By Will Cheek
The original version of this article appeared in the February 2014 issue of the Nashville Bar Journal.
Why Should I Blog?
Lawyering involves a delicate balance of too much to do and too little time to do it in. Work on your desk competes for limited personal time. Precious hours for downtime are quickly consumed. Sleep and relaxation suffer.
New wavers Devo covered a classic song that captures things well:
Workin in a coal mine
Goin down, down
Workin in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Lord I am so tired
How long can this go on?
Why blog? Here are four basic reasons:
- • New frontier
- • Education for client and referral base
- • Source of business
- • Appearances and expert
Although blogging has been around for more than a decade, attorneys in general have done a poor job exploiting blogging as a new communication tool. Many attorney blogs regurgitate the newsletter format, featuring detailed legal articles that are posted months apart. These posts often read like condensed law review articles.
In the internet age, the newsletter format does not work. Internet consumers are looking for quick, easy, entertaining and useful information. Posting lengthy lawyerly articles is not blogging.
There is plenty of room in cyberspace for real attorney blogs.
Education for Client and Referral Base
Folks frequently turn to the internet for information. People are in search of answers to all kinds of queries from the internet, including legal questions. Sadly, much of the information on the internet concerning legal advice is wrong. In addition, legal information on the internet is usually not tailored to a particular legal field or location, such as Tennessee or Nashville.
The fact that blogging is a new frontier for lawyers creates an opportunity for innovative attorneys to fill the void. If you follow some simple recommendations for blogging, your blog can easily become a destination for clients and referral sources – who want to regularly read informative posts about useful information.
This is your primary objective. Your blog should become a go-to source for education concerning your blog topic. Do not expect your readers to pick up every post; instead, you want readers to visit regularly enough for your blog to become a destination.
Source of Business
As a young associate, I did not understand the importance of being a rainmaker. I get it now. If you have a book of business, you get more respect from your law firm.
Although it takes time and patience, a good blog is an excellent source of business. My Last Call blog easily generates $50,000 to $100,000 in new business each year.
Perhaps more importantly, I often hear from repeat clients that have read a blog post. Blogging is a great way to remind existing clients that you are an expert and that you are around to help. My blog leads to new business from existing clients; for example, when I break news about a new legal issues that impact clients.
Becoming a trusted adviser to a client is one of the best ways to cement a long-term relationship with a client. Providing helpful information for free in a blog can pave the way for new relationships and strengthen bonds with existing clients.
Appearances and Expert
People tend to seek out professionals that have a reputation for being the best. Traditional methods of becoming known as the best lawyer are largely passé in the internet era. I am not a fan of this, but in my experience, your appearance in internet searches is critical to becoming a rain maker. An AV Martindale Hubbell rating is not as important as being on the first page of a Google search.
Blogging is an easy way to increase your visibility on the internet. If your name pops up in multiple searches on a legal topic, you can appear to be an expert on the topic.
Internet search engines like Google are basically a popularity contest. A good blog can help you place your name near the top of the list in Google searches.
There is only one word for being at the top of a Google search: Priceless.