Posting- What, When, and How

Good morning from Seattle. We’re continuing our legal blogging series or a book that would ultimately become 45 chapters. Today we’re up to chapter 17. We’ll finish up sometime in the middle of July. I’m doing this, and Lexblog will be posting the videos getting it transcribed as part of the national campaign in which lawyers across the country and bar associations are participating called Blog for Good, a campaign where we’re aggregating and curating the content of legal bloggers nationwide into one place in one database, LexBlog. And then for its purposes to be syndicated across the country to various Bar Association’s. They’ll have their own digital publication, making available the insight and commentary that lawyers are sharing today, and a lot of that insight and commentary relates, first to the, the, the pandemic that was going on and now, rightfully so the social justice issues that are arising, or that have arisen and that people are paying more attention to that maybe than they ever have before and various rights associated with that. So this is a time for lawyers to care, to step up to the plate to step away from Netflix and Hulu, and to share their insight and commentary. There’s no better way to do so than through blogging, and Bar Association’s lawyers and LexBlog will support you all the way at no cost.

 

Today we’re talking about posting. What is a blog post? When do you post, how often, or how do you post? What to post on a blog varies depending on what the blog is about. There’s some blogs that can be reported, and some have done incredibly well with those; there’s one down in the Miami area; he started a blog years ago on Florida probate litigation, and he monitored cases that were referencing the code sections that related to cash and probate litigation that were coming through the courts, the appellate courts in Florida. And so what he did was monitor those. He needed to if he was going to develop a practice in that area and be good and sharp at it. So what he did was he reported on those decisions and quickly shared his insight that he was developing by following all of this, and I think at one time there were 50 some decisions and he tried to nail them all, that takes time. But he built a body or body of work and as a result of that, he’s recognized as a leader in probate litigation in the state. Other people have done similar things. Francis Pileggi did that with his Delaware corporate litigation blog because he realized that the Chancery court Delaware was deciding all of these cases that related to corporate issues, and with Delaware being a base site for so many corporations, you have a lot going on. When you think back on it, it was a bit dimwitted for other lawyers not to realize the potential in doing that. There was a lawyer in North Carolina  who had a blog on the North Carolina Business Court of Original Jurisdiction for cases for short and corporate litigation. He jumped on that. And so he became the place of record for that court. And there might be certain other things. You could pick a particular niche and report on developments in that area that’s gonna be very tight. Now as we expand that reporting concept to what you’re going to share, it’s going to get a little bit broader. You don’t need to report on everything, nobody’s relying on you, like you’re in the publication of record. Like the newspaper is to cover everything on a particular issue. You don’t need to do that sort of thing. But if your goal is to build relationships to get opportunities to speak, to build influence in a particular niche, then you might make posts referencing what other people are writing. The best way to get noticed is to talk about other people. So if I wanted to speak in front of a legal marketing association years ago, I would need to monitor what they were writing, reference it, and share it with my readers. My readers are people that might have an interest in using the Internet for purposes of developing business based on relationships and reputation. By referencing what the legal marketing association was writing, I caused them to see me. As they saw me, they appreciated what I was sharing. At the same time, I was providing value to my readers. I was building influence, I was building reputation, I was getting invited to speak, and I grew my business as a result of being a leader in the area by being invited to speak. And I did that routinely. There were certain publishers, whether it was blog publishers, reporters, or whatever that provided a value to my readers when I shared what they wrote. I was aggregating, if you will. I was becoming the authority, so that people could follow relevant information.

I arrived at the ABA tech show a year after I started a blog and I really didn’t know what I was doing with a blog. This was 2003, maybe 2004. People came up to me and they said, “Kevin, I really appreciate your blog. I really enjoyed reading it.” I’m thinking “really, you know, all I’m doing is sharing what I’m learning.” But what I was learning was the concept of blogging. I was following smarter people than I who were sharing their insight and commentary as to what blogging meant, what it was all about, and how you went about it. And because of that, I was an intelligence agent for my audience, if you will. So you can get engaged by following what other people are going on, and that type of blogging is very very very powerful. Now you have to know how to use a news aggregator, something called Felix, or know how to set up alerts and listen on Twitter, so you can see what’s being talked about because then you’re referencing the right people. You’re entering the room, so you’re engaging that conversation that I talked about  while back. That’s one style of blogging.

There’s thousands of ways of blogging just to answer questions for people. There’s powerful, powerful ways to blog. People wonder, “what are the keywords that I need to follow? What might people be searching?” Just tell the people in the office to grab a legal pad and write “blog” on the top of it and write down the questions you get from existing clients, prospective clients, anybody. You can become an expert on it. If I’m doing litigation in my office and clients are asking questions about a deposition or about requests for production or about a motion for summary judgment then I’m an authority by answering those questions, but I’m answering those questions in a way that’s really helping people. I remember, back probably 16 or 17 years ago, a lawyer called me from Florida. This was right when I was starting to blog out of my garage. I didn’t know what it was, and I was shocked when this lawyer (and another lawyer) started to call me while I was literally in my garage. He said, “Gee Kevin, you have this blog and you’re talking about blogging. What am I supposed to blog on? I see the other lawyers blogging about movies and restaurants and things like that. What would I do?” I asked what he did. He did asset protection work in Florida. Now I knew from being a lawyer for quite awhile (doing work for banks, mostly thinking about the debtor side), that Florida had at a homestead exemption statute that allowed 100% homestead exemption. This meant that if you’re in the north of if you’re in other places in the country, and your business was going down and you were at risk of losing all of the assets that your family had whether your house and everything you own, then you could take those assets, sell them, and then move to Florida and buy a big house. And your house was exempt. Your creditors could not get to that. A manager of a baseball team did that to get out of Washington DC, I think as a lawyer.

So I told him, as I said, you know, “are you getting questions all the time, relating to homestead exemption issues?” He said “Absolutely I get them all the time, and nd what I what I try to do is to answer a little bit of them for people, and I put together reports and I send them out that’s how I make my business I’m charging 20 $500 per report analysis that goes out to people around the country as far as what they can do. If they were to protect their assets by getting, you know, buying a home in Florida.” And I said “well why don’t you just make a list of the questions you’re getting? And just answer them. They don’t have to be long; it can be, you know, a paragraph or two.” And he did that, and those reports that were going maybe less than once a week, grew to two or three times a week, by virtue of people who were finding him based on the questions that he answered. It wasn’t just the fact that people were finding the questions and answers alone. It was the trust he was developing. He was kind enough, personally, to answer those questions based on what he grew to know over the years, from being a caring lawyer. He was a Northwestern and Harvard grad and a great lawyer, but he was also caring enough for people and people could see it by just answering those questions. Think how easy that would be to do that. Turn all of the emails that you respond to and answer into questions, and then put the answers to them in a blog in a way that demonstrates that you care. You can do things to reshape content that’s already available through government sources. There was a time when I wanted to test that and see how it would work;  I just went to the Department of Labor site and looked up what I was focusing on. I don’t think I could do it again, but by reshaping that content organizing that content, you know in a specialist law blog was ranked, I don’t know two or three or number one on the first page of Google, without doing more than that, my goal wasn’t to necessarily get ranked but I wanted to see if that information was available. You know today if somebody wanted to start a blog in Washington about HOA and condominiums with the pandemic going on and the issues that arise for residents for for trustees, then there’s actually information on the state of Washington site where they can get that information for free because it’s not copyright protected and begin to share that information. So there’s lots of different ways that you can blog. Take a look at other successful bloggers, what they’re doing, and then develop your own style. You’re not going to know your style right away, but you will know your strategy. If it’s going to be reporting on an ultra, ultra niche. And I think a lot of those niches are still available: a particular type of issue in a particular state, like a metro area.

When to post that and the frequency of posting! Lawyers tend to get wigged out about that; some people will tell them “Your blog isn’t going to be influential unless you’re posting two or three times a week. Gee, if your blog has any gaps in time you’re going to embarrass yourself; you’re gonna look like you don’t know what you’re doing you better not post a blog.” Believe me. Nobody is bookmarking your blog and coming back to it and checking to see if you wrote anything this morning; it’s just not the case. Those days on the internet or over. Think of your blog as like this. You’re like the sports reporter; you’re like the columnist in a newspaper. When you post a column, people see it, or they browse over to it as they skim through a newspaper. Today, they’re skimming through content, all different ways, whether it’s through social media or news aggregators or email notifications. So when you post, people will see it. No one is going to hold it against you if there’s gaps in time when you don’t publish. When they’re beginning to blog, I tell lawyers, don’t set yourself up for failure because it’s going to be like a fish file in the back of the offices where the longer the file sits back there, the more you feel guilty that you haven’t done anything with it. You don’t want to have that blog feeling guilty because you told yourself that you would blog two or three times a week, and now you’re in the third week and youI haven’t even gotten as good as the first week. When you start, maybe it’s to put up two posts a month. It’s pretty darn good. How much content have you shared and answers to questions you publicly answered on a niche in the last year to make available to people? How many times have you referenced another article, so that you would meet the party on the other end of the line or last year to do it 24 times, probably not. How many questions have you answered with information you could share from a government site? As you start to feel the enjoyment of blogging, I’m picking up my style and getting feedback from other people. I sent this to a reporter and said, “Keep up the good job! I shared your story with my readers today, and they responded or maybe they became your connection on LinkedIn.” You’re feeling the passion associated with blogging, you’re enjoying it.

You’ll do more, you might get up to once a week, you might get busy in the practice of law and go 2, 3, 4 weeks. It’s okay. It’s okay. You don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. No question: as you establish your reputation and you come out, you’re now going to be recognized as a state or national leader. It isn’t going to happen in the first month. No way. It isn’t going to happen in the first month. You’re going to start to notice things maybe after 180 days, something’s going on, maybe 360. I tell people that if they’re following your good information doing effective blogging, they’re probably going to think this was the best thing I’ve done as far as developing business. Somewhere between that year two, they’re going to feel it’s a life changing event. It is a life changing event for them. It’s doing things for themselves, their family, their kids, you know, it’s just changing everything, if they’re blogging effectively. If they’re not, you know, hiring somebody to put content on the internet for them, that type of thing. So don’t beat yourself up on the web.

How? Just open up WordPress and begin to blog. You don’t need to have somebody else put up that content for you; it’s not that hard. If you can use email, you can publish a blog; I used to tell people that back in 2004. You’re just opening it up and putting content in there and you’re talking. I think of it from the standpoint of being the late night radio host or DJ, you’re talking to your audience out there you got a talk show, whatever, back in the days when people weren’t screaming at each other.

And that’s all it is. I think that thinking about it, seeing it up on the screen after you keyed it in, digesting it, pushing the button, and letting it go is a nice way of blogging, as opposed to trying to write it up someplace over here, dictating it, or having somebody else put the content in for you. That’s me. I think there’s something to be gained by digesting the information as you put it up on the screen. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not that it’s not perfect. You know I post blog posts, and only after their up, and I realize that people are sharing them on Twitter or whatnot that I better take a look to see how I butchered the grammar, and how many typos I have in it. I’ve had emails, people could tell me “Hey, you didn’t mean this you meant that.’ “Gee, thank you.” I’m not overly concerned about that. I’m not overly concerned if I’m talking to somebody, whether it’s in my office, which we don’t do now or a meeting or a conference about using every precise word. I’m more concerned with, whether or not I’m sharing things that people would value. If they would appreciate that type of thing. So the “how” doesn’t have to be something you need to be wigged out about. We could probably do a whole book on posting, and the types of blogs, but you know, the what, the when, the how. I break it down into that, you know, on the posting.

We’ll get this up on YouTube. We’ll get it transcribed in a short period of time, and we’ll break it down into a series. Again, check out Blog for Good. See if your state’s participating. If it is, you’re going to have a light shined on you as a blogger for the insight and commentary that you’re providing as a blogger. That’s going to be broadcasted across your state as participating bar associations, and we’re building those sites for every bar association in the country, whether they’ve asked for it or not, and so we’ll be knocking on the doors of bars. And if you don’t blog, let us know. We’ll get you a blog for free if you’re in one of those participating associations.

I hope you guys all have a great day. Take care.