This is the next post in my Blogging Basics for Lawyers series. I’ve previously discussed how frequent blogging can help an attorney get more clients as well as the need to provide quality content in your law blog. This article focuses on an area that I find many attorneys either neglecting or are approaching incorrectly – how to promote your blog. Poor blog promotion costs an attorney potential clients along with the SEO benefits gained from blogging.
Let me start off by saying that the blogosphere has changed since I started my law blog in 2008. Many of the things I did in ’08 would not be as prominent of a strategy than if I were starting a law blog in 2013. Also, some of the strategies I employed in my office are still great for getting client leads but don’t provide the SEO benefit they once did. At the same time, there are new ways to gain SEO benefits from your blog that didn’t exist in 2008. The promotion strategies below will give you the best “bang for your buck” for the remainder of 2013 and hopefully beyond the next Google algorithm change. Getting the most out of your blog means promoting to potential clients, proper promotion to other lawyers, and avoiding the common blog promotion mistakes many attorneys make.
Promoting your law blog to potential clients
Properly maintaining your law blog is great for building client leads. The first step of building leads is to join the discussion taking place on the internet. If you search for topics relevant to your most recent blog post you will find articles and forums where the general public is seeking information. For example:
- A search for “should I hire a personal injury lawyer” yielded multiple blogs and articles, relevant to the topic, on the first page of search results.
- A search for “should I file for bankruptcy” yielded multiple blogs and articles, relevant to the topic, on the first page of search results.
- Several other searches in other practice areas yielded similar results.
Participating in the comment sections of such websites and blogs is a great way to drive potential clients to your blog. After all, these results are showing up for people searching these questions in your home market.
There is a right way and a wrong way to join the discussion in these comment sections. Unfortunately, most attorneys (and anyone trying to promote a blog for that matter) go about it incorrectly. Don’t simply go to a site and leave a random comment with a link to your website. The key is to leave topically relevant comments with topically relevant links. If you have just written an article titled “why future spouses should have a prenuptial agreement” then perform a Google search for the term “Do I need a prenuptial agreement?” Read the article and leave a comment that either expands on the original article or answers another commenter’s question. Your response should tie into your article and it is then appropriate for you to leave a link to the article in your comment. Potential clients in your jurisdiction will come across this link and wind up calling you after reading your blog article – this approach netted me many clients in my practice.
It’s important that you remember to keep your commenting narrowly focused so that you are only leaving topically relevant comments with topically relevant links. It is also important that you temper this approach; I typically only join the discussion on one web article (or two) for any given blog post I write. Over-doing this practice crosses the line from being a valued member of the blogosphere who adds value to the conversation, to being a spammer.
Promoting your law blog to other attorneys
You should not view the direct gain of clients as a goal of promoting your law blog to other lawyers. The benefit of promoting to other attorneys is that it will boost the SEO of your blog, and the site associated with it by establishing yourself as an authority in your given field. Establishing yourself as an authority on a given topic is a factor, on the modern web, to getting your site to the top of search.
My upcoming series (spoiler alert) on the role of social media in search marketing will discuss the importance of authorship authority in detail. For the purposes of this article it is important to understand that (like in real life) the way in which your peers view you is important to being considered an “authority” in your field. Gaining links to your blog from other attorney websites as well as “social recognition” informs Google that you are an authority on your given topic and that your site should rank higher in search for reasons I will discuss in my upcoming series.
Gaining relevant links from other legal professionals, along with meaningful social recognition, is something I see many attorneys approaching in an incorrect way. Quite a few lawyers join various social networks and engage in little more than “link-dropping” where they share a link to their blog, doing little to interact with the online community, before “exiting, stage left.” It is important to view the web as an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with other legal professionals who will boost your reputations as an authority by sharing your content and linking back to your site. This means, again, joining the discussion.
Your strategy for promoting to other attorneys means good old-fashioned networking through social networks and online forums. Include meaningful comments when you share a link to your most recent post. More importantly, engage with other people in meaningful discussion and add value to the online conversation. This will help you establish a network with other attorneys in ways that will greatly boost your site in Google’s search rankings as you will become an authority. The following Google+ “communities” are great examples of forums for building these types of relationships:
- Lawyers on G+
- Lawyers of G+
- Family Law Attorneys on Google+
Other great resources for building these relationships can include Linkedin, online law forums geared towards attorneys, as well as ABA/State Bar list serves. Again, don’t be the person who simply “shouts” their blog post and then leaves without joining the conversation. That makes you a spammer and does nothing to help you.
Following these tips will drive traffic to your website, directly increase your client leads, and also indirectly gain business for your law practice by boosting your performance in search. My next post in this series will discuss common mistakes attorneys make in promoting their blogs and will be followed by a final post that will wrap up my blogging basics for lawyers series. What do you do to promote your blog? What are your thoughts on these promotional topics? Please chime in through the comment form below.
11/21/14 Update – This article originally contained links to the “Lawyers of G+” and “Family Law Attorneys on Google+” communities. Since this article was originally written, however, the engagement and interaction in those two communities has dropped off substantially. We no longer view them as an effective place for attorneys to network. We still highly recommend the “Lawyers on G+” community,” which is linked to above. Also, Google is no longer tracking the “authorship authority,” mentioned above, as it was at the time of this article. Google+ is still important to a lawyer’s social media strategy in my opinion.