23 prominent legal bloggers explain the 7 most important reasons why solo lawyers should be blogging.
Marketing experts prod you about it. You’ve seen your competitors working at it. You probably know that you should be doing it. But you haven’t quite made the commitment to blogging.
Legal Productivity asked 23 prominent legal bloggers why blogging is important to them. The participants included long-term legal bloggers like Susan Cartier Liebel of Solo Practice University, and David Lat, founder of Above the Law.
Interestingly, while many bloggers explained that they originally got into blogging for business development reasons, and many explained that it is a nice by-product of blogging, that’s not what ultimately keeps them writing.
Their responses boiled down into 7 reasons why solo lawyers should be blogging:
1. It’s a much-needed creative outlet.
The most common reason cited by the 23 bloggers was that their blogging satisfied a creative need that they do not get in their practice. Nearly all the respondents agreed that they love to write. But moreover, they would feel unfulfilled if they didn’t write.
For Example ATL founder David Lat explained that he was the pseudonymous author of Underneath Their Robes, a blog he shut down in order to keep his day job as a federal prosecutor. But after doing that, he realized that he missed blogging so much that he quit the U.S. Attorney’s Office for full-time blogging. That eventually led him to launch Above the Law.
We all do a lot of writing in our practices, but blogging provides a forum to express yourself in a way that you cannot in briefs or contracts. For example, employment law blogger Eric B. Meyer, admits that he likes to blog “with snark”, something that he can’t do in a pleading.
2. It forces you to stay abreast of developments, learn new things & give back.
Feeding the content monster a blog creates is no easy task, and if you want to be credible in the niche in which you blog, you will need to stay ahead of developments in that area. This will require you to learn new things.
Or conversely, you can use the blog as a tool to learn new things. For example, tech blogger Jeff Richardson used blogging as a means to learn more about his love for iPhone and iPad technology.
The most frequently cited reason for blogging was giving back to the legal community and providing value to your audience. If you read between the lines, many of the respondents would have likely made good teachers. Educating their community of readers was a consistent theme from the bloggers.
3. It enhances your critical thinking skills.
Many of the bloggers, particularly those that write about legal topics, mentioned that blogging had forced them to organize their thinking about complex topics. Often, they are boiling down complex code and legal precedent into language that non-lawyers can understand.
According to consumer credit law blogger Jeff Fleischman, being able to explain a concept clearly increases your understanding of the topic exponentially. It’s an opportunity to learn and to teach at the same time.
4. Blogging improves writing skills.
For a profession that writes for a living, not all of us are very skilled at it. This is particularly the case when it comes to writing for an audience other than a judge.
In a solo law practice, an attorney will not only have to write for the court, but they will likely also write their firm’s marketing copy. Those are two very different skills.
Blogging tends to be closer to the latter. The more you do it, the better you get at communicating your value proposition to prospective clients.
5. Showcase your knowledge & personality.
If it’s true that people do business with people they know, like and trust, by blogging, you can showcase your knowledge and personality in a much more efficient channel than, say, in-person networking.
For example, Sui Generis blogger Niki Black writes about issues of interest to the NYC legal community, but next to an article on the ethics of cloud computing you will find articles about her recent personal hobby, jewelry making.
6. You can archive your own knowledge.
One of the more interesting reasons cited for blogging was that it provides you with a tool to archive your own knowledge. For example, legal tech blogger Stephenaie Kimbro explained that when she writes about a topic, she learns and remembers the material better and is able to return to those posts later as reference points for her work.
7. You will meet many amazing people as a result.
Blogging is all about sharing common interests. That opens the doors to meeting really amazing people that you would have never had the opportunity to meet.
Law Firm Suites’ guest bloggers routinely tell us that they get recognized at networking events all the time, which has rapidly increased their network of friends and professional contacts. The respondents to the survey concurred.
According to iPhoneJD.com blogger Jeff Richardson, “blogging helps me to create connections with many other lawyers — both passionate users of Apple technology who share my interests, and more casual users who I enjoy helping to make the most of their technology — and thus is a way both to make new friends and also to have lots of interesting conversations.”
Bottom line is, all these bloggers are writing for some financial gain. Perhaps blogging drives leads, perhaps it improves their firm’s SEO, or perhaps it generates ad or affiliate revenue. And while this may not be the driving factor behind blogging, very, very few (if any) of these respondents write a legal blog solely because it’s fun, provides a creative outlet, or helpful.
While blogging should be all of those things to be successful long term, the bottom line is we all have to eat.