When you're creating blogs for your law firm, you have a huge number of choices to make. Since some of those choices are so huge, like deciding what topic to use for your law blog, it can be hard to remember some of the other decisions you'll have to make. One of the biggest in the long term can be whether to brand your law blog with your law firm, or whether to have attorneys maintain their own blogs that are only indirectly tied to your website. Both of these approaches have significant advantages and disadvantages, and which one your law firm should use depends largely on what kind of marketing campaigns you're planning to run.
What Does it Mean to Brand Your Blog?
A blog that is branded with a law firm's name may be hosted on the website for the law firm, or may simply include the firm's name on its title page. If you're branding your law blog, it means that the opinions being expressed in that blog will be considered by readers to be the opinions of your firm as a whole.
It's also possible for your attorneys to have their own blogs, which would usually have a link back to your blog in the sidebar, but only just as a reference for where the attorney works. Depending on their blog's content, the attorney might also occasionally link back to your firm. This kind of blog can be promoted in social media by your firm in many of the same ways that a branded blog can be, but the opinions expressed on it will be those of a particular attorney, and may not always represent the opinions of the firm as a whole.
Why Would Branded Blogs Be Problematic?
In some cases, social media experts actually recommend against having branded blogs if you want to have high quality blog writing. Why? The sad truth is that many branded law firm blogs have historically contained too much garbled SEO content and too little actual quality writing. If you are planning to have a well written blog, it can sometimes be an uphill battle to be taken seriously when your blog is also being used expressly as a marketing tool.
Attorney blogs, because they can be more personal and don't have the “corporate” vibe that some branded law blogs can give off, can sometimes be a better choice for authenticity. If individual voices and authenticity are major components of your marketing strategy, you may want to consider this kind of blog instead of having a firm-wide branded blog.
Can You Still Create a Good Branded Blog?
Just because branded blogs can carry some stigma doesn't mean that you should automatically cross them off your list of possibilities. As long as you're committed to providing quality content and you link your blog from social media sources, you can still get great play from your branded blog.
There are several things that branded blogs actually do substantially better than non-branded ones. The biggest one is probably search engine optimization. SEO for your law firm will be easier with a branded blog because your firm's name will appear more times in the page and will be more likely to draw the attention of major search engines like Google and Bing. The key is quality content that has goals and direction. Don't make your blog entries seem like glorified advertisements. Keep your advertising separate from your blogging and make sure that every blog entry you create is informative to the kinds of clients that your firm hopes to attract.
Non-Branded Attorney Blogs: Still a Great Tool
You may think that because a non-branded attorney blog wouldn't help as much with search engine optimization, that it might not be very useful for your firm. However, SEO strategies are only the beginning of online legal marketing techniques today. A non-branded attorney blog, especially if it's about a specific practice area, can actually still be a fantastic way to market your firm.
How? Simply put, no matter what, when an attorney works for your firm, they're connected to you. If they're writing an excellent blog entry that goes viral, getting traffic from major legal blogs or even mainstream blogs, the linking blogs will often include a link to your firm as well. This kind of reputation enhancement can serve your firm very well and set you apart from the competition, especially if your attorneys get a reputation online for being helpful and informative.
Make sure that you're keeping an eye on attorney blogs. Your attorneys need to be showing the best side of your firm, and you don't want for an entry made hastily to reflect poorly on your firm's other lawyers.
Your attorneys should also pay attention to their comments sections and make sure they are well moderated. Spam comments will reflect poorly on their writing and the blog's overall placement in search engine results.
Getting the Most For Your Firm From Blogs
If you want to make sure that your law firm blog is getting the most traffic that it possibly can, you'll want to interact with other parts of the blogosphere as well. For example, you should consider commenting on other law blogs, as well as the social media profiles of other attorneys and law firms. You should also ask about the possibility of writing a guest post on a blog written by someone you professionally admire.
The more ways that you cross-promote your blog entries, the more successful you'll be. However, this means that you shouldn't overload your audience. Don't have a new blog post up every day—you're actually much more likely to have your posts read if you post only two or three times per week. This is a much more manageable amount of writing for your readers to look at, and won't cause anyone to unsubscribe from you because of the amount you're posting.