I recently came across two entertaining and informative blogs about practice management for lawyers and law firms.
David Bilinsky is a practice management advisor and staff lawyer with the Law Society of British Columbia. He writes and lectures on the subject of legal practice management and his blog, http://thoughtfullaw.com covers topics such as record management, technology, and law firm strategies.
This month, he wrote a series a blogs on the security of electronic documents that many lawyers will be interested in reading.
Allison Wolf’s insightful blog, www.thelawyercoach.com, discusses business development and legal marketing ideas for lawyers. Wolf, the founder of her own company that coaches lawyers on business development, offers her advice and links to the most recent articles on this subject.
Both blogs also comment frequently on personal development of lawyers and what lawyers can do to renew themselves and their legal practices.
Thanks for reading,
We thought it might be a good idea to follow up on the recent trends in legal blogging. One interesting blog is posted fairly regularly by Doug Jasinski , who writes an insightful blog about lawyers generally.
In his recent December 4, 2006 blog, Doug touches on the ever-important life balance that lawyers must maintain. He takes us to a recent study done by a group called Catalyst , who wrote a report: Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Lawyers State Their Case on Job Flexibility. The study involved 1400 lawyers and there were some helpful tips on what it means as a lawyer to have “flexible work hours”. Obviously, the use of technology plays an important role in allowing a fuller balance between family and work for many lawyers. We encourage you to take a look at this study.
All the best, Suzana and Ian.
Continuing with our review of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast of September 12, 2006, Debbie Weil reminds us that there truly is a ROB (Return on Blogs).
In her view, there are three central aspects of what you can expect to get out of blogging in a corporate environment. The first is buzz. This is the word-of-mouth that gets created about your product or service.
The second is "brand". In Debbie’s view, blogging can truly enhance your brand. If blogging is done properly, it really does make you or your company more authentic, more transparent, and as a result, more appealing.
The third aspect that Debbie describes is the "blooper effect". She indicates that if you have the open channel, established by having a blog, and something goes wrong in the process of providing your service or product, you have an avenue to publish a response and to address the issue directly.
This podcast certainly gave us both true inspiration as we have worked hard to provide a regular blog and certainly from ours and Debbie Weil’s perspective, it appears to be a venture that is financially worthwhile.
All the best,
Suzana and Ian.
Talkr is a program which takes a RSS feed and converts it into audio. You can take the feed from a blog or from a media source webpage, such as a headline in the New York Times, and Talkr will pull those feeds every hour and once a new entry is available, the text will be converted into audio format so that it can be listened to at your convenience, just like a podcast.
Another useful source of Talkr is that you can include a "listen to this" button to your blogpage, and the Talkr program will convert your blogposts into audio and allow those listeners who would prefer to listen instead of read, to access your blog in an audio format.
If you are interested in trying out the program quickly, it is installed on the Talkr blogpage.
Good luck in your review of this interesting and innovative social media tool.
All the Best,
Ian and Suzana
During Duct Tape Marketing’s August 16 2006 podcast, the host, John Jantsch, interviewed Seth Godin, who has just published a new book, Small is the New Big, which is essentially a compliation of Seth’s popular blogs.
The theme of this book is that big used to matter. Working for big companies used to be enviable, as big companies could defeat small companies with large marketing and advertising budgets. People were obsessed over the economies of scale and no one ever talked about economies of little.
However, Seth’s view is that when treat people with respect and as individuals, you have the flexibility to react to different changes and circumstances, in a sense you are acting small.
Seth points out that it doesn’t matter if you are a big or small businesses, rather he is saying that businesses must focus on how they act, and the way that they operate in their own economic environment. When you act small, you can eventually become big.
Therefore, Seth expresses that in his experience there does not seem to be any core relationship between the size of the business and how the business acts.
One of the significant changes over the past short while, in Seth’s view, is that people will now seek out information that they think is either important or interesting to them. As there are more alternatives, people are pickier about what they will participate in. He notes that the minute that you treat the client or consumer like a cog in the wheel, you will find your customer/client immediately looking at another competitive alternative.
Some of the great Podcasters note that, in the future, we will have more ear time than eye time.
Ian recently looked at an interesting book by Evan I. Schwartz entitled, "Digital Darwinism". In his book, Schwartz compares the competitive struggle to the battle between species that occurs in the natural environment. He concludes that, in order to succeed, companies must be better than their competitors, much like the survival of the fittest in nature. Whatever market niche they select, they have to be "smarter, faster, more innovative, and more adaptable" than ever, so that they do better than others.
After examining the successes and failures of many different e-commerce competitors, the author identifies key strategies to survive and thrive on the Web. In Digital Darwinism, we are presented with "7 Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviviing in the Cuthroat Web Economy". They are:
1. Build a brand that stands for solving problems;
2. Allow your prices to fluctuate freely with supply and demand;
3. Let affiliate partners do your marketing for you;
4. Create valuable bundles of information and services;
5. Sell custom-made produces online, then manufacture them;
6. Add new value to transactions between buyers and sellers; and
7. Integrate digital commerce with absolutely everything.
Schwartz is also the author of "Webonomics", which talks about "9 Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web". Blogging is one of those innovative marketing strategies that helps you survive in the Digital Darwinism world. Blogging uses the concept of social software in allowing for direct and indirect interaction from one individual to a group of individuals.
As a good examples of how big the social interaction has grown, the program "My Space", currently has approximately 40,000,000 dating participants. While this program has a wide variety of social interaction, including dating and teenager participants, from a business perspective, for example, the music business, My Space is an essential place to be. Just because a program appears to be on the surface simply something for consumers, such as a dating service, when you look deeper within the service you may find that it incorporates many niche market produces and services. Therefore, it may well be a business opportunity, given the numbers involved.
At page 43 of the book Naked Conversations, the authors use a classic quote from a great blogger who describes it as follows: "Blogging is word of mouth on steroids".
A well-known legal blogger, Lawrence Lessig, also comes highly recommended in the book. T
he authors point out (at page 87) that they were a bit surprised by the number of lawyers collaborating on blogs, as they perceive the profession as being the most competitive. They illustrated the point by taking the readers to three seeming competitors in the area of patent law.
Attorneys Stephen M. Nipper, Douglas Sorocco and J. Matthew Buchanan are all patent lawyers with an interest in blogging. Each of them started blogs within three weeks of each other and then discovered each other through the blogosphere. In a short time, they found themselves to be trusted colleagues, exchanging email, talking on the phone and they even started collaborative forms of writing by using software that allows groups to collaborate by editing each other’s words on an Internet site. The result of working together produced the creation known as Rethink(ip), a collaborative blog addressing how lawyers and clients should work together on IP issues.
The blogosphere is something that needs to be transparent, open and honest. The authors point out (at page 94) that consultants/lawyers need to get over an inclination to hold their cards close to their chests. They point out that if you are afraid to share ideas, you shouldn’t blog.
The authors also point to a classic quote from Walt Disney when someone asked him if he wasn’t worried about telling so many people about his ideas. In response, Disney said, "Those were last years ideas".
A classic question that arises when considering the whole concept of blogging is whether or not blogging is in fact marketing? In essence, the authors answer this question by saying that if blogging is your only marketing element, then you are entirely missing the boat. Blogging needs to be part of a marketing plan and not a sole entity. The advantage to blogging is that (page 94-95) blogs help organizations get closer to customers and customers closer to brands. Blogs are a powerful tool that few can afford to ignore. According to the authors, the bottom line is if your target audience wants a blog, you had better blog.
Finally, if you are ready to start to blog, then the authors (at page 172) suggest that you read a bunch of blogs. An easy starting point is to use the blog category in Goggle as a key word search engine. Based on our experience, the keyword searches are all that you need to be able to properly start a searching process.
Best of luck, Suzana and Ian! ——–