Right now the most important benefits of law firm blogs are related to search engine optimization. At the end of the day this is the most beneficial value provided by the blog, because no legal marketing strategy comes close to providing as much value as superior natural search rankings. This will likely be the case for the foreseeable future. However, the blog does much more there merely help the firm appear higher in Google. Those secondary benefits are one reason that having a solid blogging effort now can undoubtedly have long-term benefits.
Of course, SEO still dominates. There is simply nothing to compare to the targeting of individuals who visit a search engine and plug in terms indicating a clear need for legal services in your practice area and your geographic area. Taken out of the digital context, this is as if thousands of potential clients needing your exact services were all housed in one building. It would be madness not to focus your marketing efforts on getting to the building and displaying yourself prominently. That is search and SEO in a nutshell. As we explained, the legal blog—if done well—is a prime way to uniquely increase a firm’s prominence among uniquely tailored potential clients.
However, it must not be forgotten that SEO does one thing: it bring the client to you (or you to the client). What doesn’t it do? Make them call, email, or fill out an online questionnaire. Of course this is marketing 101—adding clients requires both getting the leads and then closing the deal. Finding the potential client and then making them an actual client. So does a law firm blog play a role in the second phase of client acquisition? Definitely.
Many legal marketing professionals will offer various theories on what truly matters to searching online clients and what seals the deal. But, quite frankly, whatever claim actually has the most merit, the blog can be tailored to meet the goal. For example, many suggest that the attorney profile page of any law firm website is of supreme importance, because potential clients most often want to get a sense of the actual “person” behind the mask. Clients want to see the face of their potential lawyer and get a sense of who they are both inside and outside the suit. Just like many people vote for President based on who’d they like to have a beer with, many potential clients reach out to a lawyer or firm because they feel like they can connect with the attorney on a personal level. It is hard to do that on a single attorney profile page (though interactive videos and more extensive biographies one step forward).
The blog helps fill that role. Blogs are by their nature slightly informal. When done well they are seemingly an ongoing conversation with all those who stumble upon its pages in the course of surfing. This interactive writing works to sell the attorney and firm. The specific material discussed or stories referenced in the blog are ultimately less important that the fact that there are stories and discussions at all. Combined with the other elements of a proper firm website, having a solid legal blog writing program in place e can play a huge role in actually selling the firm and getting the potential client to make contact.