All competent attorneys and firm managers track their spending—marketing dollars are no exception. It is perfectly logical and appropriate for all firms working on law firm blogging to come up with systems to measure the effectiveness of the blog. But treating the value of the blog exactly the same as other completely different marketing tools is a recipe for problems. Failing to understand what a blog provides—and consequently how it should be measured—is the main reason why many firms cut their blogging effort short.
Unlike other legal marketing tools, blogs can be as much about firm perception as actually drawing in more individuals to contact the attorney. In other words, blogs seek to both make more individuals in need of legal services aware of the firm AND make the client aware of the superior services offered by the firm. The blogs therefore can draw in more searchers as well as make them call. These are two different effects, and measuring the effectiveness of both different evaluations. It is one thing to draw more people to a website, but it is another to get them to actually take the desired step of calling or otherwise making content. Some marketing efforts do one or another—legal blog writing can do both.
Monitoring tools should reflect that. Obviously, it is important to keep an eye on total page views for the website as well as the blog. Similarly, call volumes and online content form responses should be closely tracked. The ratio of both must also be gauged to determine if conversion percentages are stable, decreasing, or increasing. Beyond that, the less quantitative benefits of the effort must also be added to the mix. This includes the perception boosts among prospective clients, current clients, supporters, and others in the legal community. Similarly, the more dispersed online marketing effects, like Facebook likes, shares, re-tweets, blog post comments, and similar details need to compared before and after prolonged blog use.
All of these evaluations must be weighed against the cost of the blogging. The cost of a total blogging effort (i.e. paying legal ghostwriters) and the potential benefit in terms of client acquisition and reputation must be properly balanced. Also, no matter what evaluation tools are used, as discussed this weekend, it is important to keep timing into perspective. Blogs are long-term marketing tools. They are not efforts to axe after a month.
Evaluating Law Firm Blogs, in brief:
* Examine both blog and firm total page views, calls, and other direct contacts
* Measure the contacts as a percentage of views
* Evaluate effect on public perception
* Consider legal reputation platform
* Monitor social network effects (likes, shares, notices, page views)
* Gauge reaction from current clients and firm supporters