Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Blogging Tips:Find a Niche & Content Stream

March 29, 2011

Adrian Dayton frequently writes about how attorneys can better use social media and this article provides useful tips in getting started.  I would add a couple things to his list of five.

Be Aspirational: think of an aspect of the law that excites you.  Could be something you want learn more about  or something that’s an area expertise but which isn’t the core of your legal practice.  Use that as a blog springboard.

Collect blogs and news sources of interest: Use Google alerts and iGoogle to capture information and resources.  Use those an inspiration for blogging.  It will help you to “have” ideas more frequently.

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No Bloggers in a Room of Attorneys

January 20, 2011

Last night I gave a presentation at the Alameda County Bar Association’s MCLE day about social networking for attorneys and professional ethics.  Before I launched into my presentation, I did what I always do and surveyed the room as to what attorneys were doing on social media.  The audience included about thirty five attorneys with an average age of probably fifty and mostly solos or members of small law firms.

More than fifty percent of the attorneys have LinkedIn profiles, only a couple of the attorneys used Facebook for business and there was one Twitterer.  No bloggers.

Blogging a Differentiator for Lawyers

I don’t believe you have truly engaged in social networking unless you are blogging because without a blog, there is no content stream.  And very few attorneys are blogging which makes this a great opportunity for lawyers to make a name for themselves.

Lawyer Website – Publish or Perish?

January 11, 2011

Here is an ABA article that supports the contention of DSD Law Sites Solutions that lawyers need to look at their websites as publishing engines not as static brochures.  Dion and Robert Algeri in their “Great Jakes Blog” provide a number of compelling reasons for this shift. Chief among them is that content creates engagement between lawyer and client.  They cite a study by The Brand Research Company that 53% of executives look at the quality of the content on an attorney’s or law firm’s website.

Another powerful reason

If you create a blog for your content and post your content on WordPress, you can easily track through Google analytics topics of the greatest interest to your audience.  This is because WordPress will modify the title of your blog post to create a URL for your post. If you have set up Google analytics (which is free) on your blog or website with a blog you will be able to track which titles are the most popular. This will help you to craft more content that further develops the topics that have already proven popular and will tighten the relationship between your audience and your website/blog.

Quality Content Helps Your SEO

December 20, 2010

We are passing through the time where loading a blog with content filled with keywords and little else will help your search result standings.  As this Nolo blog post states, Google has changed its ranking algorithm to focus on quality rather than merely quantity. 

How Does This Impacts Lawyers?

If you have a blog called, “Personal Injury San Jose” and feature posts about recent car crashes with a boiler plate paragraph at the bottom about why you should contact an attorney immediately if you are the victim of such an accident, then this is bad news.  However, if you provide quality articles about how people can work with their car insurance adjusters and ways they can protect themselves through how they purchase their insurance, then you probably are helped by these rules.  Google is looking to promote content which contains professional and technical expertise rather than that which is merely saturated with keywords.

Tips for Attorneys to Keep Blogging

December 4, 2010

Adrian Dayton, an attorney who helps other attorneys with online marketing, writes in this article about the difficulty for attorneys to blog.  As extremely busy professionals, they put their clients interests first – that’s what they should do but that means that their blogs often become stale and dusty which defeats the whole purpose.

Keep a calendar

Mr. Dayton mentions the importance of having a calendar with which I agree.  And if attorneys are blogging on the WordPress platform, there is a calendar plug-in available for free that integrates the calendar into the blog so that you can create a pipeline of blog posts and schedule them out into the future.

What is the minimum number of posts a month?

I get this question a lot.   I would argue that if you schedule one blog posts a month for a year, that’s better than writing five posts in the first week, two in the second week, none for the rest of the month and then writing five more posts spread out sporadically over the rest of year.  Readers will give up on you if they have no idea when or worse, IF you will blog again.   If you can post a blog entry at least once a week, that’s even better.  I blog daily and while that is more than an attorney who isn’t promoting blogging can manage, it does make me highly visible on Google results.

Blogs that Repurpose Accident News Articles

November 1, 2010

Kevin O’Keefe rails against this blog post which appears in the Maine Injury Blog published by Peter Thompson & Associates.  O’Keefe’s argument as to why this is an exploitative posting is that it uses the death of an 18-year-old in a car accident in order to promote the law firm which authors the blog.  He points out in particular the use of the teen’s name as egregious behavior.  I think that Mr. O’Keefe is shining a light on an important question – how should lawyers blog about highly sensitive matters?

Devil’s advocate

I blogged about this issue in earlier this year about a similar blog post. In both examples the claim was made that the lawyer’s was simply re-posting an article in order to increase his visibility in search results.  To be fair to the criticized lawyer, many of his blog posts contain original content.  That said, I have no problem with Kevin O’Keefe  pointing out this blog post as insensitive and as an example of an underwritten blog post.  On those counts, I agree.  Where I have a problem is the tone of this paragraph:

“I wonder how this recent high school grad’s parents feel about what you’re doing Pete. But what do you care? You’re just a personal injury lawyer out to make a buck.”

Does Mr. O’Keefe a personal relationship with Mr. Thompson?  Why couldn’t Mr. O’Keefe have responded privately to Mr. Thompson on his contact page to communicate his strong feelings?

Added to that, Mr. O’Keefe works with attorneys on their blogs for profit.  I do that also as does Justia the company that assists Mr. Thompson with his blog.    Here is Mr. O’Keefe providing his motivation for calling out Mr. Thompson.

“I don’t share this to impress you, but to impress upon you that there is a better way to obtain work as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. And that it’s well within your reach. As a lawyer — and as legal website and blog solution provider…We’ll not have blogs like the above personal injury law blogs on The LexBlog Network.”

I don’t assign a cynical motivation to Mr. O’Keefe for bringing this blog example to his readers.  I have no doubt he was genuinely outraged by reading this blog post.  However, it just so happens that his outrage complements his commercial interest which is to educate lawyers on the value of developing quality blogs which happens to be what Mr. O’Keefe and his company provides.

Constructive Criticism – Not Moral Outrage

From an educational perspective, Mr. O’Keefe could point out an antitrust lawyer who re-posts a news story about a price-fixing case and then includes a blurb promoting his practice and why that’s not an effective way to blog.  That attorney and Mr. Thompson could argue that one of the values of blogging is having someone who is watching the news in a narrow niche and serving their readership by saying, “hey read this.”

Is Shaming Productive?

Impugning the credibility of a professional only increases defensiveness and makes it harder to educate and inform.   Blogging is still new and the rules aren’t exactly the same as those for professional journalism.  I would like to think the legal profession is still learning about how to best use this medium effectively and successfully.  I know that I am.

What do you think?

Blogging Your Way to SEO

September 14, 2010

John Jantsch in Duct Tape Marketing gives 7 ways to acquire links to your site and improve your SEO.  Here is what he has to say about the power of blogging,

“Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.”

Kevin O’Keefe picks up on this and reminds us that, “Though I don’t believe high search rankings should be the leading reason for publishing a law blog, your publishing a blog may be your single best way of achieving high search engine rankings as a lawyer or law firm.”

Not mutually exclusive

If you write a strong blog for your niche, then searches for topics will show up prominently in Google search results.

In-house counsel looking to blogs to pick counsel

September 12, 2010

A recent survey showed that blogs published by lawyers ranked fourth among the top eight criteria in-house counsel use to pick outside attorneys.  While this is certainly a powerful argument for the importance of lawyers’ blogging, there is another way to think about this that is even more powerful.

73% of use recommendations from trusted people.

This makes sense.  If the trusted person also says, “and this attorney writes a blog on legal issues relevant to your company,” I’ll bet that increases the trust level.  If the trusted person forwards the blog URL, this allows the in-house counsel to see for him or herself the quality of the lawyer’s writing, thinking and what the lawyer interests are.

Blogging Litigation – Don’t be scared

August 23, 2010

The media is picking up on a new trend involving litigation involving blogging.  Note the deceptive headline for this Wall Street Journal Law Blog post, “Blogging a Hotbed of litigation.”

Hotbed – Really?

The article points out a few lawsuits involving comments, websites and bloggers.   The article cites no example of an identifiable blogger who wrote an opinion about an issue or person in a responsible way (no name-calling, curse words, or threatening or harassing language) that has been sued.  Instead they are focused on the extremes – anonymous commenters, threatening or derogatory language and the like.

There are millions of bloggers posting millions of posts a day and these few examples constitute a hotbed?

Takeaway

If you are blogging professionally as a lawyer use the same level of common sense and restraint that you would use for all business communications.   Remember, not only will this help you avoid lawsuits but it also makes your blogging more credible and trustworthy and that is the most important thing.

The 15 Minute Blog Post

July 29, 2010

Social Media Examiner does it again with a great post about how to create short and powerful blog posts.

The best tip is how to break down a topic into its component parts and create individual blog posts on each of these aspects.  For example, if you are going to write about the five steps to getting your business on Twitter, they show you how to stretch those steps over the course of five posts.

Another great tip is creating a bank of eye catching headlines so that you can focus on the writing and focus your writing on the kind of thing blogs do best.  I have heard attorneys say that no one will read my blog.  And that is probably true if you have a four line headline followed by two thousands words arranged into three paragraph.  This might be great content to re-purpose for an article but as a blog post, it won’t get read.

Having your cake and eat too

One approach is to write the catchy headline and a couple lines of teaser text and have a “click more” link.  That way people have a chance to engage with your blog and can engage further on topics that matter to them.  But make sure your headline and initial text is attention grabbing or just post the entire article because you will create more work for the user who just wants your meaty content.