The word “blog” is an abridgement of the words “web log” – which is to say that somebody combined the two words somewhere along the way and the catchy term “blog” became a standard.
A blog is essentially a website that is updated regularly with new content. The content can be articles, it can be audio, video or it can be a combination of all of the above.
There are a few common characteristics that differentiate a blog from “static” websites. These characteristics are:
- The content on a blog is updated regularly. Updates can range from daily to weekly or monthly.
- Blog content is organized in some fashion. Sometimes it is organized by date and sometimes it is organized by topic and sometimes it is cross referenced to include both.
- Most blogs cultivate interactivity with readers. Some do this by encouraging comments on each entry (called “posts” or “articles”). Others encourage “trackbacks” which are links that reference back to the original article.
Some blogs inform and educate and others just serve as a journal designed to chronicle events in someone’s life.
A blog is a useful tool for anyone looking to communicate with a specific audience on a regular basis.
Every attorney and every law firm should have a blog.
Blogs are particularly valuable for attorneys. Here are seven reasons why every attorney should blog:
1.) A Blog Will Help to Build Trust with Prospective Clients
Articles on blogs tend to be a little more informal in style and content. You can share some information with your prospective clients in a conversational tone. It is almost like giving them a quick look into your true personality. When was the last time an attorney was critiqued for being “too human”….
Updating a blog regularly will give you frequent communication with your prospective clients. Frequency builds trust.
Discussing a variety of issues on your blog will help people feel like they can approach you – even on things that seem “small”. In other words, people will be less intimidated and will actually call you.
2.) You Will Educate Your Client Base
This point is huge. If you update your blog regularly, you can teach your clients and prospective clients how to bring you business. You can also immediately disqualify crappy cases you would never accept. This qualification process alone will save you thousands of hours in wasted time.
3.) Regular Blog Articles Allow You to Restate Your Competitive Advantage
You must differentiate your services from your competitors. Your blog allows you to discuss your points of difference and your competitive advantage over and over and over again. If you do this often enough, your prospective clients will actually start to hear it, see it and believe it. Once your blog is up and running, it costs you nothing to keep restating your message.
4.) Your Blog has a Pass-Along-Effect
If you post interesting articles, people will pass them along to others. This will help to build your word of mouth marketing. This is the most cost effective form of building a client base.
5.) Learn What Your Clients Need
If you open your blog up to comments you will find out a good deal about your clients’ needs. This will help you tailor your offering to them. You will also learn how they like to receive information.
6.) Position You as an Expert
You can articulate your point of view and your opinion. This will help position you as an expert not only in the legal sense, but it is not uncommon for attorneys who blog to be perceived as experts in the industry they work with most frequently.
7.) Search Engine Optimization
New original content on your website – generated by blogging – will help to move your website up in the rankings on search engines. Sites like Google and Yahoo love fresh original content.
Your law firm, no matter how large or small, must use a blog to communicate with your clients.
That Orange Square
on the left column of this site (called a ‘chicklet’) is the international symbol for the RSS feed. If you click on it, you will be taken to a page that walks you though the subscription process.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a ‘feed’ that you subscribe to that is instantly updated every time this website is updated.
Since we pride ourselves on being thorough here at RainmakerLawyer, we’ll give you a detailed explanation of what this means.
RSS is a technology that is being used by millions of people around the world to keep track of their favorite websites.
In the ‘old days’ of the web the only way to keep track of updates on a website was to save it to your favorites as a bookmark and to return to it regularly to see what was new.
RSS eliminates the need to keep checking back with your favorite site. Once you ‘subscribe’ to the feed of your favorite site (subscribe means that you save the feed address in a Feed Reader) new content automatically appears in your Feed Reader once the site is updated.
Note: Feed Reader, News Reader and RSS Reader are all used interchangeably. They are special websites that translate the RSS feed into readable text.
How RSS technically works is something you should look up on your own because that is beyond our ability to understand and explain.
We can tell you how to use RSS.
How to Use RSS
The first thing to do if you’re getting into reading websites via RSS is to set up an RSS Feed Reader.
There are many Feed Readers out there with a variety of features. Start with a free version that is web-based. Two easy-to-use, web-based Feed Readers are Google Reader and Bloglines.
Both of these RSS Feed Readers work like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update. You can read it right there in the Feed Reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item - marking the last one as ‘read’.
The best way to learn how to use either Google Reader or Bloglines is to simply subscribe to some feeds and learn as you go. Both have good help sections to get you up and running.
Again, if you click on the orange square on the left column of our site, you will be taken to a page that will walk you through this process.