Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to motivate lawyers to blog

For some lawyers, blogging is an important means of client development.  But how do you find the time or motivation to do it?  Here's some advice courtesy of a column from the National Law Journal:

Far too many law blogs appear, have one post, and then sit idle for months afterwards. This is not a good thing. As Bob Kleiber, Marketing and Communications Manager for Dorsey & Whitney said, "its like having a puppy, you can't just leave it for a month and forget all about it." Or as Gayatri Bhalla of Greenfield Belser said in her session on blogging at the conference, "they call it an RSS FEED for a reason, you need to feed it with new content."

How much new content? Studies have shown that blogs require more than 52 total posts to pass the tipping point in terms of traffic and lead generation. 52 posts requires work and a long term commitment. So how do we motivate our attorneys to do that much extra writing?

Some firms require (under threat of firing) that lawyers come up with a new blog post each week as part of their job, others have them sign a blog contract. To be honest, I haven't seen firms have a lot of success with either of these tactics.

In my experience, the lawyers that are successful blogging have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and a hunger to do more from a business development perspective. This vision and hunger are essential because a blog is so much work. The amount of non-billable time that a lawyer has is limited, so you aren't likely to get them to sacrifice that time unless they believe in what they are doing. Help your attorneys develop that vision of the future, and you will have much more motivated bloggers. Once they have this motivation, what's next?

I ask the attorneys at the firms I work with to start by creating a brief blog proposal. This one-page blog proposal basically consists of three parts: The title of the blog, a one paragraph summary of what the blog is about, and 4 or 5 ideas for blog posts. This serves as a pretty good filtering tool weeding out the serious from the less serious blog candidates. If they can't come up with 4 or 5 blog post ideas now, it is unlikely they will have what it takes to come up with new posts for the next 52 weeks. Provide some guidance though, if they can't think of anything to blog about, I simply ask them, "what questions are you hearing from clients lately?" This question alone will often help them come up with a half-dozen ideas for blog posts.

You can read the rest here.


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