Should you, as an attorney, start a blog? Presuming you want to market your services to potential clients, connect with and engage with the people in your industry, demonstrate to potential employers that you are a qualified candidate for that dream job, and/or enhance your professional reputation, then the answer is yes. Of course, if starting your own blog and earning your own readership sounds like too much of a commitment, I’d recommend at least contributing to someone else’s blog (for example, you can contact me if you’d be interested in contributing to the Sociable Lawyer). Need further convincing? Here are 5 reasons why you should start a blog today:
1. Blogging Grows Your Network
By creating, maintaining and promoting your blog you are actively engaging in an ongoing conversation with people in the industries and areas that interest you. I mentioned in my previous post that I am the co-founder of the website Turntable Kitchen. Turntable Kitchen is not a legal blog and it was never intended to further my legal career. It is where I blog about my favorite new music. Nonetheless, something people often discover when they start blogging is that you get to know people in the industries that interest you as a result of your website. As a result of my site, I’ve developed relationships with musicians, record labels and a host of individuals involved in the music industry. It may be as little as an occasional comment on your site, or a tweet about one of your posts on Twitter, but before you know it, you get the sense that you are connected with your readers and the people whose sites you read. The day I finally announced via my site that I was quitting my day job and would be launching my own practice, I received emails from several independent record labels that wanted to retain me for my legal services.
2. Blogging Enhances Your Professional Reputation
In my own personal experience, blogging can enhance your professional reputation even if your blog is only indirectly related to your profession. In my case, I write a blog about music and I’m an entertainment attorney. Clearly there is a relationship between my blog and my career. However, I’ve never once posted on my website about any of the work I’ve performed as an attorney. Nonetheless, my readers, who incidentally are potential clients and can potentially refer future clients, know that I care about the industry, that I care about record labels and that I care about musicians. In that regard, they know they can trust me to take them and their problems seriously. It’s even better if you happen to host a blog that is directly related to your profession, and then each post offers the potential to demonstrate your competence as an attorney in that field.
3. Blogging Allows You to Effectively Market Yourself / Your Practice
Marketing a law firm is, in large part, about marketing the individuals and capabilities of the individuals that make up the firm. If you are a solo practitioner, you are marketing yourself. Each blog post presents an opportunity to promote your own knowledge and personality.
The first thing I recommend doing after creating your blog is creating a Twitter account and Facebook account. If people like your blog’s content, they’ll follow your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Sharing your site’s content on Twitter and Facebook can lead to new readers for your site. The more you write, and the better the content you offer, the more likely it is that people will share your posts on Twitter, on Facebook and by word of mouth. As a result, new people will discover your site. If all goes well, your blog’s readers may start to market for you.
OK, some of you might be thinking, but I’m not a solo practitioner and I don’t run my own small firm. Your blog posts are still an effective way to market your skills and knowledge to potential employers.
4. Blogging Will Help You Become More Knowledgeable As A Professional
Most bloggers perform a significant amount of research before preparing many of their posts. As a result of this research (and fact checking) you’ll discover that you learn new things about the areas you are researching, even if you already thought you were an expert on the topic.
The personal nature of blogging means that there is reciprocity involved in promoting your site. If you leave comments on other people’s sites, tweet about their posts, and mention them in your posts by linking to their sites, they are more likely to do the same for you. In other words, once you start a blog you’ll find that you have extra incentive to read your colleagues’ websites. And, of course, this means learning from them and becoming more knowledgeable as a professional.
5. Blogging Is Fun And Rewarding
Speaking from my own personal experience, blogging is fun, personally satisfying and surprisingly addicting. Writing about certain personal topics can even feel cathartic. At times, especially in the early months of your blog’s life, it may feel like little more than a labor of love, but even then you’ll find that the enjoyment you get out of it makes it all worthwhile.
I’ll be covering a variety of topics here on Sociable Lawyer, but I’d love to know what tools and practices you’re most interested in. Let me know if the comments, and don’t forget to follow Sociable Lawyer on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with tips I’ll be sharing.