Thought-leader and legal marketing expert Molly Porter recently wrote about the new curated blogging platform that LinkedIn is introducing to spotlight industry thought-leaders and how that may have a profound effect on law firm content marketing strategies.
One provocative idea that she shares is that LinkedIn’s changes may eventually make law firm websites superfluous.
It’s an interesting idea (one that has been debated since Facebook came on the scene, and probably before that). But in our opinion, there are two significant reasons why this is not likely any time soon.
- Marketing crossroad.
In the fractured universe of the web, where information about an attorney is scattered on dozens of sites like LinkedIn, JDSupra, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia, as well as throughout your firm’s website, there needs to be a “home-base.” The attorney bio is evolving to be that home-base – a repository of an attorney’s entire thought leadership, social media activity, and personal interests.
- Safeguarding your firm’s brand.
Communicating the firm’s brand to outside constituencies, as well as internal audiences such as the firm’s attorneys and staff, is one of the greatest benefits of a firm’s website. Handing off control of your branding to another entity, such as LinkedIn, is a risky move that law firms (and other companies) will avoid.
Making it all work together.
The promise offered by LinkedIn’s new blogging platform that Molly’s piece discusses, and those of other social media sites, is tremendous. Attorneys should embrace all those venues. They’re perfect places to repurpose their best content and ideas.
But to help potential clients understand the value that a particular attorney can offer, the first step is to create worthwhile content.
Worthwhile content opens doors, builds reputations and removes doubt. But for it to further the attorney’s business goals, it needs to complement everything else that the attorney is doing and has done. One way to ensure that is by driving readers back to the attorney’s bio page, where they can see other reputation-enhancing information, such as success stories and past accomplishments. Here’s an example.
For many firms, turning the attorney’s bio into a “home-base” may mean re-conceiving the format of the firm’s bio pages. Here’s a recent blog post that we wrote that addresses this concept: Content Drives Everything.
The bottom-line: the challenge is not where to place great content on the web – but how to create something worthwhile that people want to share and induces the phone to ring.
Thanks for the mention Robert! I love your title and the image 🙂 In case your readers are interested, I just posted a new blog about 6 big digi comms strategies for 2013 and beyond. While I don’t think websites are going to become extinct, I do think the boundaries that separate them from other web or digital properties are becoming fuzzier. http://www.mollyporter.com/2012/10/22/6-big-digi-comms-strategies-for-2013-and-beyond/
Robert – you nailed it spot on with the “home base” bullet. This goes to the heart of the lawyer-or-firm argument, about which one should be the priority.
I might come across a lawyer on some various social media site but I’ll still want to check him out within the confines of his “home”, his law firm. I’d want to see what his practice group is like, what his team is like, etc.
The flip side is equally true — I might know that This Firm does good work in the space I need. I’ll check out the relevant lawyers. Then I’ll want to see what specific lawyers have on LinkedIn, whether they tweet, perhaps they might have something up on JD Supra…. I think we all agree that all things being equal, lawyers that offer more relevant content will improve their odds of landing the new client or winning the bid than those that don’t.
I think it’s interesting – without being critical about this – that some argue for one platform in favor of – or even to the exclusion of – others. It seems logical that the more platforms you have, the better, assuming you work each one to its unique benefits. Having a “home base” to tie them all together, as you say, makes it easiest for a prospect. Your Out Of Office Matt example is perfect – within less than a minute, I feel I have a sense of who he is.
End of the day, people hire those they feel they know best and those that make the search easiest.