I was on call last week with the marketing director of a midsize law firm which is publishing four legal blogs.

The firm’s CFO questioned the value of the blogs. How much time were the firm’s lawyers putting into the blogs – and in turn, how much business was being generated by the blogging?

Legitimate questions as the ROI of legal blogging should be measured in terns of revenue. In the case of this firm, the ROI was not there.

The marketing director and CFO thought generating more traffic to the blogs and in turn their website – through search performance and other means – was the answer.

My question was how did the firm generate its work over the years, it’s a good firm.

The answer was relationships between the firm’s lawyers, referral sources, the business community, potential clients and existing clients. Relationships, combined with the lawyers having strong names as authorities in their respective fields.

I explained that traffic, alone, to blogs and the website is much akin to traffic and eyeballs as they related to billboards, radio, television and other forms of advertising. Things the firm never did nor believes in.

Rather than traffic, we needed to look at whether the blogs were developing relationships and a strong reputation for lawyers in the firm.

Nothing changes when it comes to developing business via blogging, it’s networking, just networking through the Internet.

Accordingly, we reviewed a number of items I thought worth sharing with you.

  • Blog focus being awfully broad. It’s tough to build a name and open the door to relationships when covering broad areas of the law such as business law or estate planning. Tight niches inside these areas, especially ones like to grow are key.
  • Tone of writing, Blogs should be written in a business dinner conversation tone, not necessarily like a brief. Let people hear you talk, your sense of humor, your care and your tone. People need to get a feel as to who you are.
  • Identify potential blog champions. Not every lawyer is wired to develop business. The Internet didn’t change this. Who’s pumped to build a name, be a star in a niche, build relationships with people and to be a leader. Who won’t let you down when you empower them and get out of the way? Who won’t have you chasing them done to pen a blog post? Who will be a good champion that other hard charging lawyers in your firm will follow?
  • Brief posts sharing what you read offering your take. That’s what people are looking for, someone who is following a niche and sharing what they see. Posts need not be, and probably should not be, one thousand words or more.
  • Lawyers need to be using social media when blogging. Publishing a post and not taking it “out” for engagement is nuts. A lawyer with a robust LinkedIn profile, personally needs to be sharing a synopsis of the post on LinkedIn with an accompanying link. The lawyer should look for likes and comments of the post on LinkedIn. Then connect and engage with these folks. Feed the algorithms so your posts will be displayed in front of the people you’re trying to reach.
  • Reference relevant influencers in posts. They’ll see you and engage with you. Maybe it’s an association you’d like to speak in front of. Maybe it’s reporters and bloggers in your niche.
  • Share posts, as appropriate, with client’s, referral sources and potential clients. An email with a post of yours or a partner’s telling them you were thinking of them because of an earlier matter or something else relevant does the trick.

Rather than traffic, search and eyeballs, focus on what brung you. If it’s relationships and reputations, make your blogs grow relationships and reputations. It can be done – and it’s easier than you think.