Effective blogging is essential to making the most of your social media presence and attracting prospective clients to your website, legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley says.
Every year, hundreds of Illinois lawyers share their knowledge with thousands of colleagues through the ISBA's Law Ed program. Here's a look at just a few minutes of a representative presentation. For a complete list of ISBA online and live CLE, visit www.isba.org/cle.
Stephen Fairley, CEO, The Rainmaker Institute
With Facebook membership topping one billion and other social media platforms registering their own eye-popping numbers, lawyers who want more clients must have a social-media presence, says legal marketing expert Stephen Fairley. And "[you can't] do social media adequately without having a blog," Fairley told attendees at the most recent ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference. "I believe they are interdependent. The more content you produce, the more effective your social media will be."
Information, not self-promotion
And by "content" Fairley means useful information, not self-promotion. "This is not an advertisement. This is education, not 'hire me now.'" A good blog post would be a 250-400 word article about a legal topic in your area of concentration - say, dog-bite law in Illinois.
Every time you post a new blog entry on your website, "you push it out to your social media platform," Fairley said. "Whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, JDSupra, Avvo, whatever. And then you put a link back to your website."
Importantly, though, you don't post the entire article on a social media site. The point, Fairley says, is to drive traffic to your website landing page. "You might put a paragraph with a link to read more. And that link takes them back to your blog." That, in turn drives website traffic, he said.
"The point of [having a social media presence] is not just to have a lot of people liking you on Facebook," Fairley said. "It's to drive more of those people…back to your website. Of those people who are interested, a small percentage will pick up the phone or send you an email."
Many visits means a few leads
And that percentage is very small indeed, Fairley says. "Do you know what the average conversion rate on a website is?" He asked Solo and Small Firm Conference attendees. "In other words, if you have a hundred website visitors, how many will actually make contact with you? One to three is a pretty decent number," he said.
"Most of you aren't even getting that. Which is why you don't feel like your website is working," Fairley said. Delivering blog posts to your social media platforms increases your website traffic and thus your odds of connecting with a prospective client. "You can use social media to build a big platform to drive traffic back to your website by [delivering a blog post] including a read-more link."
How many blog posts is enough? One per week? Per day? "We have clients who deliver 60 posts a month," Fairley said. One California-based personal injury lawyer Fairley works with posts 250 blog entries a month.
"You may be surprised to learn that he takes three to four months, not weeks, of vacation a year. He has people working for him who write the blog content. Now, he's in one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world. He's a personal injury attorney in Los Angles, and there are more than a couple of them," Fairley said.
"For most of you who are not PI attorneys, if you're doing 10 to 20 posts a month, that's a really good effort. And Google will reward you for that," he said, noting that an important byproduct of posting fresh content and driving more traffic to your website is SEO - search engine optimization.
"SEO is the art and practice of getting your website to the top of the page on Google," Farley said. The search-engine behemoth designs its algorithm to reward deliverers of fresh content. "I used to say 'content is king,' but now I say 'content is king, queen, jack, and ace,'" Fairley said. "It is everything. If you don't have [a stream of fresh content], you need to start producing it."