Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to get into the specifics of four different tactics of taking publishing beyond the firm website. As discussed last week, publishing in a variety of online locations can benefit both content distribution and search engine exposure, but it’s important to find the right fit for each lawyer. In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of blogging.
Blogging for Lawyers
Blogging may seem kind of old school these days, but underestimating its importance would be a mistake. In many cases, it remains the dominant tool for lawyers to drive their personal profile; with notable examples in almost every major market, these personal and professional online journals have developed a reputation for being a bit of a celebrity maker.
As a platform, we should admire blogging for its marketing flexibility. You can never write enough blog posts; nor is there an “overkill” level by posting too much commentary. Blogging also puts lawyers in the captain’s chair, driving their own publication. This position — the Editor in Chief, if you will — is important! It’s important because this is a trusted role, and whether firms treat it that way (or abuse it) really says something about the firm.
Once we add in the interface tools for today’s major social networks, blogging remains no less relevant to exposing lawyer commentary. In fact, I would argue that the value of “a good blog” may be even greater now than it was five years ago. Why? More engagement. Search and blog-to-blog engagement haven’t disappeared, and now we’ve added shares, likes, RTs and +1′s. Blogs aren’t as personal as they once were, but they are still an incredibly powerful publishing vehicle, providing a strong “home base” for commentary, regardless of orientation (business or personal) or authorship (individual or practice group).
Blogs also help increase resonation with current and prospective clients, and deliver amazing publishing depth to a subject’s coverage, giving this tool very strong SEO credentials. And while I don’t recommend blogging purely for search rankings, this topical depth is rarely matched on any other form of web commentary. This is what I often call having a “wide digital footprint”. And honestly, this depth of coverage and its ability to connect readers with the right information — that’s where the teamwork of blogs and SEO truly hits it out of the park!
Personal blog commentary can also be used for crafting an image of expertise, networking, and increased exposure. Blogging is the best tool for rapid expansion of a lawyer’s web presence. Regular posts will position a blogging lawyer for mainstream media quotes, more speaking opportunities, and referral network expansion.
Although finding a niche blog topic has become more difficult in recent years, there are still plenty of opportunities to go around.
So to summarize, here’s what I see as the major benefits of blogging in 2012:
- Demonstrated expertise;
- A driver of key industry relationships;
- Increased media exposure and requests for speaking engagements
- More spin-off writing & publishing opportunities (i.e., blog posts republished as magazine articles);
- A dominant presence in the search engines; and
- Behind-the-scenes exchanges with other experts, which increases one’s exposure to an industry’s leading strategies & tactics.
As a first step in expanding your firm’s content distribution network, this is a good one, but also one that requires a long-term commitment: writing new posts and responding to comments takes time, and so does reading and participating on other blogs. Starting a blog is not a decision to be taken lightly, but when approached with care and dedication, blogging can be a major boon to your profile-building efforts.
Next up in this series: social media.