f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 21, 2004

O’Keefe & Giacalone on Marketing Weblawg Marketing

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:02 pm

Kevin O’Keefe’s Comments to yesterday’s post about lawyers and weblogs are worth sharing here on the front page (as is my reply!).

Kevin:

There are going to be blogs that do nothing to bring in clients while there are going to be blogs done well that will bring in clients. In the late 1990’s when law firms threw up sites, like Carolyn mentions, that did not work a lick to bring in clients, I had a law firm site that worked wonders in bringing in new clients and fees.

bowling strike . .

My site worked because it was focused on the niche area in which I specialized and was totally focused on profiding people practical legal information. My site came up in the search engines because it was chock full of helpful content. People comingto the site told us they liked the fact that we did not speak like lawyers they had come across and we demonstrated a sense of care for ordinary people. If lawyers want to have a blog and get up on a soap box and write a lot on a little bit of everything without publishing focused content that will help people that’s fine but that’s only evidence that they do not know how to use the Internet to attract clients. It is not evidence that blogs do not work as marketing tools.

Blogs are just Web sites built on blog software that make them easier & more effective to use than a Web site. There are thousands of lawyers in this country getting lots of good work from Web sites and related Internet marketing, which Carolyn says does not work.

Blogs, just a Web site, will generate good work for good lawyers who learn to use them or hire someone to do the work effectively.

I’ll not change your opinion but I think you are a bit short sited and off in your limited analysis.

order today

David [humble editor]:

You make some good points, Kevin, that we can agree upon, and they really make my point:  (1) weblogs are merely websites with an easy-to-use format and reverse-chronological posting; (2) if a lot of factors are well-aligned (and with a lot of luck), a weblog may be able to attract clients.
I’ve never said they can’t possibly work to bring in clients — I’ve said that merely spouting the buzz about all the added “traffic” is inherently misleading without a lot of caveats, not only because no one knows what the traffic number signify, but because no one can even point to anecdotal evidence of a significant number of weblawg success stories for bringing in clients (as opposed to ambiguous page-hits). Carolyn has apparently not heard of any, nor have I.

My problem with the weblog boosters is that they fail to inform potential buyers of their product just how little data there is about weblog success as an actual money-maker.  I think Carolyn is far closer to the truth about weblogs by pointing to the over-hype of websites for law firms a few years ago — similar to the overhype of dot.com stocks that led to the market bubble bursting — than are current weblawg vendors who point to every bit of information about weblogs generating “traffic” and being the next killer-application, without all the caveats.
wake up call When you start having prominently-placed caveats on your vendor website, I’d be very happy to use you as an example of a Model Weblawg Vendor.  Until then, I’ll plan to use my good Google-placement as a soapbox and a Caution Sign for lawyers thinking to make the considerable investment in time it takes to start and maintain a quality weblog.  [By the way: no one has ever approached me looking to hire my services, despite all the very nice things said about this weblog; that may be because I’m retired and not looking for business, but not many visitors are reading my About page to find that out.]

afterwords: See our posts “Kevin found a marketing success” and “Craig Williams shares his thoughts on weblogs” (April 19, 1004).

12 Comments

  1. You talk of a lot of luck needed for an Internet presence to be effective in bringing in new clients. Luck is the residue of design and hard work. A blog, properly implemented, is much more probable than not to bring in good work for lawyers.

    Most telling in your flawed analysis is your last point – that no one has approached you to hire you as a result of your blog. Your blog does not pertain to practical information that would make a difference in the lives of ordinary people in your geographic area. Your blog is an online magazine or soapbox on things you think are important. That’s great & your blog is one of the best lawyer blogs on the net.

    However, lets say that your blog’s focus was Albany New York family law and perhaps entitled the Northern New York Divorce Gazette. In the blog you had consumer friendly info on all areas of NY family law. You had a section where you answered questions from people and archived them in q & q (being careful to keep the info general & not breach any confidence). You blogged updates on NY family case & statutory law. You blogged NY & relevant national news on family law. You blogged the cle & reading you were doing to stay up to speed on family law. You blogged about office activities. Finally you blogged about your insight & analysis on NY family law issues. You show from your experience that you understand the pain and emotional turmoil they may be going through and are there to help.

    As way to get the word out to people, you let local colleagues and clients know what you are doing, offering them the opportunity to subscribe. Offline you take advantage that blogs are new. Tech columnists in the local newspapers may find a good caring lawyer helping people via a new tech tool and interesting story.

    You make certain that the title tags on your pages are in harmony with the text body for search engine optimization so you are near the top of search results when someone in need searches Albany divorce lawyer.

    You use adwords at Google and Yahoo’s overture to obtain sponsored links for relevant keywords at cost, if you go wild, of $30 per month.

    This type of designed plan will bring the luck you describe in getting clients from your blog. If a lawyer does not have the time to learn how to do it they hire a legal professional like me with the experience & know-how to do it for them.

    There are no guarantees in life David. This afternoon I will take my two youngest sons along biking while I go out for a run. I expect we will have fun & a good time together – is it guaranteed? No – but it is more probable than not.

    Is a good focused blog done well guaranteed to be profitable for a lawyer? No. Is it much more probable than not? Yes. So much so that if lawyers I am now talking to have a concern about price and their blog’s effectiveness, I’ll guaranty the work by allowing them to ask for the return of any portion of the price they believe is fair.

    I have enjoyed this discussion but if I am going to support those two boys and my other three children, I need to get focused on work.

    Comment by Kevin O'Keefe — February 21, 2004 @ 3:25 pm

  2. You talk of a lot of luck needed for an Internet presence to be effective in bringing in new clients. Luck is the residue of design and hard work. A blog, properly implemented, is much more probable than not to bring in good work for lawyers.

    Most telling in your flawed analysis is your last point – that no one has approached you to hire you as a result of your blog. Your blog does not pertain to practical information that would make a difference in the lives of ordinary people in your geographic area. Your blog is an online magazine or soapbox on things you think are important. That’s great & your blog is one of the best lawyer blogs on the net.

    However, lets say that your blog’s focus was Albany New York family law and perhaps entitled the Northern New York Divorce Gazette. In the blog you had consumer friendly info on all areas of NY family law. You had a section where you answered questions from people and archived them in q & q (being careful to keep the info general & not breach any confidence). You blogged updates on NY family case & statutory law. You blogged NY & relevant national news on family law. You blogged the cle & reading you were doing to stay up to speed on family law. You blogged about office activities. Finally you blogged about your insight & analysis on NY family law issues. You show from your experience that you understand the pain and emotional turmoil they may be going through and are there to help.

    As way to get the word out to people, you let local colleagues and clients know what you are doing, offering them the opportunity to subscribe. Offline you take advantage that blogs are new. Tech columnists in the local newspapers may find a good caring lawyer helping people via a new tech tool and interesting story.

    You make certain that the title tags on your pages are in harmony with the text body for search engine optimization so you are near the top of search results when someone in need searches Albany divorce lawyer.

    You use adwords at Google and Yahoo’s overture to obtain sponsored links for relevant keywords at cost, if you go wild, of $30 per month.

    This type of designed plan will bring the luck you describe in getting clients from your blog. If a lawyer does not have the time to learn how to do it they hire a legal professional like me with the experience & know-how to do it for them.

    There are no guarantees in life David. This afternoon I will take my two youngest sons along biking while I go out for a run. I expect we will have fun & a good time together – is it guaranteed? No – but it is more probable than not.

    Is a good focused blog done well guaranteed to be profitable for a lawyer? No. Is it much more probable than not? Yes. So much so that if lawyers I am now talking to have a concern about price and their blog’s effectiveness, I’ll guaranty the work by allowing them to ask for the return of any portion of the price they believe is fair.

    I have enjoyed this discussion but if I am going to support those two boys and my other three children, I need to get focused on work.

    Comment by Kevin O'Keefe — February 21, 2004 @ 3:25 pm

  3. Kevin,  I bracketed the last comment about my own weblog, because I knew it was not crucial to my argument — although, zero inquiries (forget results) tells me something.  It surely doesn’t prove that the rest of my argument is flawed.

    As a pioneer in bringing divorce mediation to my region, I’d like to point out, however, that: (1) colleagues who are competitors or who feel threatened by new options for consumers do not tell clients about your services; 2) enormous amounts of positive, free press in the largest local newspapers, brought me not one direct mediation client; and 3) neither did authoring print and internet articles on the topic (including, e.g., parenting pointers), for groups and publications aimed at parents and divorcing parents.  This makes me a little skeptical about the notion of using non-commercial ways to attract clients — in part because, I’m pretty good at writing stuff that sounds sincere and useful..

    I invite any weblogger who has done all, or even most of, the things you prescribe to tell us of her or his results to date.  
    As I suggested in my post about ghost-written weblogs, however, I want to note that a weblawg that has most of the activities you prescribe done by someone other than the purported lawyer-author is in many ways misleading.
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 21, 2004 @ 3:57 pm

  4. Kevin,  I bracketed the last comment about my own weblog, because I knew it was not crucial to my argument — although, zero inquiries (forget results) tells me something.  It surely doesn’t prove that the rest of my argument is flawed.

    As a pioneer in bringing divorce mediation to my region, I’d like to point out, however, that: (1) colleagues who are competitors or who feel threatened by new options for consumers do not tell clients about your services; 2) enormous amounts of positive, free press in the largest local newspapers, brought me not one direct mediation client; and 3) neither did authoring print and internet articles on the topic (including, e.g., parenting pointers), for groups and publications aimed at parents and divorcing parents.  This makes me a little skeptical about the notion of using non-commercial ways to attract clients — in part because, I’m pretty good at writing stuff that sounds sincere and useful..

    I invite any weblogger who has done all, or even most of, the things you prescribe to tell us of her or his results to date.  
    As I suggested in my post about ghost-written weblogs, however, I want to note that a weblawg that has most of the activities you prescribe done by someone other than the purported lawyer-author is in many ways misleading.
     

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 21, 2004 @ 3:57 pm

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