I was struck by a recent Reuters Institute study, which found 21% of people in the U.S. turn to independent journalists – entrepreneurs, as compared to 37% turning news brands, such as a news publishing company for news and information.
Sounds a lot like legal blogs and lawyers, where a growing number of people – in-house counsel to consumers – turn to independent lawyers, as opposed to solely traditional publishers.
Per the study, pre-Internet, a journalists’ career was inextricably linked with the news outlets they worked for.
But the rise of social media and other online publishing platforms has allowed many individual journalists – along with many others, whether activists, creators, influencers, or political figures – the opportunity to break away and build their own profiles independently of any particular news brand.
Same for lawyers. In the pre-internet age, lawyers looking to publish in order establish a brand and a book of business needed to go through gatekeepers who would decide who gets published and which articles would get published.
Publishers including bar journals, Thomson Reuters Westlaw, LexisNexis, Wolters Kluwer, Mathew Bender and the like had strong were the only brands in town.
Not so today. Lawyers publishing niched focused blogs have more credibility, in many people’s eyes, than general publishers.
Looking at the graph above, I’d bet blogging lawyers are right on the heels of traditional legal publishers as to whom the consumers of legal services turn to for trusted insight and commentary.
Assuming so, 21% of the legal commentators people turn being legal bloggers would be a heck of a number achieved in such a short time.