Tag: legal blogging

  • Google is Not your Audience

    Audience at Humanities Theatre by Mohammad Jangda from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Audience at Humanities Theatre by Mohammad Jangda from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    Last week, I was talking with a fellow lawyer who wants to write more posts on his firm’s blog and to create a system for lawyers in the firm to regularly contribute posts. We talked about strategies for generating ideas for posts and ways to keep everyone motivated to create content when it’s their turn.

    Then I asked him, “Who is your audience?”
    “I guess our initial audience is Google.”

    I had to resist the urge to immediately channel my inner Jack Black a la High Fidelity (you can stop watching after 1:46).

    I get where he’s going. I suspect his web guy told him that adding content to the firm’s site on a regular basis will help the firm climb the ranks in search results. This is true (based on the current algorithm) but it’s not enough.

    It’s not enough to create content. You have to create quality content.

    Think beyond search engine results. Think about the big picture – having a blog gives you the opportunity to craft your reputation, the firm’s reputation. Don’t create noise. Write something that you would want to read. If something is interesting enough for you to write about it, it’s probably something that’s going to appeal to your audience, your community.

    When it comes to law firm blogs, the audience is one of two groups of people:

    1. Other lawyers who you hope will refer you work
    2. Potential and/or current clients

    If your audience is the former, you can use your blog posts to showcase your expertise and mastery of your practice area. Bust out those five-dollar words. Display your intelligence with pride. If your audience is the latter, your audience is people who are looking to you for help. Use your posts to demonstrate that you understand their situations and that you can help solve their problems. Always provide valuable information. Regardless of who your audience, if done well, your blog will instill confidence in your readers and give them a reason to choose you over your competition.

    Anyone who reads this blog knows I write to my potential clients’ needs. I prefer to use English instead of legalese. My goals are to be approachable and provide useful information. And it seems to be working – half of my new clients find me after running an internet search related to their problem such as “non-compete agreement Arizona” or “posting my photo without consent.”

    I enjoy working with law firms who are ready to make the commitment of maintaining a blog. It’s fun to help them develop their voice as a firm and the best strategy to maintain their commitment to creating content on a regular basis. Lawyers are professional writers, and so it’s not as hard as they fear it will be. I suspect many enjoy using their blogs as a creative outlet related to their work.

    If you want to know more about legal blogging, please check out The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers. If you want to chat with me about maintaining a legal blog, you can contact me directly or connect with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, or LinkedIn.

  • The Undeniable Tour Day 9 – Blogging About Clients

    Awesome 3D Art in San Francisco
    Awesome 3D Art in San Francisco

    I had a wonderful time speaking at the Bar Association of San Francisco as part of The Undeniable Tour. They always have an engaged audience. They were particularly interested in learning how to select which social media platform to use and how blogging can attract potential clients.

    One person asked me a particularly interesting question. He wanted to know when his firm has a successful outcome for a client how can they blog about it – if the client approves. This isn’t a question I get very often so it caused me to pause and think for a moment. I had three thoughts for this fellow legal eagle.

    So great to see my friend and fellow legal eagle Eric Toscano at my talk. Photo by Bar Association of San Francisco
    So great to see my friend and fellow legal eagle Eric Toscano at my talk. Photo by Bar Association of San Francisco

    #1 – Check with you state bar’s ethical rules about writing about your cases.

    #2 – Be careful about sounding like you’re advertising your firm via you blog. Even though the purpose of having a website and a blog it to ultimately get clients and grow your business, the focus of your blog should be about providing useful information to your clients. Don’t treat it like an online billboard.

    #3 – Ask yourself why you want to write about a client’s case. Is it simply to give yourself a gold star? Or is there a way to use the case to help others? Use common client issues as a way to explain how the law works to resolve a specific type of problem or as a way to explain the legal process. There may be a new precedent that was created in your client’s case that was worth sharing with others. There may be several blog posts that you could write about a particular situation so don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to one.

    As always, when you have a legal blog put a disclaimer on your website that informs readers that your blog provides legal information but it is not a substitute for legal advice. Your state bar may also require all law firms to have an advertising disclaimer on their sites.

    If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

    The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

    All Tour Sponsors

  • New Book – The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers

    The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers
    The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers

    Having a blog is still awesome. Getting in trouble because of your block isn’t. When you’re lawyer, staying out of trouble when you have a blog is a little more complicated.

    I became interested in the legalities of blogging when I started my personal blog, The Undeniable Ruth, in 2010. I have a lot of friends who are outspoken online and I wanted to know how far we could push the envelope before one of us crossed the line. That became a blog series, which inspired a paper for my Cyberspace Law class, and became the basis of my first book, The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. I tried to write as a blogger for other bloggers – in English instead of legalese. I tried to give as many straight answers as possible in an arena where the law hasn’t kept up with technology.

    When I signed on to write The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers, I wanted to address all the common legal questions any blogger would have and also address some issues that are specific to the legal profession.  I added sections about the type of disclaimer every legal blogger should have on their site and under what circumstances lawyers can blog about their own cases. Lawyers also have to be mindful of their state’s ethical rules about lawyer advertising. This shouldn’t be that big of an issue because if your blog constitute advertising, you’re probably doing it wrong.  The book also includes practical advice on how to respond to people who leave comments on your site that ask for legal advice – despite the fact that your disclaimer clearly states that anyone in that situation should schedule a consult with a lawyer in their community.

    I also added three appendices that list the state and federal laws that apply to blogging, online resources related to the legalities of blogging, and a list of recommended books about blogging and social media marketing.

    One of my favorite parts of this book is the afterward written by anonymous legal blogger The Namby Pamby – a man who has personally experience blogging about his cases with the added burden of keeping his identity a secret. His blog is hilarious, and I loved hearing his take on my work.

    After the book came out, I had the pleasure of talking about the book on the JD Blogger Podcast. Host John Skiba said that he liked the book can be used as a resource for lawyers with cases that are related to the internet because it’s filled with citations to the applicable cases and laws.

    If you want your own copy, The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers is available through the American Bar Association.

    If you want to chat more about the legalities of blogging, you can connect with me on TwitterFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, or you can email me. You can also subscribe to the Carter Law Firm newsletter.
    Please visit my homepage for more information about Carter Law Firm.