attorney

December 19, 2009

David Wolf  asked to follow me on Twitter.  I went to his Twitter profile and was immediately impressed by a couple things: he had develop a clear, consistent practice niche that gives him credibility by focusing on child injury law and he keeps his followers current as to changes in that area of laws.

Next, when I agreed to follow him, he sent me a direct message which included a Facebook fan page with his recent updates on child injury law.  Unlike too many attorneys, his headlines are short, succinct and engaging.   He offers value to his readers not self promotion but because what he offers is valuable, he ends promoting his practice in the best possible ways by building trust, credibility and focus.

Friday freebies: social networking book

December 18, 2009

Been awhile since I’ve found a good freebie:

OPEN Book: A Practical Guide to Social Media

Privacy groups file complaint against Facebook

December 18, 2009

Privacy groups including the Electronic Privacy Information Center have filed a complaint with the FTC over Facebooks’ new privacy rules that make more “publicly available information” viewable without the user being able to control it.  They also point out the issue of making so much of a user’s information public to Facebook developers.

Here is the complaint.

50% of companies haven’t social media policy

December 17, 2009

This is according to to the report from two professional groups, the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

More and more articles are coming about social networking policies for employees.  None of them focus on empowering employees by training them in the risks and benefits of social networking.  If employees think of their engagement in social networking as a chance to show themselves off in a good light to further their employment opportunities, this would greatly help the cause of employers’ success in making sure employees keep within the confines of good social networking policies.

Employees can do more damage more quickly with social networking than with email or other communication policies so getting them on board is critical.

Facebook sues four guys for phishing & spaming

December 17, 2009

Facebook is suing these individuals in Northern District Court of California for allegedly phishing into Facebook accounts and sending spam.  Facebook claims these four are responsible for 75% of all spam on the site.

Publicizing Twitter account on professional bios?

December 16, 2009

This is the recommendation of one SEO company specializing in lawyer marketing.  They recommend attorneys include their Twitter accounts on all their print materials including business cards and the like as a way to increase the number of followers on Twitter.

Here are some of the reasons not to do it.

*Looks gimmicky, like you are trying new things for the sake of it.

*Twitter isn’t a utility, it’s a business and as one that’s profitability is questionable.  What if it crashes and burns three months after you plaster your Twitter account all over your collateral?

*How does listing your Twitter account on all your collateral assist in your overall marketing strategy?  If one of your goals is to gain visibility and creditability as an expert on a particular subject area, then it would make more sense to list a blog title that references your expertise.  Unless you’ve created a Twitter account to reflect your expertise, “CAUCCLawyer” then your Twitter account won’t advance your cause.  You also won’t advance your cause if you use to Twitter to vent about traffic snarls and your favorites hockey team. 

*Beware of SEO tactics like these that don’t take into account your overall marketing strategies.  You might be driving people to your site but if they don’t get a positive impression of your practice when they get there, you might be doing more harm than good.