Investing time and resources in a firm blog or maybe even multiple blogs (or blawgs), may have been a big decision a year ago, but now it is practically the norm. If this is news to you, let’s examine the evidence.
First, let’s get an idea at how many firms have blogs. In early December, our friends at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, posted an inventory of firms in the NLJ 250 who have blogs listed on their web sites. The list is impressive, and includes 141 blogs from 56 firms.
Second, Kevin O’Keefe over at Lexblog, reports that they have helped put together over 500 law blogs for everyone from solo practitioners to the largest firms in the country.
Third, according to the Technorati State of the Blogosphere for 2008 report, hundreds of millions of people world-wide and in the US both read and write blogs. In fact, many blogs have become a part of the mainstream press and are regularly cited as sources in newspapers and on network news.
Now that we have sailed over that hurdle, the question becomes, does this investment help your bottom line? Is there a measurable ROI? This question is a bit more difficult, especially for law firms. Law firms can’t feature an article about the newest sandal styles for spring or whether high-waisted pants are in or out, and then measure the sales of these products on their company web site. No…it is much more subtle for a law firm.
In a great article on Mashable, Aaron Uhrmacher lists several ways to measure the ROI of a blog through both qualitative and quantitative measures. However, I think his most important point, is “have a success metric in mind before you begin. Without some sort of benchmark, it’s impossible to determine your ROI.”
In my opinion, there are several huge advantages to a blog, that definitely provide value and ROI:
1) Visibility–A blog increases your web presence in a way that a static web site cannot. It provides an additional URL for your firm, and links in between the two.
2) Voice–The voice of the firm’s subject matter experts should be available via the web. It is impossible to convey the breadth and depth of these people via the marketing overviews or bios presented on your web site. When a potential client is looking for a trademark lawyer, not only should your firm’s web site appear, but so should your firm’s trademark blog.
For example, if you search for “trademark lawyer” on Google, the second hit is The Trademark Blog from Martin Schwimmer at Moses & Singer, which he has been publishing since 2002. If that isn’t ROI, I don’t know what is.
3) Credibility–Commenting on significant happenings in an area of expertise, will further raise the perception of authority. It also allows potential clients to “browse” and learn even more about the firm at home, on the road, or anywhere that they can connect to the internet. This “self-help” has become the preferred method of learning and evaluating just about anything. If your clients and potential clients don‘t have “access” to your firm in this way, then you are losing out.
4) Speed–A blog post can be up as quickly as someone can type it; no intermediary necessary. Within seconds, the firm will be seen as an expert on a new case or regulation or at least acknowledging that you are aware of what’s going on. With out this “immediacy” the firm’s expertise in a particular area could be questioned.
During the late 1990′s, firms were trying to figure out if a web site was necessary, and we all know how that turned out. Don’t get caught behind the curve when it comes to having a blog.