Part IV in a continuing series on improving your firm’s website
Part I: 7 Tips to Improve Your Bio Page
Part II: 5 Best Practices for your Practice Areas
Part III: Video is a Game Changer
Part IV: 4 Reasons You Should Blog
Part V: 3 Videos You Need to Have
Part VI: 4 Reasons to Ignore SEO
Part VII: 4 Steps to Know (and Track) Your Audience
Obviously, I like blogs. I would think that it would be quite difficult to go out and actually find blog posts by writers who were anti-blogging. So, no surprise then that I would endorse the idea of adding a blog to your firm website. Now that we’ve gotten past my obvious bias on the issue, let me tell you why I’m right.
You’ve taken all the advice that I’ve given you so far. Your website is sleek and elegant, with the right types of pages, the right type of language, and all of it backed up by interesting and engaging videos. Time to rest on your laurels? I think not! In today’s world, your online marketing presence requires engagement and must be constantly updated. One of the best ways to make sure that happens is to include a blog as a part of your firm’s website.
Skeptical? Here are 4 Reasons You Should Blog on your firm’s website:
1) Blog posts allow personal engagement not available through a bio page.
Relationships are what set one attorney apart from the rest when a client is looking for representation. A client is likely to choose someone they feel like they know, can trust, and who empathizes with their problems. What steps are you taking on your firm website to make sure that YOU are the attorney they feel that they know?
Tina Emerson, marketing director at Rogers Townsend & Thomas, PC in Columbia, S.C. puts it very well: “A website bio, while important, merely communicates who you are, gives a brief description of what you do and tells the user how to reach you. A blog adds depth in a way a website cannot.”
Blogging offers attorneys in a firm to participate in, or start, a conversation about a legal topic. Prospective clients who are able to read several blog posts by one of your firm’s attorney will be able to have a better feel for that attorney’s style, and will likely feel like they know the attorney on a more personal level. A bio page might give prospective clients a nice list of an attorney’s practice areas. But blogging about areas of expertise gives the attorney the ability to demonstrate that expertise. The best way to show a client what you’re capable of is through your legal work, but that’s not available if they’re not your client yet. Blogging gives attorneys a unique way to establish credibility with prospective clients.
2) Blog entries offer an engaging way to draw readers to your firm’s website and improve search engine rankings.
You’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating your firm’s website. It provides the best information available, and it’s all designed to take advantage of every scientific study about behavioral responses to advertising.
Now, you just need people to come to your site to see it.
Adding a blog to your site, and making sure that it’s updated regularly, is a phenomenal way to drive traffic to your site. A recent study of law firms in 20 major markets found that of the top 3 firms that appeared in search engine results, 87% of the sites contained more than 100 pages of content. By including a blog in their sites, many of these firms were dramatically increasing the number of pages their sites contained, all filled with quality content, pushing their firms to the top of local search results for law firms. As the study’s author said, “activity matters.” Post regularly, and you’ll climb those rankings.
Furthermore, the blog entries themselves become individually searchable, and a well-run marketing campaign that includes publicizing the blog will also increase engagement on your site (since your website is, after all, about marketing). Say someone clicks on a link to one of your firm’s blog posts because they’re interested about that specific topic. Now they’re on your site, and if they’re at all curious about who wrote the article, you have a new visitor to your attorney bio pages (which, per my suggestion, puts information the client wants in the best possible place). Now a prospective client who would never have seen your firm’s site is actually visiting it, simply because he was interested in a topic that your firm included in a blog article. But keep discussions on point; Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs admonishes:
“Remember, you are not blogging to make sure your content is spread all over and to get it in front of as many people as possible by paying a distribution service. You are blogging to drive the bottom line – revenue.”
3) Regular blog posts allow younger attorneys to learn practice development skills.
Blogging is a great way to get your attorneys involved in your firm’s marketing strategy. By allowing your attorneys, particularly your associates, to write regular blog entries, you are not only giving them the chance to expand their reputation, and by extension, your firm’s reputation. You’re also allowing them to participate in practice development. Asked about the difference between firms that utilize blogs and those that do not, Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog opined:
“[T]hose law firms [that encourage blogging] have forward-thinking, proactive lawyers who are being empowered by their firms to practice business development creatively, including online through blogging.”
Although there is some risk in allowing junior attorneys to blog regularly, Stacy A. Smith, firm administrator and director of marketing & client relations at Carter Conboy in Albany, NY, believes that the benefits far outweigh the risks.
4) A blog allows you to be at the center of major issues of the day.
One commentator put it perfectly: “Though most bloggers are best compared to someone yelling in a forest, using your newly found expertise in your chosen practice area to argue for change can be therapeutic. And who knows…” It might just work. Even if you don’t believe that your blog will have a global impact, by posting regularly on your topic of expertise, you may find people you know increasingly turning to you when they have a problem that fits into your wheelhouse. In the real world, that’s called a “referral,” and it means more business for you either way.
Want a good example? Here’s a post from the blog of my friend Michael Wells, an attorney in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The post is a link to the interview he just gave on local TV, in a regular “ask a lawyer” segment. His blog helped him establish himself as a legal authority, and helped him stand out from the hundreds of other attorneys in the area who would love to have the routine exposure that comes with participating in a local news story.