Monday, October 10, 2011

What a Legal Blog Provides For the Law Firm

As legal blog writers we often discuss the benefits of having a legal blog with attorneys completely unfamiliar with the process.  We explain how we genuinely believe that consistent blog writing is perhaps the single best online tool to help use the internet to draw in clients and position the firm for long-term success in online visibility.  We also work with many attorneys who already understand the value of law firm blogs—attorneys how have already added them to their web-presence.  However, even among those lawyers who use blogs —from solos to big firm partners—there is often confusion about what the main purpose of the tool. 

Below are the four main benefits of having a blog for a law firm in order of importance.  It is necessary to keep this order in perspective, because it helps when evaluating the overall effectiveness of the blog.  Some lawyers have mistakenly assumed that they were not getting value out of a blog, because they misunderstood that overall purpose.  Keeping these goals in mind is vital when conducted a review of your overall marketing effectiveness.

1) Increases Main Firm Website’s Search Engine Visibility

The single most important reason firms have a blog is to increase their main website’s search engine ranking.  In other words, the goal is for clients to find the main firm website directly after searching.  The goal is NOT for the client to find the blog first and then get to the main website via the blog.  This is likely the single biggest misunderstanding that attorneys have about the value of their blog.  This means that the blog’s benefits are sometimes difficult to track.  The blog is best viewed as a trampoline that helps boost the main website higher in the rankings.  It’s main value is not in getting clients to the blog itself.  Some attorneys miss this point about the relationship between the main firm website and the blog.  Failing to understand this metric often leads attorneys to conclude that their blog is not working, when it actuality it is operating exactly as intended.

2) Blog Itself Acts As Second Form of Visibility

While the main benefit of a blog for a law firm is to increase the visibility of the firm site, it is undeniable that the blog itself often performs well on searches.  In this way, the blog can bring in clients indirectly, by having them read a blog story and eventually arrive at the firm site.  The most established blogs have this benefit more as the total amount of content on the blog increases.  In fact, it might be correct to say that the very best blogs (with several thousand posts) may be of value to the firm specifically because the blog itself draws hits.  That is the exception.  For most firms, the blog itself is a secondary tool.

3) Improves Firm Website’s Overall Appearance

The mere existence of a blog with regularly updated content also improves the firm’s perception to a client.  Far too many attorneys have a website created and then that site grows cold.  Nothing is added, no new material is updated, and clients who land on the site often ask themselves if the attorneys are even still practicing.  The blog changes that by making it clear to all those who end up on a firm site that the attorneys are still around, active, paying attention to legal news, and open for business.  Thus, beyond simply drawing in more hits via an SEO strategy, the blog helps to actually covert hits into clients by making the firm appear alive.  

4) Actual Clients Learn About Legal Options

While not a primary goal, and often a matter of mere chance, many more firms that you would expect have gotten clients to sign up for their services specifically because they read a story about themselves on the law firm blog.  In the usual case, a firm will have a blog post up about a certain accident that occurred in the area, explaining the general legal ramifications of that accident.  Then the victim who was in that accident (or their family) will find the post after Googling themselves and decide to hire the attorney.  This happens, but it is hard to predict when it will happen.  Some attorneys actually think this is the main goal of the blog.  However, it is important to remember that this is merely a secondary issue that is rare.  Even getting a single client in this fashion, however, is usually enough to pay back a significant investment in law blog writing efforts.

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