The study identified five factors as important to the success of a blog:
- Culture- If you’ve got culture traits that are interesting to people (think Google) or if you’ve got culture problems (think Dell or Microsoft), showing what your company’s culture is really like is a great reason to blog. With the Google scenario, you’re giving customers a glimpse into a fascinating company, and giving behind-the-scenes info on a universally loved brand. On the other hand, when you’re dealing with consumer distrust or bad PR, blogging (if done correctly) can help repair a tainted reputation.
- Transparency- Blog readers want to read authors they can trust. They don’t want to read blog posts by a company that is trying to take a thinly veiled approach at hawking their products. It really is a balancing act. Sure, your company’s blog can help sell products/services. But at the same time, you don’t want to seem like like you’ve got too much of an agenda.
- Time- It takes time and research to write a worthwhile blog.
- Dialogue- You’ve got to talk with your audience. You’ve read the cliche “Blogs are a conversation.” Well, they are. And successful blogs are conversations between the audience and the writer(s).
- Entertaining writing- When the blogger brings a unique style to the blog, it makes the blog so much more interesting.
How does this relate to law firm blogging?
Culture- I don’t see how law firms would offer a glimpse inside their inner workings on a blog. Unlike Google or Microsoft, law firms aren’t trying to persuade the masses to use their products. A law firm’s target is much more narrow in scope, and would not likely benefit from showing how business is conducted (not to mention issues of confidentiality).
Transparency- Law firm bloggers have seemed to do a great job with transparency. Rather than having huge, blinking ads saying “BE A CLIENT!!!!!! WE’RE THE LAW FIRM FOR YOU!!!!!!!”, attorney blogs are best when they establish the author as an expert on an issue. And since that expertise is essentially the service clients are purchasing, there is more benefit in the content and the writing than advertising the firm. Am I saying attorney bloggers should get rid of any mention of their firms, or get rid of links and contact information for their firms? Absolutely NOT. That’s the point. But the idea is to gain trust, then gain the clients.
Time- This is a big issue with law firm bloggers. When the time you spend writing can be so easily calculated into opportunity cost figures, the question of “is it worth it?” will always come up.
Dialogue- For the most part, law firm blogs are good at encouraging conversation. When the attorney is an expert on an issue, they’re likely to embrace discussion.
Entertaining Writing- Without style, reading a law firm blog, regardless of the expertise of the author, can be, well, boring. But when you have a writer that can make a sterile subject seem interesting, you’ve got something.
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