These days, there’s a lot more to law firm management than simply running the day-to-day business of your law firm. There are IT issues to address, CLE requirements to stay on top of, and of course, there’s marketing your law firm. Because without clients, there’s no day-to-day business to run and law firm management won’t even come into play.
Unfortunately, marketing your law firm in the 21st century can oftentimes seem like an overwhelming prospect. After all, there are so many venues to choose from these days: print media, the Yellow Pages, television and radio commercials, billboards, and the many avenues of online advertising.
Of all the options, it’s the online advertising that can be the most confusing for lawyers since it’s a fairly new medium. And, there are so many choices: creating a website for your law firm, investing in Google or Facebook ads, participating on different social media sites, and blogging.
For many lawyers, the last option–blogging–is the least desirable since, at first blush, it appears to be the most time consuming alternative. But, when you use the right tools to help streamline the blogging process, it turns out that blogging can be a great way to market your law practice. This is because publishing a legal blog continues to be one of the best ways to create an effective online presence. Blogs help lawyers to stay on top of changes in their areas of practice while showcasing their legal expertise and increasing their law firm’s search engine optimization.
Starting a blog isn’t difficult. First, make sure that you enjoy the process of writing and choose a topic or topics about which you are passionate. Otherwise, the blogging process will be torturous for both you and your readers.
Next, determine your goals. Are you blogging to showcase your writing skills and your expertise, to meet and network with other lawyers, to attract media attention, to reach potential clients, to improve search engine optimization for your blog and/or website, or all of the above?
Now that you have set your goals, choose topics that interest you and that further your goals. Once you’ve done so, choose a blogging platform. Two popular options are WordPress (wordpress.org), a free and easy-to-use blogging platform or Typepad, which costs just $8.95 per month for a single blog.
Next you’ll need to locate content about which to write by using free online tools designed to help you do just that. Two of my favorite tools for discovering and tracking content are Feedly and Prismatic.
Feedly is a browser add-on (also available as a mobile app) that allows you to subscribe to blogs and news sites of interest to you. Using Feedly you can categorize your subscriptions and it also “learns” from your interactions with it and suggests additional relevant content.
Prismatic is a similar web and mobile app. It locates relevant content for you by crawling social networks and the web for content and then serves up content it deems most relevant to you based on your social networks, your chosen topics of interest and your past interaction with the program.
And, last but not least, download Zemanta, a browser add-on that is designed to supplement and assist bloggers. After you install the app, Zemanta provides you with a ton of useful data based on a contextual analysis of the text of your post, including images with understandable license details (obtained from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr and various stock photo providers) and related articles.
So, to recap, determine your goals, choose your topics and start writing–that’s all there is to it! Take advantage of these tools and start blogging on a regular basis. Then, periodically reassess to determine whether blogging is helping you to achieve your original goals. If not, as is the case with just about every aspect of law firm management, revise your strategy as you go.
Blogging isn’t a perfect marketing solution for every law firm, but it might just work for yours. You’ll never know until you give it a try. So why not start today?