Lawyers, we’re doing it wrong
On Saturday morning, I read an absolutely wonderful story in the NY Times by Michael Beschloss, one of the best Presidential historians of our time. It was about President Truman and how he played Poker within the backdrop of the Cold War. I follow Michael on Twitter as well. I do this because his commentary is captivating. He has great content. You learn something when you read what he writes (and he writes quite well.) Lawyers should take note of this when someone is selling them on “tech” and “building an online presence.”
Much of my practice is devoted to real estate. When I want to read about market trends in New York Real Estate, I go to Jonathan Miller’s blog, The Matrix Blog. It’s awesome. A concise, well written blog that talks about everything from price per square foot to what we can expect to see in Brooklyn real estate in the next twelve months. It doesn’t try and sell you anything. What it does, is show you that he knows the market by educating you about it. Again, the content on his site is good and it’s updated and it’s easy to digest.
Lawyers, for the most part, are idiots when it comes to online content. We have no idea what we’re doing. Take a minute to peruse the #bankruptcyattorney hashtag on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.
This is not content.
This is not content. Nor is it an invitation to go check out this person’s website. Some could wonder whether going to any of these websites (specifically #2) would invite a virus into their computer that would end with their social security numbers being widely distributed in a Burger King in Moscow. You need not care about what these people have to say because they’re not doing it right.
You may also think that you have to cater to your clients desires to make sure they actually call (“engage”) your practice. What, may you ask, does a potential divorce client look for in their lawyer? Well, if they really hate their spouse for cheating, leaving the toilet seat up, watching Bravo in spanish, etc., they may very well want a Pitbull Lawyer! Because really, what’s better than hiring someone that calls themselves a pit bull lawyer, to get you the result you want in a very efficient, cost effective manner. Pitbulls, as we all know, are animals known to diffuse potential tense situations by calmly finding a middle ground. Wait, no?
Perhaps someone told you to set up a website with video because video is awesome. Wonderful advice. Unless you’re doing it wrong. Over at the Innocence Legal Team (seriously), they have a super informative video about child pornography. It’s called “View Child Pornography Presentation.” That’s what the video is called. I’m going to leave that right there. Just right there.
Now compare this with Scott Greenfield’s blog, “Simple Justice“. It’s a real blog. There is real content. He doesn’t just write for the sake of “creating content”, but rather because he seemingly enjoys it and wants to educate. It has, and continues to do incredibly well, specifically because of that. He doesn’t need clients to come from this blog, and, quite frankly, I don’t think he cares whether or not any would.
With all of the noise surrounding “tech”, “disruption”, “metrics” etc., you’re missing the reason you’re online in the first place. If you put up a nice homepage and you think clients will come your way, good luck with that because the homepage is dead. No one cares what your home page says because everyone else’s says the same exact thing. And no one really cares about the videos you make if you’re just trying to sell. If you have no idea how to use Twitter, don’t use Twitter. It’s not going to magically produce clients. It will simply waste your time. The simple truth is that you have to create content that your clients can take and learn from. Forget showing yourself “as an authority.” That’s code for selling. Be yourself and have your own voice on your blog/website. That’s the simple truth. No amount of SEO or Google Ad Words is going to help you create new new leads. Some advice that the lawyer in the video below me can use.