An early adopter of blogging (and much else digital) plaintiff attorney Bill Marler of Marler Clark has achieved just about every professional objective he seemed to go after. Those seem to range from "owning" the foodborne-disease litigation market to having an international brand. Regarding the latter, the last I jawed with Marler, he was teaching law in Asia.
Marler is atypical. Most legal blogging is yielding no ROI (return on investment). That's primarily because lawyers and the supposed social media experts assisting them don't understand one thing: Blogging is a multi-purpose tool. Unless it's approached and leveraged like other multi-purpose professional tools you are doing it all wrong. And, it's not worth doing.
Common multi-purpose professional tools include:
- Reading industry material
- The Favor Bank (Making more deposits than withdrawals to keep the influencers in debt to you)
- Interviews with media, being quoted by media
- Delivering talks, participating in panels
- Sponsoring briefing seminars
- Pro-bono work
- Being there. There is now everywhere with everyone through every medium. Research shows the power of "weak ties" to bring in business, get jobs. The deli clerk in your building knows more about prospects than you do.
So, what are the some of the myriad ways you should be using your blogging? Here are the Seven Blogging Habits of Successful Lawyers.
Positioning and packaging the blog as a public service. Marler's signature in blogging (and later in Congressional testimony) has been: Put me out of business. His blogging mission is to educate diverse constituencies. They might be consumers. They might be regulators. They might be retailers.
Using the metrics for insight into shifts in social media. If traffic skyrockets when you provide substantive material about X, then you recognize that is what Google is rewarding. The understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) has broadened from keywords and their density to the uniqueness of content. Here is a primer on that.
Opening site to guest interviews and bylined pieces. In itself that can boost traffic exponentially. The guests bring their network to your site and they might return as regular readers. In addition, that sends the message that you are well-connected. Popular hang-outs attract interest.
Extend exposure through other social media, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, et al. and establishment media such as opinion-editorials in The Wall Street Journal. No one post should be used in just one way. That's a horrific waste of your resources.
Be contrarian. Almost half of the TED Talks which resonate take a contrarian point of view. If everyone is declaring that insurance companies have to invest more in compliance, you argue how they should and could invest less and show how that is done.
Be nice. We humans affect each other cell by cell. That's been proven by the mirror neuron researchers in Italy. The tone of the blog should be that of a nice professional. No one wants to put up with the smartest kid in the room.
I am convinced that John Tarantino, representing ARCO, got his client acquitted by the jury in the Rhode Island lead paint litigation because he came across as a nice person. Of the four lawyers he was the only local one. He understood the blue-collar jurors. They are real people. In turn they look to connect with other real people.
Shift down when stale. Like everyone else, you have off days, maybe off months. Go lower profile on your blogging. You might even provide a cover story for reduced posting such as being preoccupied with a complex case. Readers remember your off-times, not your homeruns.
Since 2005, blogging has been a critical multi-purpose tool in my new-business development, growth as a communicator, and healing from the whatevers of a turbulent economy. Here and here are my other two syndicated blogs.