a guest blog post by Erik Deckers of Professional Blog Service
We speak to a lot of lawyers about how they can use blogging to help promote their practice without violating their state's marketing guidelines. Many attorneys are realizing that social media is a great legal marketing tool, and many of them are trying to learn how to use it.
The problem a lot of attorneys have in their marketing is that they are not allowed to use "competitive" language -- we're the best, we're better, or ranked number onein our field -- and they can't offer guarantees. This means they have totread carefully on their TV and phone book ads. That's why you hear/read things like "tell them you mean business," "we fight for you,"and "we don't handle anything except personal injury."
We've found that many attorneys are wary about blogging, but that it's the smaller firms who are quick to embrace it. The larger, older firms are still not too sure whether they want to get mixed up in it, which means the small firms are getting there first, and finding great success in leaving the larger firms behind.
The biggest reasons for lawyers to blog are to show up higher in search engines (many people are turning away from Yellow Pages and doingsearches for things like attorneys via Google), and to demonstrate to clients that they have the ability and knowledge to handle their particular needs. (We'll discuss why attorneys need to blog at a later date.)
Here are five ways lawyers can blog without violating their state's marketing rules
- Talk about legal news. Talk about things happening in your state or other states. This helps you keep up with what's going on in your community
- Talk about developments in your field. If you work in intellectual property, talk about intellectual property news. If you work in personal injury, talk about personal injury law. This shows that you keep up with developments in your field, showing potential clients that you're working to stay up-to-date with important information.
- Write case studies. Check out important cases in the news (not your own, since you have to worry about attorney-client privilege), and do an analysis of the ramifications of that case. This is especially important as you discuss cases in your field.
- Review basic laws for potential clients. We do this for one client -- we talk about local and state laws that might affect citizens of that state, like how local vandalism laws might affect their Halloween pranks, tailgating laws in time for football season, and what to do if you want to start a business.
- Answer legal questions from readers. Address some interesting or unknown points, teach people a little about the law, and give basic guidance to people so they understand how to pursue their legal questions further. I understand you can't give legal advice, so it will be important to point out that this is not advice, but is used for educational purposes.