Localize Your Blog Posts

Good afternoon to the rest of the country, and good morning to Seattle and the West Coast. This is Legal Blogging in 45 chapters. We’re doing one chapter covering a short topic per day. I’ve been doing this for more than a month. We’re in chapter 24 now. We took some time off last week to catch our breath.

Today we’re talking about localizing your blog and blog posts. What do I mean by that? It may not be applicable to everybody, but the idea is to take your blog and use it to be really dedicated to people in your community. So you’re building your profile and your community. 

I’ll give you examples of localized blogs that really did extraordinarily well. Toronto Condo and HOA law was a huge success because the number of condominiums in Toronto and the number of properties covered by HOA, it’s a lot. So if you’re dedicated to the law of those people in Toronto, people are gonna feel comfortable that you’re the authority on the subject. Now there may not be Toronoto law per se; it may be provincial or maybe national in nature in Canada, I’m not sure. Another blog that did very very well is the Chicago IP Litigation blog. That blog was done by Dave Donohue; he cherry picked cases coming from the district court, and from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the district court in Chicago, and demonstrated that he covered the court and the tendency of the judiciary. So, people looking for local counsel, general counsel, whether it’s in the valley or whatnot, knew that Dave Donahue was the person that covered the area. He knew what the tendency of the judiciary was, and he covered it for them.

Don’t underestimate the power of these blogs. When we’re doing strategy consultations, I asked lawyers where clients are coming from. They say “oh they could be coming from all over the state; I could get referrals from other places in the country, or other lawyers.” I answer with “Well, where is 95% of your work coming from? Where is 85 80% of your work coming from? If you were a rock star in your field, where would you expect that work to be coming from?” Oftentimes it’s not from a huge geographic area. I practice in western Wisconsin. If I went four or five counties wide, that was plenty. We were buttressed against the Mississippi River, soIit wasn’t practicing in Minnesota; it was a small area. So think about that when you’re focusing your blog. Why not a blog dedicated to Des Moines Family Law or western Wisconsin Family Law? It doesn’t need to be Wisconsin Family Law because the law is already there… who cares? It’s about who you’re blogging to. It’s not necessarily the law. People that are looking for a family law lawyer or somebody who works on custody issues or visitation issues are not thinking about Wisconsin law. They’re thinking about where they live and wondering which lawyers are comfortable representing people in their area. They’re not thinking how lawyers think So get yourself outside of that. When you’re thinking about local focus, don’t get caught up in the law. Think about your locale. Your locale can be the title of the blog. So it could be any subject. It could be probate litigation for Minneapolis. It could be probate litigation for Seattle. Now, the law is actually for all of Washington. It’s not just for Seattle but who cares? It’s dedicated to people here. If you’re writing a magazine, you’re writing the book for people in that metro area. You’re it. And there aren’t going to be any other publications competing against you because every other lawyer can be too scared that they’re creating a niche. Well, there’s 4 million people here in Seattle. That’s more than enough people for you to develop a reputation and relationships. You don’t need to say “I need to represent the people in Spokane,” which is a much smaller city 280 miles away. If you get to Seattle and you have a reputation, and you wind up blogging on Washington probate litigation, you win. You don’t need to be blogging on Washington probate litigation. You could, but Seattle would be more than enough. 

Speak to the community. Be one of the community members in your blog. Lawyers get too carried away with writing legalese, writing things that would be for a court to look at or lawyers to look at. Nothing turns off people more than lawyers. We’re very low on the totem pole, maybe journalists are below, but we’re right there. We turn people off when we act like lawyers. The great thing about the internet is your ability to talk like people. To be “one of them” not “one of us”. So, talk with people as if you’re a member of the community. You can weave in aspects of the community. 

Engage the influencers in the community, the people who influence others in the community. They’re newspaper reporters. If I’m writing on Seattle family law or Des Moines, family law, maybe I should take a look at the Des Moines paper. Follow the subjects, and follow the stories that are related to family law issues, visitation issues, domestic abuse issues, and reference other stories in your blog post. Find your insight and commentary on it, let the reporter know that you covered it in your blog. You’re engaging the influencers. If you’re doing any kind of business work, look at the local Chamber of Commerce, look at the business publications in your community, look at your newspaper, look at other blogs. If you’re blogging, you’ll probably want to be following the West Seattle Blog because it has a huge readership. There’s also other publications that have readership. If you’re in Seattle, there’s Geekwire if you’re in the business. So you’ve got to know who those influencers are. You had to have those influential publications fed into your news aggregator so that you can see what’s there very quickly and reference those stories and build your reputation with those influencers. It’ll be those influencers who will then invite you to speak. Maybe it’s the local bar. Maybe it’s the Chamber of Commerce. But they’re not going to know who the hell they are unless you’re out shaking their hands with your blog by referencing their stories. 

So, one hugely brilliant post as to the legalease isn’t worth anything, compared to one post that could reference an influencer and get you known to the point that they invite you to speak. It wasn’t a blog post, but I was on Twitter this morning, and I shared something that intersected with Florida. Within about 15 minutes, the Florida Solo and Small Firm Lawyers, are saying something about it in their programs, and now we’re exchanging notes about me addressing the the solo and small firm lawyers in Florida about how to use the Internet for networking during the pandemic and how to use blogging and social media specifically because I’m reaching out to shake somebody’s hand. You should be doing this as a blogger; use the local language, reference the cities in the area. In Seattle it may be Ballard or Georgetown or Bellevue or Woodenville or Issahquah. Google is hearing you talk about this area; they know you’re engaging people in this area, and you’re concerned about people in this area. Because you’re speaking with people in the community, you’ve built the reputation in this area, especially as you begin to get citations from other publications in this area. They might be other legal blogs, even, but use the nomenclature of your community; weave that in your post. I think it’s a very effective way to blog to say, “I was speaking to a family that lived out in Woodenville about this type of situation.” You haven’t disclosed any confidence in any means by doing that, but what you have done is demonstrated that you do speak with people in the community and that people are familiar with you and maybe could talk to you too. You’re demonstrating to Google and everybody else that you’re talking to people in communities right here in the Seattle area, and you have all of those things around you. I had a small town; it might have been Vernon County or Crawford County and it might have been Monroe County. I’ve been using the terms of more towns in these areas to build influence. 

The last thing to think about is Google Local Search. You could set your blog (we’ll do it for you at LexBlog), so that you’re coming up with those three top post or search engine entries in Google. What happens is that when people do a search for “Toronto HOA lawyer”, etc., your publication is right there. It’s identified by you, as a lawyer because as you remember, your blog isn’t going to look a lot different to consumers or even to Google. It’s going to have information about who you are, how you contact you, and the type of services that you offer. It’s going to be just like a website, but it’s just going to be much more powerful than a website because it will help you in building your reputation, building relationships, and probably doing better in search. If you’re doing a good job on that. So again, it doesn’t apply to everybody, but localizing your blog and your blog post is one heck of a niche that sets you apart from everybody else who’s too afraid to focus down on that niche, a subject, just for this area. When you’re doing it, think about how your focus is local, the law is not. You’re just bringing the law for your state or the country to the businesses, consumers, and corporations in your area. Speak to make it feel like you’re talking to them. You’re not speaking with them; you’re engaging them for the influencers who are the community that might just speak. The newspaper business publication. Look for the influencers out there that you can follow. Engage with their stories, so that you’re going to start to get seen. Use local language so that Google understands that you’re talking about cities, counties, areas in your community, then register in your local Google search.

Do these things, and you can have life changing events with your blog. In about a year, you’re going to start to notice an awful lot. Within two years, it’s really going to be a life changing event you’re going to be doing the type of stuff that you enjoy doing for the type of clients you want to be representing in your practice. Have a great day.

Photo of Kevin O'Keefe Kevin O'Keefe

I am a trial lawyer, turned legal tech entrepreneur, now leading the largest community of legal publishers in the world at LexBlog, Inc.

I am a lawyer of 39 years. Wanting to be a lawyer since I was a kid, I have loved…

I am a trial lawyer, turned legal tech entrepreneur, now leading the largest community of legal publishers in the world at LexBlog, Inc.

I am a lawyer of 39 years. Wanting to be a lawyer since I was a kid, I have loved almost every minute of it.

I practiced as a trial lawyer in rural Wisconsin for 17 years, representing plaintiffs, whether they were injury victims and their family members or small businesses.

In the mid-nineties, I discovered the Internet in the form of AOL. I began helping people by answering questions on AOL message boards and leading AOL’s legal community.

I later started my own listservs and message boards to help people on personal injury, medical malpractice, workers compensation and plaintiff’s employment law matters. Though we were green to technology and the Internet, USA Today said if my firm “didn’t stop what we were doing, we would give lawyers a good name.”

In 1999, I closed my law firm and we moved, as a family of seven, to Seattle to start my first company. Prairielaw.com was a virtual law community of people helping people, a sort of AOL on the law, featuring message boards, articles, chats, listervs and ask-a-lawyer.

Prairielaw.com was sold to LexisNexis, where it was incorporated into Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyers.com.

After a stint as VP of Business Development at LexisNexis, I founded LexBlog out of my garage in 2004 (no affiliation with LexisNexis).

Knowing lawyers get their best work from relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation, and not promoting themselves, I saw blogging as a perfect way for lawyers to build relationships and a reputation.

When I could not find someone to help me with my own blog, I started a company to provide what I needed. Strategy, professional design, platform, coaching, SEO, marketing and free ongoing support.

As a result of the outstanding work of my team of twenty and my blogging, the LexBlog community has grown to a community of over 30,000 legal professionals, world-wide.

Publishing my blog, Real Lawyers, now in its 18th year, I share information, news, and commentary to help legal professionals looking to network online, whether it be via blogging or other social media.

Blogging also enables me to think through my ideas – out loud and in an engaging fashion.

In addition to my blog, I liberally share others’ insight on Twitter. Feel free to engage me there as well on LinkedIn and Facebook.