As a lawyer turned legal blogging specialist, I’m often asked whether law firms should blog on their own website or if they should publish guest blog posts instead, or indeed whether should do both. Here are some of the key considerations.
Publishing only on your firm’s website
For those law firms that have a website with blogging functionality (you’d be surprised how many don’t!), or a separate blog elsewhere, there is a tendency to publish blog posts there and nowhere else. There is also a misconception that it’s fine to publish a post and it will gain traction itself without any sort of social sharing.
The effect of doing this depends mainly on how good the content is. If it can attract social shares, links and engagement on the merits of its quality alone, that’s great. But that’s unlikely if there’s no subscriber base (social, newsletter-based or otherwise), general readership or presence in search engines. Once a post is published, having it shared to social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook and StumbleUpon etc – where there is already an engaged and varied audience – will be much more effective than leaving it as a static page on a website which would otherwise be desperately seeking attention. Compare that to guest blogging.
Publishing only as guest blog posts
Some law firms are more advanced, either by virtue of their own in-house digital marketing teams, through an external online marketing agency or, in some rare cases, through their fee earners such as partners who are clued up on how web marketing works. Some of these firms may prefer to publish all or most of their material as guest blog posts to other networks.
Take our main guest law blogging site YouBlawg, for instance. There are lawyers who have been granted authorship to publish as much as they want. Some do so every week, some every month, many less regularly. Why do they publish guest blog posts? To take advantage of an already established niche blogging channel that is willing to share their posts to thousands of readers. Many authors will link back to their firm’s website and/or to their LinkedIn and Twitter profile as a call-to-action within the post. And some will want to explore even more niche sites – we have various niche blogs where the content is focused on certain practice areas. And there are millions more potential guest blogging opportunities out there and it can be as simple as finding a blog in your area and contacting the author to ask politely, without spamming, for a guest blog opportunity.
Is that a good strategy? Generally yes, but it depends again on the quality of the content and it also depends on how much useful information they have on their own website. If the quality of the content is low – a good indicator is a lack of social shares, and even in some cases comments from readers actually clarifying mistakes – then the exercise is likely to be ineffective and, indeed, can be even more harmful to the lawyer’s or firm’s reputation. Also, if the author links back to a stale website that hasn’t been updated with fresh content in years, it’s most likely that readers will be discouraged from ever visiting that website again. But if the content is great, worth of social shares and leads to engaging, updated website, all the better.
Publishing to both the law firm’s website and as guest blog posts
The best strategies are those that seek to both update the law firm’s website (or blog within or outwith the website) and publish guest blog posts on other channels, with the intent of engaging audiences throughout those sites and on social channels, and with effective calls-to-action to convert as many relevant people as possible into taking the action you want them to take (think making a phone call, subscribing for emails, following on Twitter, connecting on LinkedIn etc). It’s those firms with a robust approach that will succeed and get a better return for their time and useful content.
Whether on your firm’s website or on guest blogging channels (and ideally both), the important message is that you cannot just wait for business to arrive at your door, particularly in recessionary time and even more particularly with today’s rapidly changing legal market.
To publish as guest blog post on YouBlawg click here to get started, click here to read our reasons for blogging and our general guidelines, and click here to contact me to find out how you can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet today.