It is truly meet, right and salutary to regularly examine the marketing effectiveness of blogging by lawyers. Blogging is a not inconsiderable investment of time and mental energy, and it usually takes a long time to produce meaningful results, so it should not be initiated or continued unquestioningly.
Despite anecdotal evidence from some established legal bloggers and purveyors of lawyer blog services, there is not enough hard data on the effectiveness of blogging to support a general rule that all lawyers should have their own blog.
To its credit, the American Bar Association recently conducted a survey on the way individuals search for lawyers for personal legal matters. The survey found that only 15 percent of respondents indicated that they would consult lawyer blogs in making their decision. Most of the resulting commentary by legal blogging heavyweights focused on tearing down the survey methodology, and theorizing a case for blogging as an engine for positive word of mouth and its validation. But that discussion missed the much larger point.
As Adrian Dayton pointed out:
“The important piece of data here is that a significant percentage of of your average…clients are using Facebook, Twitter and blogs to find their lawyer. Not to mention that fact that referrals are often requested and passed via these very same social networks.”
Words of Comfort and Support for Legal Blogging Pragmatists and Skeptics
- Trust your gut. If you lack confidence, you will lack commitment; if you lack commitment, you will not succeed in blogging.
- Focus on content first, then distribution channels. A well-designed, regularly updated website can be as, or more, effective than a blog. If you’re more proficient and comfortable with writing analytical long-form pieces — which are deadly in blogs — white papers and e-books available through your website or sites like JD Supra can be effective alternatives.
- Twitter is turbo-blogging. Because it is a short-form, conversational medium, you can cultivate a meaningful following and form productive, reciprocal relationships faster and with less effort than blogging.
- Make your mark in video. There are lots of blogs out there, but not so many video channels. If you are inclined to buy search terms, hot keywords are still plentifully available and affordable on YouTube.