Blogging Risks and Rewards for Law Firms

Blogging Risks and Rewards for Law Firms

The word risk A strong corporate blog is strongly considered by many to be an invaluable aspect of an organization’s marketing strategy. Not only can a blog help to demonstrate your expertise and opinion on subjects in your industry, but it also has an important role to play in your website’s search engine optimization and online presence. Blogging can certainly provide your firm with many rewards in terms of website optimization and online presence, but it also poses many risks, and law firms that are considering developing their own blogs should be aware of both the benefits and dangers of blogging before they jump in.

Blogging Risks:

  • Controversy. One of the biggest risks associated with blogging is its ability to act as an opinion platform. Your blogger (whoever that may be) has the power to say things which may cause controversy about the specific topics surrounding your firm.
  • Consistency. Don’t start blogging if you don’t have the time or resources to back it up. Blogging is a lot of work and it is much worse to create a blog and then let it fade or die because you can’t maintain it than it is to just not get started at all. Dabbling in social media has a much bigger risk of eroding your brand’s reputation online than just avoiding it all together does.
  • Branding. The blog, no matter how casual or relaxed the voice, is still a representation of your corporate brand and it’s important that it reflects and doesn’t deviate from your established branding.
  • Appeal. The last thing that you want is to develop a corporate blog that makes your firm appear, boring, unoriginal and stale. Having a negative reputation is much worse than not having one at all.

Blogging Benefits:

  • Brand recognition. One of the best ways to get your firms name into the public’s awareness is to start pushing your name through social channels. Blogging gives you the perfect opportunity to get your expertise, knowledge and opinions out to the world on your own terms.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Blogging is a great way to help your website rank better in search engine results (provided that your corporate blog is located on the same domain as your main website). Especially in terms of longtail keywords, blogging can help you boost your website’s traffic significantly.
  • Community building. Blogging provides you with strong, new, original content that you can share and distribute through other social networks helping you build relationships around your content.
  • Soapbox. A blog is a great place to make your opinion known, as long as it coincides with your corporate branding and strategy.

How can you mitigate the risks?

A recent report published by CNW Group called, “Canadian Law Firms and their Use of Social Media,” discusses the ways in which law firms are utilizing social media (including blogging) to help generate business.

In the report they discuss some ways to ensure that your blog is successful and that it doesn’t fall victim to the risks we noted above. The report suggests the following to help law firms mitigate the risks associated with blogging:
Perform your due diligence. It’s important that when you decide to get involved with blogging you make sure you understand your market, your clients, the topics at hand and
how they relate to one another.

  • Prepare for disagreement. Not everyone is always going to like everything that you say, and that’s alright, as long as you handle those differing opinions in a professional, open manner.
  • Add a disclaimer. Explaining the reasoning behind your blog can help mitigate confusion and discontent with content in the future.
  • Keep your information fresh, relevant and topical. Don’t let your blog get boring. Make sure that you are keeping an up-to-date, relevant blog that uses web analytics to track reader interest. Play to what your audience enjoys reading about so that you remain a relevant resources to your readers.

I would also add from my experience that it’s important to:

  • Set writing guidelines including voice and tone. Before you start blogging it’s important that you have a clear idea of how you will write including the tone of voice/language used so that there are no discrepancies. Part of this process should involve determining what voice your intended audience will find easiest to digest.
  • Create a blogging schedule. It’s easy to lose track of how often you’ve been blogging, so to stay consistent (and to ensure that your blog doesn’t become an “afterthought” to other marketing efforts) creating a publishing schedule can help to keep you on track.
  • Have a blog reviewer. It’s always important when publishing anything to the web that you have someone who can check and review your content. Writing is subjective and often it’s easy for writers to miss little details, errors or branding snafus.

Have any of you had issues with any of the risks mentioned above? We’d love to hear from some other legal bloggers and their experiences with blogging for the legal community. Let us know!

Image by IndieInk on Flickr.

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One Comment

  1. Karine Rasely
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

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