Blog it up

Tiffany Farber is a solo practitioner who has been practicing law since 2008. As someone who has been through transition in her career, she understands the challenges lawyers in this situation face.

Some people don’t understand the concept of blogging.  “If I wanted to read someone’s diary, I would sneak into my daughter’s room while she’s at school,” they say.  Ok, maybe that’s a bit creepy, but you get the idea.  While some people use blogs to write about the daily happenings in their lives, there are many other uses for blogs as well.  Perhaps most importantly, they can be used as a marketing tool for your business.

Last year I was talking with my uncle, who has a highly successful blog.  When I told him that I did not write one myself he was shocked.   Frankly, I was too.  As a fiction writer and former journalism student, it seemed fitting that blogging was the way to go for me.  As a solo practitioner who has been through transition in my career, I have a lot to write about.  I felt that if someone in the blogosphere could benefit from hearing about my experiences that was reason enough to write a blog.

If the idea of blogging is something you have considered, here are some quick tips for marketing your business via a blog:

1. Provide useful information to a target audience

Last week I met with a colleague who has recently started a blog of his own, http://www.thesafestline.com/.  He is a child injury attorney and child safety advocate here in Chicago.  His blog focuses on tips for keeping children safe at home, at school and in the community.  His blog is great because it provides relevant information to parents.  He often publishes news stories and he gives readers a heads up about product recalls.

2. Write about topics for which you consider yourself knowledgeable

My colleague is a child injury attorney, so clearly he is a reputable source when it comes to giving advice about child safety.  Due to ethics rules in Illinois, an attorney cannot claim to specialize in any particular area of law.  This is a perfect example of why blogs can be so helpful for business.  If you cannot claim to specialize, or be an expert, in any particular area of law, why not prove to potential clients that you know your stuff through a blog?   Some of the most impressive attorneys are ones who have links to their own informative blogs on their websites.  It’s one thing to purport to be a knowledgeable lawyer; it’s another thing to convey that through a blog.

3. Add a human touch

One of the things I love about my colleague’s blog is the personal touch he adds to it.  He mentions that he is a father and cares about child safety because of the personal stake he has in it.  If I am going to hire an attorney, I want to know that he or she can relate to my situation.  An effective blog needs to do more than just convey knowledge, it needs a human element.  By blogging, you take yourself from being just another bio and picture on a webpage to an actual person who has thoughts, opinions and talent.  You become relatable to a potential client, potential contact or even opposing counsel.  After all, we are human beings, not robots.

4. Get the word out

Your blog is a waste of time if no one is going to read it.  If you don’t have LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you may want to try them.  You can put a link to your blog on your pages.  You can link to your blog on your firm website as well.  You can add your blog URL to the signature line in your email.  Heck, you can even add the URL to articles you publish or on your business cards.  The more people you tell, the more likely it is you will attract readers.

Your challenge this week is to check out some attorney blogs.  If you like the style of a particular attorney blog, consider starting one of your own.  There are several options for free blog hosts such as Blogger and WordPress.  Give it a whirl!

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