Law firm marketing truth

Scott Greenfield takes me to task about my comment that a busy lawyer can have a ghostwriter help out in blog posts. He apparently believes that only the lawyer should write the post … and perhaps he further believes (though I don’t want to put words into his writing) that lawyers should not market their expertise … or that blogging is not a marketing tool.

I appreciate the opportunity he gives me to expand my thoughts on this subject further.  What follows is my response to Scott:

I truly enjoyed reading your comments on what I did not say; quite amusing. I think, however, that you miss the true value of blawging (blogging). It is to convey value, to convey information and to convey help to the reader. Oh, yes, it can be to vent and it can be to journal, but that was not the context in which I made my comment.  Lawyers use the blawging process to communicate their existence to the world – to express their expertise so as to make prospective clients aware of them … and, hopefully, to become clients.  If this is true, and I believe it to be and can point to many examples, then it is a marketing tool.  Just as large firms have marketing and business development departments, producing quality material that may or may not be written by attorneys (but for which the attorneys/law firm are responsible), so to can blogging be performed under the direction of an attorney though not written by him/her.

Attorneys do not do everything done in a law firm. That doesn’t make the information or the service a “scam.”  There are trial briefs written by paralegals — is this a scam? There are deposition summaries written by paralegals — is this a scam? There are many things done for lawyers under the lawyers direction/responsibility that provide benefit for clients .. and enable lawyers to more effectively market their services to new prospects.

Take this out of the context of the law office, there are many books written for famous people that appropriately convey the intent and meaning of the “author.” Are these scams? Does the public not get value in better understanding the character and message of the famous person? Lee Iacoca is one that comes to mind quickly. We learned a lot about him, his life and his message … though he didn’t write the book himself.

Blogging is not the last, great American novel … it is a business tool. As such, one can take a business-like approach to its application. Google certainly does, so I’m not sure why you don’t.

Again, thanks for writing about my belief system and allowing me the opportunity to expand on it a bit more … though I certainly didn’t say all the things you said I said. <g>

As a further thought, not mentioned in my response to Scott, is that lawyers are concerned about and would like to earn more money than they spend, enough more to provide nice, even extravagant, life styles for their families. (Of course, the sad truth is that 50%, according to recent surveys, of lawyers earn less than $100,000 per year; 25% earn less than $50,000 per year.)

If blogging is a tool that helps lawyers achieve economic gain … and if ghostwriting is a necessary implement to make the blog go because the lawyer is busy providing service to clients, then so be it. This writer, for one, sees nothing immoral about that … it is not a scam when you provide information and true value to your readers.

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