Christine Kingston got where she is today by staying focused. And now her blog has done the same.
Kingston says early on she saw a lot of other attorneys starting out who didn’t know what they wanted to do. As a brand new practioner she decided two things: first, that she would pick a practice area and do one thing and do one thing very well. And second, that she needed a blog to build up her network.
“I launched my blog in August of 2009, and I had nothing to say and no idea what I was doing,” said Kingston. “I was a brand new practitioner, and decided I would be learning to blog and putting my money on the table; I was really taking a leap of faith. And it was the best money I ever spent.”
When she first set out, Kingston’s goal for the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Law Monitor was to drum up business while speaking to consumers about demystifying bankruptcy and the stigma around it.
“It’s so ingrained in society that [bankruptcy] is bad and ruins your credit score, so I’m constantly repurposing content to hopefully break down the barriers to say ‘bankruptcy is not bad—what’s worse is the situation you’re in,’” said Kingston.
What she’s found is that the blog creates a rapport and a relationship with a potential client. In her line of work consumers have often already found themselves on the receiving end of bad advice, or at least bad help.
When they’re looking for a bankruptcy lawyer they’re going to do the leg-work and try to feel out what kind of person she is before they pick up the phone and call her. That’s where the blog comes in.
“One of the gifts I had was being able to translate the complex into the very simple laymen’s terms…[and] when people find me on the Internet they don’t always know they’re reading a blog article,” said Kingston. “I had one client tell me ‘Oh my gosh, people say the nicest things about you!’ These consumers are really doing their homework as best they can; they don’t want to be screwed over by the next person they call…and [once they find my blog] they keep reading because they find it engaging, and it speaks directly to them in a sense.”
Plus, Kingston has seen how quickly blog posts can turn into to phone calls.
She’s now nationally known as a student loan lawyer, interviewed by news agencies like The New York Times and NPR, all because she wrote a post on private school loans and the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust.
“Within three days I’m getting phone calls; ‘I’m a student, can you help me?’ All I had to do is post a blog article, and the phone rings. That’s the quick result of an established, seasoned network.”
It’s a total 180 from when Kingston started the blog: back then, she says she didn’t know anything about marketing. Now she’s the rainmaker for her firm.
“I just soak marketing up. It’s my favorite subject, and it’s my favorite job of the business,” said Kingston. “I always tell people if you’re going to spend any money on marketing, get a blog.”
Once she has an idea (and has opened up plenty of tabs worth of research) she finds it’s fairly easy to crank out three to five paragraphs on the subject. Even so, that doesn’t mean Kingston is always over-flowing with ideas. Sometimes the well runs dry, and she isn’t sure what she’ll talk about. But in times like that, she refers back to her main mission with the blog.
In her book, blogging is not only the best thing a lawyer can do from a marketing standpoint, but it’s the best thing a lawyer can do to represent themselves.
“I believe it’s part of a lawyer’s obligation as a leader in the community, to come out from behind our desks, venture out into the public sector, and provide good, fair, and reasonable services, as well as accurate information to the public at large,” said Kingston.
Each year, Kingston is learning new tricks; responsive design so readers can keep up on the go, listening to the conversation so she knows what’s important for her clients to learn, new ways to mirror her content to express thoughts about bankruptcy.
Kingston knows that sometimes it seems like you can only write about a finite number of topics on your blog. But she stays focused on the fact that there’s always new information for both her and her readers to learn from. Plus, sometimes the internet doesn’t give the best advice.
“The internet is ripe for fraud and misrepresentation. Part of our job as leaders in the community…when I see bad information out there [is] to post up my opinion, link back to whoever is promulgating the bad information, and set the fact straight. That’s what blogging is all about: being a thought leader and a trusted authority.”