Three No-Cost Ways to Promote Your Law Firm’s Website and Legal Blog
By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
“If you build it, he will come.” That memorable line spurs Ray Kinsella to build a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield in the now-classic film Field of Dreams.
But building the field is only the beginning. Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, then must drive halfway across the country to retrieve one of the film’s main characters, writer Terence Mann, and another ballplayer, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, and bring them back to the field of dreams.
“If you build it, clients will come,” is often the marketing philosophy lawyers adopt when they discuss law firm websites or legal blogs. Attorney websites and blawgs are indeed important first steps in any legal marketing effort. Like the baseball field in the film, websites and blogs are ultimate destinations to which you hope to attract traffic.
But once you build an online presence, you still need to reach out to prospective clients to get them to come.
Here are three free ways in which you can extend a virtual hand and invite people into your space.
1. Find a legal blog or LinkedIn Group that covers your practice area outside your geographic location.
Whether you’re a traffic lawyer, an attorney who handles DUIs or a divorce lawyer, you have colleagues in other states who are writing about their practices. Find a blawg that you think is well done and that has a writing style or approach that resonates with you. Subscribe to it and, when you read a post that you find compelling, leave a comment. You could discuss why you liked the post, explain how the law in your jurisdiction differs or add to the discussion.
By reaching out to attorneys in other jurisdiction, you can start setting building blocks for a referral relationship.
And because people with legal problems use the Internet to find the answers to their questions, they’re not always going to limit their searches by location. In leaving a comment and noting your geographic location in the text, you might attract a new client who has also found his or her way to that blog during the information-gathering process. If the blog allows you to provide a link back to your own blog or website, it will be easy for the prospective client to get to you with just a click.
2. Find a blog or LinkedIn group that complements your practice and leave a comment.
Who are the outside experts you routinely turn to when working on a case? If you’re a criminal defense lawyer, it might be DNA experts. Personal injury attorneys often work with forensic economists. Whatever your practice area, there are typically groups of professionals outside the legal profession to whom you turn for information, advice and even testimony.
Find out where they gather on the Internet. It might be a blog. It could be a LinkedIn Group. Follow the discussions and, when you read a post to which you have something relevant to add, write a comment.
As in the first suggestion, consistent efforts to reach out and share your expertise can go a long way toward building profitable relationships, strengthening your referral network and leading people back to your own website or blog.
3. Interact with a blog or LinkedIn Group that is not related to your practice but is centered on your geographic area.
Clients want a lawyer who is not only an expert but also someone they like. Why not try connecting with people in a different way — as a business owner, a parent balancing work and family, a community volunteer or a school alumnus?
Any lawyer who has attended a nonlegal function knows that it doesn’t take long for people to find out that you’re a lawyer, and soon the legal questions are coming fast and furious. The same holds true for the Internet. Visit places where there aren’t many lawyers and you’ll soon be labeled as “the lawyer” of the group.
Consistent, Steady Legal Marketing Outreach
Make it your goal of completing one step a week, and within a few months you’ll see results. It will not only drive traffic to your website or blog but also help you forge new relationships and, ultimately, expand both your client base and the paths leading to your virtual door.
As Mann tells Kinsella in Field of Dreams: “Ray, people will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it.”
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Finally, I can’t conclude a post that touches on baseball without mentioning that Opening Day is almost here. Go Cards!