Jamie LaPlante is a labor and employment attorney in Columbus, Ohio for Bailey Cavalieri. Jamie represents and advises employers on a variety of legal matters, including compliance, discrimination, affirmative action, and more. She is also the author of the blog Ohio Employment Law Matters, a fairly new blog discussing labor, employment, affirmative action, and website accessibility law.
Bob and Jamie discuss the ways in which her work and blogging have changed in the last several months due to COVID-19. Jamie then shares how she became interested in blogging, how LexBlog helped her establish her own blog, and how her blogging style has evolved. She further discusses what she thinks makes a good blog, her marketing and publishing strategies, and benefits that she’s gained because of her blog. They also touch upon her blog audience and schedule, as well as advice for future bloggers.
Here’s the full episode and, down below, we have a selection of the best exchanges:
So you have the blog, Ohio Employment Law Matters, which is fairly new—a year and a half years old, I think you launched in in June 2019. How did you get into blogging in the first place?
When I was at my prior firm, as an associate, we were told to blog. I actually really liked it and I thought it was a good way to get just enough information out there that people know what you’re talking about and also realize “Hey I have that issue I’ve never thought of until it’s going to turn really bad; I’d better seek advice.” You have to strike a good balance there, but I thought it was a good marketing tool, and I think that my prior firm was on the front end there because now everybody has blogs. When I switched firms, I thought that I should get one of my own.
What did you want to do with the blog? Did you want it to be the same as the one at your prior firm, or did you want to do things differently?
I wanted to do things a little differently. I thought the posts we did at my prior firm were a little bit too long. I like to keep them as something that someone can digest on their cell phone—something that’s typewritten on your computer and is a full single-spaced page is not something that someone can digest on a smartphone while they’re sitting waiting for something while they’ve got five minutes to kill. That’s what I like to keep blogs to—something that someone can scroll through and decide “Does this even matter to me?” or “Do I wanna read this really in-depth?” So I like to keep them short, although some of them on the coronavirus get a little bit more lengthy because that’s so complex.
Who do you want you audience to be?
I try to write it so that someone who does not have a law degree can read it easily and digest. So the typical HR person or business owner or someone who needs business law advice would read it. I try not to write it so that it can only be read by a lawyer.
Did you launch the blog primarily as a marketing tool, to help build up your clientele?
Yeah, but not just to build up clients, but to build credibility so that when people are looking for local counsel, they know that you know what you’re talking about. They can look at your writing and what you’re writing about. It’s also good for building up a reputation. It’s not just about gaining new clients; it’s about building and practicing. It’s not an immediate thing, but I know that people are reading my posts, particularly during COVID, when I would send out posts to people in my firm, saying “Make sure your clients are seeing this; this is stuff they need to know right now” because the law was changing on a day to day basis. I know that people were calling me saying “I read your post, but I don’t really understand this piece of it.” So, during that piece of time, I definitely got work. It was working in the short-term, but at the same time, those long-term, practice-building gains take awhile.
How often do you write a blog post?
I try to do a couple a month and every single time something new comes out. So, if there is a new law, I will absolutely do a new post for that, but otherwise, I will try to fill in with things that people should be thinking about if there’s nothing new coming down. I predict that if we have a new administration coming in, we’re going to have a lot of changes. 2021 will probably be a flurry of new activity, especially at the agency level, so I’ll be doing a lot of blogging at a development level. But when there’s lulls, there’s always interesting cases where people can learn something from what someone either did right or wrong.
How else has your approach to blogging changed?
I try to always include a header picture. I also try to inject more humor. I was a lot more serious in my writing early on because you’re a lawyer and you’re supposed to be. I try to make them a little catchier now, if I have time to think of something catchy to say. I got kind of cutesy with some of the titles early on in the pandemic, and then sometimes they’re just plain boring. I think I’ve evolved in understanding what works in that area but doesn’t undermine my credibility.
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