Alt Legal Connect Session Summary: Putting the Buzz Back in Blogging: New Tips for a Mature Medium
Alt Legal Team | September 14, 2021
On Tuesday, September 14, Carolyn Elefant, Founder of Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, PLLC, and creator of the blog MyShingle.com, the longest-running blog on solo and small firm practice, presented the session, “Putting the Buzz Back in Blogging: New Tips for a Mature Medium.” Carolyn discussed why blogging is still a vital part of a lawyer’s reputational presence and marketing strategy. She provided tips for complying with legal ethics rules, ensuring online privacy and consumer protection, and generating buzz for your blog.
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Carolyn started her presentation by giving the viewers a background of her experience in blogging, how it started, and where she currently stands. Carolyn then provided a brief overview on the history of legal blogging, marking the early days around the year 2000 and consisting of a tight legal community focused on discourse and knowledge exchange, reaching its peak between 2005-2012. Carolyn suggested that the legal blogging medium has evolved alongside the evolution of technology.
History of Blogs
In the traditional sense, blogs began on websites and other types of written physical mediums, but have gone through the age of the Internet where social media platforms have provided new ways of engaging with readers. With the new technology and media, viewers may be accustomed to taking in content in short bursts of written information (e.g. Twitter) or videos (e.g. YouTube, TikTok). Carolyn talked about what happens to mediums and platforms that don’t adapt, “You look at regular paper journalism, that’s kind of the lesson of what happens when you don’t evolve – you become extinct.”
Although blogging has taken on a new form, the benefits remain obvious as blogging helps benefit businesses by improving more traffic to websites, influencing purchases, and improving the page rank of marketing content by improving link-ability. Surprisingly, even as these more ‘short burst’ types of mediums become apparent in the age of social media, blogs have seen the number of words-per-blog doubling from seven years ago suggesting not that all blogs are getting longer, but certain topics that require more deep thought are starting to blog such as seen within the legal space.
There are multiple ways to write a blog post, and it doesn’t have to be restricted to a lengthy multi-paragraph article type of post. From FAQs to video transcripts, there are many ways to define what a blog is and the audience that it’s directed towards.
Why Blogging Matters for Lawyers
Carolyn offered key reasons why blogging may benefit lawyers and law practices today. She provided statistics stating that more than 50% of purchasers state that blog posts influence their purchases and 92% of content marketers employ blogging as part of their marketing strategy. Blogs themselves are a great source for finding referrals or building trust in the prospect so that they’re confident when they decide to email or call you for representation. Carolyn expressed her position on the influence of blog posts on her decisions, “If I came across a website that had intelligent or insightful blog posts, if I were making a referral, reach out to the attorney, contact them or just send their name just based on what I saw online.” She listed several ways that blogging can benefit lawyers:
- Helps others (and yourself) to stay abreast of developing legal issues
- Educates potential clients who may not even know they have a legal problem
- Produces quality content that will attract referrals from other lawyers
- Creates a body of work that can be used as a reference
- Enhances search engine visibility and creates a hub for other marketing initiatives
Blogs can be used as reference material by you or potentially other law firms or lawyers practicing in the field, adding to the brand image and trustworthiness of your practice and knowledge base. Improving the linkibility of the blog could inherently lead to higher page ranking in search results, leading to more views from potential prospects. Another major reason for legal blogging, according to Carolyn, is that blogging helps lawyers stay up to date on various legal topics and structures in a way that brings about refinement of thought and expertise.
What Types of Content Should You Create for Your Blog
Carolyn recommended several different types of blog posts during her presentation, along with benefits of each type:
- Evergreen Content
- A lengthy, multi-part post – typically a how-to or guide
- Benefit: SEO, possible ebook material
- The Round-Up
- Weekly or monthly round-up of news or other blog posts
- Benefit: Useful to readers & shout out to colleagues
- Dedicate each post to FAQs from clients on substantive matters or how your firm operates
- Benefit: SEO, educates clients about subject matter & your firm
- Industry Interviews
- Interview others in your industry – send email Qs for their response
- Benefits: easy content, subjects will circulate
- Skyscraper Content
- Penultimate blog post – research keywords, find top post and do it better!
- Benefits: monster SEO
- Behind the Scenes
- Capitalize on news events by blogging about the legal issues
- Benefits: Can snag media coverage, timely and educational content
- The Transcript
- Transcribe video or audio content to repurpose for blog post
- Benefits: Serves consumers who prefer reading, time saver.
Carolyn also provided the audience with blogging tips. To make the most out of your blog, Carolyn suggested cross posting blog content on social media sites, including on personal pages, “I have to say, the one place where I think people completely miss out is that they don’t post professional posts on their personal Facebook pages. That is a huge mistake! I’ve got to tell you, I have so many friends, I would have never read their stuff unless they posted about it on their personal Facebook page.” Posting on your personal and business pages can increase traffic and engagement to your blog.
In addition to cross posting, Carolyn also talked about breaking posts up into mini TikTok videos, finding photos to illustrate posts on Instagram, use a “subscribe” button to capture emails, disseminate blog content as newsletters, send blog posts to other bloggers and journalists, and present blog content in podcast or video format.
Carolyn wrapped up her session by discussing legal ethics and blogging, leaving the audience with two rules: 1. blogging changes the medium, not message 2. ethics is only part of the story.
Top takeaways from the session include:
- There are many benefits to blogging including improving understanding on legal issues, providing insights to potential clients, and improving the searchability and marketability of the firm or practice.
- Blogging can come in many forms, but some key areas that typically attract readership pertain to how-to-guides, roundups of newsletters, FAQs, and other related interviews or video related transcriptions.
- To stay on top of the newest trends, consider breaking blog posts into social media posts, or even TikTok videos.
- Take snippets of posts, find an image that makes sense and post on Instagram or other photo sharing sites.
- David Lat presented a keynote at Alt Legal Connect last year. See the writeup here: https://blog.altlegal.com/alt-legal-ip-docketing-blog/alt-legal-connect-session-summary-defining-diversity
- https://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn87663261&docId=OOA20210807163620#docIndex=0&page=1 (Thanks, Erica DiAngelo!)
- https://feedly.com/ (Thanks, Gabrielle O’Toole!)
- https://otter.ai/ (Thanks, Gabrielle O’Toole!)
- News360 is an option (Thanks, Erica DiAngelo!)
- ClipScribe is great to add captions to videos – and then you also can download the transcript to use for blog posts (Thanks, Nicole Oden!)
- IP Law 360 (comes with Lexis +) sends out so much good info. (Thanks, Joan Rochman!)
- Rev.com is another great resource for captions. Sounds like it works in the same way as ClipScribe. (Thanks, Stacey Kalamaras!)
- Someone suggested Canva.com for social media posts. I haven’t tried yet (Thanks, Sharon Hotchkiss!)
- www.fiverr.com (Thanks, Tiana Mann!)
- Upwork! (Thanks, Kristy Cook!)