Law Blog How-Tos
Blog to Establish Your Expertise and Build Referral Networks
It’s difficult to see the connection between starting a blog, which is essentially dropping your words into a space on the Internet, and actually increasing the amount of business coming your way. Much hay has been made about search engine optimization, but all blogging comes down to is sharing your life online in a way that the public can appreciate. Translating this into business is as simple as being yourself.
Be There or Be Square
In this day and age, people want to know the lawyers they are hiring. And if you aren’t blogging in one form or another, most clients will note this as a conspicuous absence. So let’s get you started with some advice based on my own experience.
Stay in your wheelhouse. Not every blog needs to be a topical bull’s-eye, but you want readers to understand what it is you do, and that you do it (a) very well and (b) in a unique and particularly effective way. So stay on topic, especially if you are just entering the blogosphere. Make it very clear what area of law you occupy and that you are an expert in that field.
Write what you know, but also write what you love. In addition to being a uniquely effective expert in your field of law, clients want to know who you are as an individual. This may feel invasive to many new, and even seasoned, bloggers, but I’ve found it to be a necessity in building clientele. As you become a little more comfortable publishing your thoughts online, work in your volunteer or civic activities, any events you and your colleagues have attended and even some personal activities that will be of general interest. If you don’t like blogging about updates to the law, or analyzing a particular appellate decision, don’t do it. If your preference is to write more philosophically about our profession (like me), then do that. Your readership can sense immediately if you are writing with passion and interest, and there is nothing that draws people in more than the passion of another person.
Write for and with other lawyers. Clients are more and more frequently hiring lawyers based on online research. And they will absolutely read your blog if it exists. But the typical way a case gets to any lawyer’s office is still the old-fashioned referral. So build and maintain online relationships with other lawyers. Create strategic partnerships with lawyers and organizations in your field who you believe are blogging effectively. Ask for a guest post from them and writes guest posts on their blogs in return.
Interact with your readers. Inevitably, people reach out. Whether it’s on Twitter or LinkedIn, or by leaving a comment on the blog itself, it is up to you to be welcoming and responsive. Readers are your community, whether they are potential clients, potential referrers or just interested individuals. There is always an opportunity to build a new relationship.
Underpinning all of this advice is the reality that blogging to build clientele and drive business is not a silver bullet. It is a slow process, the same as networking in your geographic area. It is about building relationships, and building a reputation. Blogging is a new way to accomplish these twin objectives, but the mechanism at its heart remains the same.
Building relationships takes time, effort and consistency. If you bring this to your blogging, and write what you know and what you love, your reach will gradually grow — and the clients will inevitable come.
Victoria Santoro is an attorney at Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, P.C. in Boston, where she litigates cases on behalf of injured people, handling a variety of cases including wrongful death, general liability and medical malpractice. Victoria contributes to several legal publications and blogs, including I Am That Girl and her own The Limber Lawyer blog. A graduate of Boston College Law School, she was voted a Super Lawyers Rising Star in her first year of eligibility and is the recipient of a 2014 Excellence In The Law Up & Coming Lawyer award. She tweets @TheLimberLawyer.
Victoria will participate in the “Innovating Attorneys’ Lightening Round” with Bob Ambrogi May 15 at Lawyernomics 2015.
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