When Keith Davidson and his partner started the California Trust, Estate, and Probate Litigation blog almost ten years ago they thought of it as yet another way to market themselves online. Now he views it completely differently.
“If you do it the way we do it, you take a stand for something, you have the opportunity to make connections with people that you never would’ve met otherwise. It’s an awesome vehicle to make an emotional connection with someone before you even met them; that’s the power of it,” said Davidson.
The stand his blog takes falls in line with the services they offer. Trust and wills is an “archaic area that even other lawyers don’t know that well,” according to Davidson, and so they’re always trying to teach a new angle or perspective to their audience. But they focus on represent beneficiaries.
It was a conscious decision; most analogous firms focus on trustees, who have control of the money. But it was important for Albertson & Davidson’s blog to be for the beneficiaries first—and that found them an audience.
“The more we stood for beneficiary rights on trust issues, the stronger the blog has become, the easier it is to solidify the message…when [people] contact us we already have that connection with us, because of the message we sent out,” said Davidson, who says in terms of bringing in business the blog is huge. “In terms of growth we can go up market with our practice. We can be picky about the cases we take in. We only need to bring in one or two clients a month, yet we have 150 people contacting us. If it wasn’t for the blog we wouldn’t have anywhere near that.”
They also get attention from reporters who read their blog and are looking for a quote—especially after a celebrity dies and leaves a complicated estate behind—but Davidson says his favorite part is just having people call and realizing they are already familiar with his methods and point of view. It’s allowed him to become more bold with the message the blog puts out, and the way they promote it.
After attending a conference where someone pointed out that Youtube was the second biggest engine behind Google, Davidson decided to start experimenting with video on the blog. For a long time he would shoot and edit videos in iMovie, putting them up on the blog without worrying too much about it being perfect. Last month he finally bought Final Cut Pro. The blog has reached a point where they no longer do one or the other; every written blog has a video component as well. The format has just proved to be too valuable, no matter what his own technical skill set could supply.
“Even in the beginning, when we had basic videos with no green screen, it was not nearly as nice as videos we do today. But they give good information, and made a connection with people,” said Davidson. He remembers watching some clients come into the office and looking at them like they were “internet stars.”
So how does he get it all done? Over the years he’s learned to utilize an editorial calendar which helps him plan for when he’ll need content by, or at least need to have produced content by. Now he’s able to schedule out blog posts weeks in advance—which also leaves time for him to boil down those posts to the bullet points he wants to pull out in the video component, and photoshop an image to go along with the post.
But perhaps most importantly, Davidson readily admits that he’s one of the “few attorneys with a creative side” that he loves indulging. That kept him going through the learning curve, and now he’s much faster and more efficient at producing blog posts and videos. It’s allowed him to build up a blog built on consistency and passion, for both educating and connecting with others. It’s also what’s helped him see blogging as more than just a way to get his name out there.
“What I didn’t understand about blogging is that it changes the dynamic; people want to hire you before they even call, and talking to people who are on board with your message makes it a whole lot easier,” said Davidson. “People who don’t buy into the message don’t call us…In my opinion all marketing nowadays comes down to making emotional connections, creating a village, and having a voice. And there’s no better way to do it than blogging.”