Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Video, Video, Video

July 5, 2010

Technology is making video easier and easier and cheaper and cheaper.  Even solo practitioners are going to be able to easily provide custom video from their website and its going to tell powerful stories.  Here are is a link to some developing options in the video world.

Beware of the SEO trap

July 4, 2010

Kevin O’Keefe posts insightfully about the dangers of blogging merely for SEO (making yourself highly visible in search results for relevant topics).  One of the points he makes is that when lawyers blog for SEO, they trash their reputation.  Don’t simply repost and plagiarized , rely on SEO tricks of seeding your crappy content everywhere so your blog is highly visible because guess what?

If you have nothing to say and everybody knows it, this won’t help you get quality work.  But you ask, how will I have time to regularly create quality posts and have a practice and a life?

Think of blogging as a participating in a conversation.  You pick an issue or range of issues to write about.  You read what other people have to say about these topics, you scan the current news, you rely on your pre-existing database of writings on the topic and you converse. When we talk we shouldn’t go on and on about a topic, preventing other people to get in a word.  Instead we make a couple provocative statements or share an insight and we wait for someone else to response.  Then we respond to that comment and so forth. That’s blogging – its creating a conversation and participating in a community, adding your voice to mix.

Law firm blogs: give them distinctive voices

June 25, 2010

Here is a long post on law firm blogging which is worth reading.  I think its more focused on larger firms but one thing resonated strongly with me:

Let your people go. The one thing about law firm blogs in 2010 that has most pleasantly surprised me is the emergence of lawyers’ true voices and personalities in their blogs.”

This is good news indeed.  For too long, too many attorney blogs were four line titles and boring legalese that did nothing but re-enforce existing stereotypes of lawyers.  If you are going to blog make sure you are tapping into something authentic, something you care about.

If the content of your practice isn’t what gets you up in the morning but instead its the excitement of working with your team to solve client problems, then make that the subject of your blog.  Blogs are like the camera: they reveal the truth.   A boring blog means that you aren’t being honest about your passions.

#1 blogging issue: not posting regularly

June 8, 2010

Here is a good article from Kevin O’Keefe looking at a Wisconsin Law Journal article on lawyers who have stopped posting regularly to their blogs. It’s good because it seriously examines the motivations of the lawyers involved and gives complex reasons for why they have changed or stopped postings.  One of the lawyers stopped because his blog was too successful!

However, I submit that if your blog doesn’t reflect your interests, you won’t stay with it.  You should blog not because its good for business development or because it makes you more visible on the web but because you enjoy learning about a subject and sharing that knowledge.  In addition, you should be ready to keep learning from your visitors and incorporate their information into your blog as well.

I purposely don’t say that you should blog as a domain expert.  That can be part of why people read your blog but blogging is about “now,”  – new developments and issues.  You can use your expertise to add weight, context and perspective on a topic but you further a discussion by blogging not by lecturing from on high.   If that’s what you want to do then write a journal article or give CLE presentation and leave blogging to the eternally curious.

In-house counsel pay attention to lawyer blogs

May 28, 2010

According to this study, 43% of in-house counsel turn to blogs as a primary source for news (really?).  More importantly, 27% consider lawyer blogs important to their decision to hire outside counsel.

I’m always dubious of these kinds of studies but it makes sense particularly if the blog is related to the subject matter for which in-house counsel would consider hiring counsel.  To be fair, blogs ranked the lowest among the factors in-house counsel consider when hiring.  Bios on websites out-ranked blogs in importance.

Google likes websites with blogs

May 24, 2010

There is a debate whether to include your blog within your website or to set up with a separate URL.  Here is an article that makes a strong case for including your blog within your website.  Most of the argument in favor is based on the fact that with a typical small business website, you have ten to twenty pages of static content – much of it unchanged over time.  With a blog you can double that content within a few weeks and it is continually fresh content as well.

To be fair, the article doesn’t address whether it makes more sense to have a separate blog URL or not but it does suggest that the critical issue in terms of Google visibility, is having a blog for your business.

Attorneys do the stupidest things

May 22, 2010

I missed this one when it happened but it’s too good not share.  Have you heard the one about the lawyer who served on a jury and blogged about the case? To top it off, he  said the judge was, “a stern, attentive woman with thin red hair and long, spidery fingers that as a grandkid you probably wouldn’t want snapped at you”

Also, the lawyer didn’t disclose he was a lawyer to the court and claimed not to have heard that wasn’t suppose to blog about the case. 45 days legal license suspension.

No time from blogging – really?

April 19, 2010

Kevin O’Keefe tackles the issue that lawyers frequently bring to him about not having the “time” to blog and he bluntly says its, “bunk.”  Like when someone says they can’t “afford” to purchase something what they are often saying is that its not a priority.  That’s fine.  Be honest with yourself and say that if you have the chance to go to that bar association mixer or spend an hour this week blogging, you’d rather go have a drink with your buddies and trade war stories.

Blogging is a risk.  There is no guarantee what, when and how it will produce business for you.  But it here are some of the upsides:

  • Gives you a voice to your clients and prospective clients that differentiates you from most other attorneys competing for the same clients.
  • Makes you more visible on the Internet for your area(s) of expertise.
  • Provides fuel for you a social networking campaign that allows you to disseminate your content across outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and the like.
  • Allows you to become a thought leader in your area of expertise, someone who people will call on to speak out on a topic.

Downside?  Maybe you will spend as Mr. O’Keefe says, 4-6 hours a month.  1 hour a week  or 20 minutes three days a week.  Not a enough time – really?

Kill-the-judges blogger gets mistrial

March 13, 2010

Hal Turner who blogs at turnerradionetwork.blogspot.com was on trial for stating that the three judges of 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals should be “killed” for allowing a Chicago handgun ban in June to continue.

Mr. Turner argued that he was an FBI informant paid to disseminate right wing hate speech and it appears this was enough to get him off with a 2nd mistrial.  The Department of Justice said they were unlikely to pursue a third trial.

Did Findlaw cross the line with blog post?

January 23, 2010

Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog  thinks Findlaw is exploiting the death of a child to advertise legal service.  Read the offending post here on The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog.  His claim is that the blog exploits the victim providing little valuable legal commentary and provides a call to action to contact specific attorneys.

Here’s my devil’s advocates position:

1.  The claim that the post adds little content beyond the local story.  The additional content includes four paragraphs.  Besides the questions the blogger poses which Mr. Turkewitz mocks, the blogger includes a section from a relevant statute and interprets what it says.  While Mr. Turkewitz might find this information banal, the target audience of this blog is ostensibly consumers.  They may not have considered these questions or the relevant code section.  If this information is wrong or misleading, then that’s a different and significant problem but I’m not in any position to assess that.

2.  Call to action.  The blogger simply says, “could discuss the possible personal injury case with a PA personal injury attorney.”  This statement is neither specific to any attorney(s) not is it touting the value of doing so.  The blogger doesn’t say this will “improve your chances of winning in court” by contacting these attorneys.  The link is to the Findlaw legal directory and contains a list of 60 attorneys for a consumer to choose from.  Does the link help Findlaw help drive relevant traffic to these attorneys websites?  Yes.  Is the link advertising the quality of these attorneys?  No.

While I can see that the potential for this activity to exploit the misery of victims, I can also see that the blog post provides valuable information to consumers both about what issues and laws are involved in a hit and run accident.  It also  links  to a directory of attorney websites they can check out for themselves.  I think its over-stating the case to call this exploitation.  For me, if the blogger just linked the hit and run story and then plugged a specific lawyer praising the ability to handle such cases, that would be exploitive.

Mr. Turkewitz ends his post with the following: “The only way for FindLaw’s clients to preserve their reputations appears to be to ship out, because it doesn’t appear that FindLaw will shape up.”

Findlaw is owned by Thomson Reuters which reported revenue of  $11 billion last year and they own Westlaw, West Publishing, Hubbard One and Hildebrandt just to name a few companies in their legal services division.  I would be surprised if Mr. Turkewitz doesn’t pay Thomson Reuters for casebooks or Westlaw and I wonder if he thinks there is a bright line that separates Findlaw from the company that owns and controls Findlaw, the exploiter of dead children ?

Frankly, I am more upset about Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier (owner of Lexis/Nexis) and their control of legal information services and how that chills competition, than I am about this blog post.