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Everything About Viral Marketing Blog

When you're interested in starting viral marketing campaigns for your law firm, you may turn to blogs for advice or as part of your marketing strategy.  Starting a viral marketing blog that can attract readers through social media and word of mouth buzz can be tough, but it's also worthwhile: over half of lawyers at small firms who maintain a blog say that they've gotten new business as a direct result of their blogs, and large firms usually see an uptick in media requests and speaker invitations when their blogs take off.  This guide can help you get your viral marketing blog off the ground and avoid the most common pitfalls companies new to viral marketing blogs often make.

Astroturfing and Fake Buzz: The Wrong Approach

When Wal-Mart was facing political opposition for underpaying its workers and engaging in illegal business practices, a “grassroots” blog called Working Families For Wal-Mart was created.  While this blog purported to be written by regular people who liked the low prices they could find at Wal-Mart, it turned out to be a blog written entirely by Edelman, a PR firm that had been hired specifically to create the look of a grassroots effort.

Because it's a fake version of grassroots, this kind of viral marketing blog is called “astroturfing.”  Instead of making Wal-Mart seem more easy to relate to, the revelation that the blog was faked made the rounds of the media, earning ridicule and scorn for both Edelman and Wal-Mart.  

Using astroturfing for viral media blogs is a short-sighted strategy that depends completely on your viewers being too ignorant to know the difference between real grassroots contributions and advertising.  When Sony used an astroturfed viral media blog to promote its new PSP system, the falsehoods were quickly exposed and the company's reputation took a major hit.

For law firms, it's even more critical not to try to generate fake buzz or start astroturfed viral marketing blogs.  If your law firm's viral marketing blog misrepresents itself, you could be in violation of state bar association ethics rules and face significant penalties.  If you use astroturf viral marketing blogs to criticize a competitor, you could also potentially be held civilly liable for defamation.

The Right Way to Generate Traffic From Viral Marketing Blogs

If astroturf is the wrong approach for a viral marketing blog, what's the right one?  You can win loyalty for your viral marketing blogs by making sure that you are completely transparent about who's writing and what their qualifications are.  Make sure that whoever writes entries for your viral marketing blog is qualified to talk about the kinds of topics covered in the blog—it's not enough to just hand this responsibility off to an intern or someone brand new.

The best viral marketing blogs have an audience in mind when they start.  You don't necessarily need a huge audience to make your viral marketing blog take off.  Just twenty regular readers can be a great reader base, if they're the right twenty readers.  Who's your audience: other attorneys, or consumers of legal services?  There are advantages to both.  Other attorneys visiting your viral marketing blog can pass your entries on to still more lawyers, increasing the number of referrals your firm receives. 

Marketing your viral marketing blogs directly to consumers has obvious benefits, but also has some (perhaps less obvious) drawbacks to consider.  While attorneys in some legal practice areas have an easier time marketing directly to consumers—for instance, personal injury and criminal defense lawyers—it's unlikely that many legal consumers will do a lot of research on viral marketing blogs pertaining to the finer points of tax law.

Remember: it's always best to play to your strengths.  If you're great at talking about complicated technical topics to other lawyers, your viral marketing blog will probably be most successful when you aim your articles at fellow attorneys.  If you are proud of your ability to break tough legal concepts down into easily digestible chunks for clients, client-focused viral marketing blogs may be more your speed.

Creating a Viral Marketing Blog

Getting started on viral marketing blogs can be pretty intimidating, especially if you've never worked on a personal blog of any kind before.  Whether or not you've kept a blog before, today's stat counts and analytics for law firms using a viral marketing blog can be positively byzantine.  It may be a good idea to have a specialized marketing company help you actually create your viral marketing blogs.

Before you make your viral marketing blog go live, you'll want to have content already produced for several weeks or even months.  You should still leave room for substantial additional content, if a breaking news event or new case happens that you want to weigh in on.

No matter what, it's best to limit your posts to any viral marketing blogs to a few per week at most.  Updating too frequently can make people feel overwhelmed, and will drive them away from your viral marketing blog.  If you update too rarely, though, or get swamped soon after starting your viral marketing blogs and stop posting new content, your readers will drop off quickly.  It's a fine balance, and the amount you post should usually depend on the quality and length of content: you can have fewer, longer, more in-depth entries, or more short blurbs.

The Viral Marketing Blog Lifecycle

Nothing lasts forever, and viral marketing blogs are no different.  Usually, a viral marketing blog will start out with just a few readers, expand its readership for some time, and then slowly start to fade from popularity.  If your viral marketing blogs aren't as popular as they used to be, you may want to try revitalizing them with new, relevant types of content: for instance, video blogging may be a good way to change up what you're doing and attract some new viewers.

If changes don't seem to work, though, consider starting from scratch with a new viral marketing blog concept.  Maybe you've just said all you have to say about a certain topic, and the repetitiveness is showing—or maybe you just need a different topic to focus on so you can get out of your rut.  Either way, new blogs mean new opportunities and new business as long as you're ready, willing, and able to maintain great content.