Lindsay Griffiths has grown a lot at her current job.
She started it a decade ago, and says it’s a miracle she even got hired at all. From her recollection she spent a lot of time in the interview staring at her hands, and the job was for marketing—a far cry from her computer science degree with an anthropology minor (or not, according to her dad). But she had done marketing research after college, and wanted to work with the International Lawyers Network (ILN).
And in the ten years since Griffiths was offered the job, she’s had a lot of opportunity to grow into her role. Of course, the position has changed a lot too.
“When I took the job the title was ‘director of network development.’ I still get a lot of IT spam because of it,” said Griffiths. “But there was no marketing, internally or externally…Now I do a tremendous amount of social media work, which wasn’t even in existence, really, when I started ten years ago.”
Now her title is Director of Global Relationship Management at ILN, which connects more than 5,000 lawyers across 67 countries, and people listen when she tells them that LinkedIn is important. She does a tremendous amount of marketing—inward and outward, between lawyers within the network—and gets to do a lot of different things everyday. That includes blogging—something she didn’t immediately see the appeal of for her role.
“I remember thinking about doing it myself [when blogging first started getting big] but thinking that I didn’t have something to say,” said Griffiths. “I thought it was something my lawyers should be doing, but not me.”
“But when Twitter started taking off I connected with a lot of people in the legal industry, and I realized my responses to them were starting to become longer than 140 characters, or longer than the response on their blogs should be. And I thought, ‘maybe I do want a blog.’”
Griffiths just celebrated six years with her blog, Zen and the Art of Legal Networking, which despite having similar goals is a far cry from her first post on Blogger on billable hours. It hasn’t always been easy, but she has always found it rewarding.
“It’s very easy to get mired down in the up-close minutiae of what I’m doing, and to get very busy. Blogging forces me to take a step back and to continue learning, to force myself out of my comfort zone a bit, and force myself to think about what other people are doing, thinking, and learning about,” said Griffiths. “It’s kept me ever-growing, expanding, and learning and connected with very talented and amazing people.”
It’s gotten easier over the years now that Griffiths knows how to develop content for herself. She’s grown comfortable taking anecdotes from her life, like checking into a hotel in Shanghai and turning it into a blog post about what service professionals can learn. To ease the process, she utilizes an editorial calendar, as well as tools like Feedly, Facebook, and other social network sites to plan and guide content.
“I like to see what they’re writing about outside the industry; inside the industry there’s a lot of repetition. I don’t want to just repeat what everyone is talking about,” said Griffiths. “It’s interesting to see what hot topics are coming up.”
And she’s seen that hard work pay off.
“I’ve seen lawyers meet clients, influencers, and amplifiers they never would’ve met without blogging,” said Griffiths. “I go to the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) conference and people I do not know come up and talk to me, asking me about my dog—it’s strange when people know a lot of things about you and you don’t really know what their name is. But it opens up a lot of opportunities.”
As a self-described introvert, Griffiths definitely appreciates the way she and others like her have been able to network from the comfort of their computer screen. You used to have to work a lot harder to get the same amount of networking done, but now lawyers and marketers like Griffiths can establish themselves from their home before “going out and taking over a room at a cocktail party.”
“Blogging enables you to have a voice in a way that has never existed before. Even ten years ago the only people that could write in a real journalistic way were journalists; these days everybody has the opportunity to have a voice—[whether you’re] an associate or a partner,” said Griffiths.
“The Internet is a great equalizer. If you’re a good writer and you have something to say, and you can back it up with facts and sources, people are going to listen.”