Steve’s latest Slaw column, Death of Blogging? Not So Fast!, went up on Slaw yesterday. The inspiration for the column comes from Adrian Lurssen’s recent piece, Are We Heading to a Post-Blogging World?, in which Lurssen describes
“the growing trend of writers foregoing their own blogs to publish under branded media platforms such as the Huffington Post. He cites the presence of a built-in audience and the ability to piggyback on brand reputation as answers to the problems of “how to be read” – reasoning that “how to publish” has never been easier.”
Steve explains why it’s a mistake for lawyers to rely solely on these platforms to build online profile, especially at the cost of self-publishing.
“Obviously, getting your content in front of target audiences is a boon, but that doesn’t have to mean the death of self-publishing. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Self-publish on your own blog first; then look to expand your publishing efforts elsewhere. Outsourcing your web presence entirely to third-party websites is a dangerous game.”
Similarly, as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter continue to refine their offerings, there have been musings that these sites could eventually replace firm websites and specifically, lawyer bios. For example, see Will LinkedIn Revolutionize Law Firm Publishing?, in which Molly Porter says LinkedIn’s new blogging feature looks like a game changer:
“Suddenly, all our blessed and branded publishing channels – blogs, microsites, the firm website and email alerts, especially – are competing with a site that has 175 million users, and on which every one of our lawyers probably already had a presence.
If a lawyer wants to publish content – and getting it done via marketing isn’t lightening fast and easy peasy – which do you think he or she is going to choose? What’s better – seamlessly delivering your thoughts to an audience of 500 qualified readers that you know personally, or following established firm protocol and procedure which can be byzantine and bureaucratic? One of these options looks like an easy button to me.”
Porter’s got a point. If lawyers encounter even the slightest bit of pushback or delay while collaborating with marketing departments, then they may well take matters into their own hands – and can you blame them?
But one thing is clear: no matter which social network is the darling of the day, the lawyer professional biography is the one aspect of online reputation that’s absolutely critical, and a couple of things in that vein caught my eye lately.
Kevin O’Keefe wonders if law firms will even be able to keep up with LinkedIn’s ever-evolving profiles, saying
“It’s hard enough for law firms to get their lawyers to acknowledge the value of LinkedIn, let alone to get lawyers to complete their profiles and use LinkedIn for networking.”
Citing Molly Porter’s post, Robert Algeri at the Great Jakes blog says the law firm website isn’t going anywhere, in part because
“In the fractured universe of the web, where information about an attorney is scattered on dozens of sites like LinkedIn, JDSupra, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia, as well as throughout your firm’s website, there needs to be a “home-base.” The attorney bio is evolving to be that home-base – a repository of an attorney’s entire thought leadership, social media activity, and personal interests.”
And citing LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell’s recent survey of how international law firms use websites as part of their marketing strategy, Larry Bodine reveals that
“When asked about the most popular content on their website, lawyer biographies are the most visited pages (85% of respondents)”.
This has certainly been our experience at Stem, too. Lawyer biographies get the majority of traffic on most firm websites we work on. Which makes sense, since law is a people business! But even though it’s common knowledge (and common sense) that lawyer bios are really important, many are still reluctant to devote much time and effort to them. That’s a shame, because believe it or not, it can actually be a fun process. Helping lawyers re-write their bios is one of the most interesting and satisfying things I do in this job.
If you’re in a need of some guidance on how to craft a great bio, reading Jordan Furlong’s post Where’s Your Fingerprint? Making Your Online Profile Unique, Lee Rosen’s Can You Be Too Professional For Your Clients? and Make One Change to Your Bio, and Adrian Dayton’s What’s Wrong with Your Law Firm Bio? would be a great start.