If your goal is to start a firm blog this year, I wish you great success. In my experience, blogging does not come naturally to law firms but it has value. It may take more than one mention of your project to get it off the ground but I encourage you to go for it, be excited to show your firm the marketing possibilities of blogging. To make blogging a reality in your firm, I offer a few pointers from our marketing team.
Leave the Skeptics Behind for Now.
Initially, put all your energy and time into the handful of lawyers and staff who immediately like the idea and see the value in blogging. Those who are enthusiastic will help you recruit more bloggers later. In addition, it is important to have a partner or team leader support the firm’s blogging efforts. To further encourage participation, consider writing a blog yourself. This will show others how important you believe blogging to be and that even an occasional blogger can have a positive experience.
Would You Read Your Own Blog?
With roughly 6.7 million people on blogging sites, your blogs need to be concise, catchy, somewhat entertaining, and informative (Johnson, Tech.co web). You know the lawyers in your firm who like to write and have good writing skills. They may still need direction in order to become your prize bloggers - a lawyer’s legal writing style and blogging style may be very different. Even though more than half of your audience will be other law firm professionals and lawyers, readers are looking for diversion along with information. A good rule of thumb is to ask your writers, “would you want to read your own blog?”
Show and Tell.
Show statistics and success stories from other firms’ blog histories. Let your writers know how your firm will use your blogs - how they can be featured on social media, the firm’s website, and other blogging platform websites. Show them targeted lists of clients with whom you would like to share their blogs. Also, sharing the positive results with everyone in the office will help pique others’ interest and encourage firm-wide participation in blogging.
Create a Realistic Blogging Schedule.
Now you have authors ready to write, it’s time to set a schedule. Your schedule should fit your firm’s size and the number of potential bloggers. If you only have a few people interested in writing or are a small firm, post once a month or bi-weekly to start. A big firm with a large pool of motivated bloggers may be able to post once or even twice a week. Whatever your constraints, have a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Keep in mind, sometimes life happens or caseloads can change overnight. If a blogger cannot finish a blog at the scheduled time, be understanding, and have a back-up blog ready. The last thing you want to do is post something that is not of good quality - and that will forever be somewhere on the internet. An added bonus of a well maintained schedule is that your marketing team will know the best time to email or talk in-person with bloggers about future topic ideas or upcoming draft deadlines.
Plan How You Will Reach Your Audience.
A good way to reach a larger audience with your blogs is by using platforms, such as JD Supra, LinkedIn Pulse, LexBlog, WordPress, etc. The ability to track who is reading your blogs, whom the blogs are reaching, and how the blogs are shared makes it easy to show your firm the benefits of a good blog. Again, look at all the different channels on which you may share and post your firm blogs while keeping an eye on your analytics to get the most out of each blog.
Teamwork is Key.
Have a few people from different departments or position levels read and suggest edits to the blog drafts. Teamwork will make the blog stronger. For example, when a practice team leader, marketing/business development leader, and a legal assistant read the same draft, each of them brings a little different point of view to their edits. Plus, it takes a little pressure off the blogger when turning in rough drafts knowing that several other people will help ensure the quality of the piece is high. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed” – Napoleon Hill, American author.
Encourage Participation Every Chance You Get.
If you overhear people talking about an interesting topic that you think will make a good blog, encourage them to write a draft. Your ears and eyes should always be open to finding good blog topics for your bloggers. Let your writers know they can utilize material they already have worked on, such as articles, presentations, or questions others ask them often. In addition, a few tangible encouraging tactics help too: holding a raffle at the end of the year for all bloggers to enter, making blogs a line item on the bonus review sheet, prizes for top blogs, spotlight blogs on firm’s intranet, etc. It never hurts to ask or send around a survey to the employees for ideas for rewards, or what would making blogging a positive experience.
Once you have successfully moved your firm into the blogosphere …then it’s time to get started on Vlogs! Here’s to your blogging success!
Hubspot, https://blog.hubspot.com. Accessed June 2017. (97% more inbound links) and (67% more views).
Johnson, Zac. “A Look at Blogging Industry Stats from 2016 [Infographic].” Tech.co, https://tech.co/look-blogging-industry-stats-2017-02. Accessed June 2017. (6.7 Million).
Sukhraj, Ramona. “24 Little-Known Blogging Statistics to Help Shape Your Strategy in 2017.” iMpact., https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/25-little-known-blogging-statistics-to-boost-your-strategy-in-2016. Accessed June 2017. (66% bloggers) and (over 93% paid promotional use).