The Drug and Device Law Blog has an interesting post on how long lawyers stick with blogging. The short version: most lawyers fail miserably at blogging over the long haul.
Lawyers blog for a lot of different reasons, usually related, at least in part, to furthering their professional career. There are three paths. The road most traveled is the, “Hey, there was an auto accident on I-97 last night.” There are about 1000 of these sites written by or for personal injury lawyers who have nothing to add to the conversation but are trying to attract clients directly. These blogs come and go and they are both painful to read and, I’m sure, to write. If you are trying to attract personal injury clients like this, you are almost certainly going to fail unless you have been doing it for years (Google likes websites that have been around for a while).
You know you are reading one of these blogs because when you are finished, you have learned absolutely nothing except that the lawyer wants personal injury clients. These are almost exclusively personal injury lawyers. The patent lawyer approach of “Hey, Microsoft got a patent yesterday” is clearly not going to work. The personal injury lawyers’ “there was an accident last night” pitch will also fail, but it is just not as obvious to the blogger.
The second path is the purist. There is no hint of marketing or sensitivity to Google search terms – just pure facts, analysis and opinion. Jim Beck and Mark Herrmann’s Drug and Device Law Blog is an excellent example, as is Eric Turkewitz’s New York Injury Law Blog. These bloggers certainly enhance their professional reputations with their blog. This is a very effective route, but there is one problem with this path: you actually have to have something to say that would be of interest to someone else.
The third avenue is the hybrid where you write to be educational, informative and interesting, but you are not above an occasional pitch to consumers, and if the possibility avails itself, you use a Google friend keyword you would not use if Google was not keeping score of these things.
Undoubtedly, I am a purist leaning hybrid. Virtually ever blog post I write is directed at educating or informing other personal injury lawyers. Sure, I write this blog in part to get business, most notably, referrals from other lawyers, which is why I direct the blog to other lawyers rather than consumers. I also take my opportunities where I can on keywords, probably because I feel an obligation to my law partner who is grinding away on a case right now as we speak, while I take time out from my practice to write these posts. So, certainly, I’m mindful of the search engines. I did not have to use the term “personal injury lawyer” as often as I did above in this very blog post, for example. Hopefully, you didn’t even notice, but if you did, you didn’t care because you were interested in the substance of the post and you thought, “Gee, the post is free, educational and interesting, so I’ll tolerate some subtle – or not so subtle – keyword placement.”
But, in the end, you cannot be successful writing a blog – any blog – if your goal is just to get more clients. That is why, going back to where we began, most lawyers fail at blogging. The key for a lawyer to write a successful blog is that you have to have something to say and you have to enjoy writing it. I think the former is true and I know latter is true. I write the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog with one primary purpose: to get regular readers. I want you to bookmark this blog or put it on your RSS feed. I want you to read every post. The average person stays on this site for 2 minutes and 44 seconds (over the last month). I want you to get something out of the time you invest and have you come back for more.
The irony is that the success of this blog – however you define it – is far more due to the purist in me who is focused on readership, than the side of me who is trying to get more cases. So please keep reading. And, yes, if you are a personal injury lawyer with a serious injury accident, malpractice of product liability case and you are looking for co-counsel, please give me a call.