Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blogging as Business Development


There's an interesting article in the current issue of The Lawyers Weekly (Canada) (Dec. 2, 2005) concerning blogging as a useful business development tool. The article is exactly right. In this age of easy access to information, large firms have much less structural advantage in terms of getting their names out there. A smaller firm--even a solo practitioner--can set up a webpage, and most practitioners worth their salt do that.

But a blog is in some ways even better than a traditional web page. It is a way to show how well you write and what you think about various legal developments in your area. As such, it is a perfect promotional tool. To draw an analogy, a website is like a fancy Yellow Pages ad, while a blog is like a free seminar on your areas of expertise that you give to potentially millions of people.

Giving away free information is a wonderfully effective way to bring in new business. Potential clients feel assured that you know what you are doing (since you have already discussed your expertise) and are likely more willing to pay you for your services. And while you give away a little knowledge that you might charge for at the beginning of the client relationship, you can get far more business in return. (Just make sure you include the caveat that information in your blog is not really legal advice--you know, the legal fine print language you see all the time.)

The article gives two examples of such blogs: www.morepartnerincome.com/blog, which is maintained by Tom Collins, CEO of Juris, Inc., and http://www.gerryriskin.com/, which is maintained (not surprisingly) by a guy named Gerry Riskin of Edge International. Personally, for U.S. lawyers I prefer the former. The information on that site is highly relevant to people who manage law firms (e.g., how to maintain profit margins, realize collections, etc.). Think about how detailed this site's information is: Collins is giving it away for free! Which establishes him in the minds of many as an expert in the field of law practice management.

Law firms could do quite well following this approach in their areas of expertise. Some do, but more should. A great example of a law firm blog along these lines is McGlinchey Stafford's http://www.hurricanelawblog.com/, which provides a good deal of detailed information on hurricane recovery legal issues.

2 comments:

Jonathan Stein said...

Professor -

You are right that blogging can lead to more clients. My good friend, Grant Griffiths, runs many blogs, including a Kansas Family Law blog (http://gdgrifflaw.typepad.com/) that is his only firm marketing. Grant has been ahead of the curve for a long time. At some point in time, the legal "elite" are going to recognize that solos have been on the cutting edge of marketing for a long time before the rest of the legal world catches up.

As an FYI, check out Jay Fleischman's Bankruptcy Podcasts (http://debtpodcast.blogspot.com/),one of the first podcasts used as a marketing tool, or even my own podcast at www.personalinjurypodcast.com.

Jonathan

Gregory W. Bowman said...

Jonathan,

Thanks for your comment. Grant Griffith's site and your podcast site both are really good, and it is exactly the kind of thing I am talking about. Kudos to you for doing it.

Throughout history, the technologies that have changed the course of events have not been the cutting edge ones, but the remarkable ones that became dependable and cost effective. The tank had little impact in WWI, but in WWII (cheaper to make and far more dependable) it was enormously important. Same for autos and the Ford Model T.

And now, anyone with $400 (or less!) can get a computer and high speed online access, so the barriers to entry for small businesses are virtually nonexistent. Today, if you don't add value, you are in big trouble.

Thanks for the comment.

Greg