Saturday, August 15, 2009

Publish Blog Posts to Twitter

Attorneys who publish a blog can use Twitter to further disseminate their blog posts. It's an easy way for an attorney to test this social media application.

STEP 1. You will need:

a. A blog that is published on a regular basis
b. A Twitter account. Sign up at
c. A TwitterFeed account. Sign up at
d. Identify the URL for your blog's RSS or Atom feed (see

STEP 2. Put all the pieces together:

a. Log in to your TwitterFeed account
b. Indicate the Twitter account to receive the posts (e.g.,
c. Identify the blog name and feed URL you want to publish
d. Set up the automated feed schedule (once an hour is the default)

Now, test to make sure it all works properly. Ask the blog author to publish a new post to the blog, and watch to make sure it passes to the Twitter stream. If this is not working, you will need to review your steps.

Since Twitter only publishes 140 characters, the rest of the post will be represented by a link that TwitterFeed creates to the full blog post. This means that the writer needs to be mindful of putting important keywords in the first 100+ characters.

Using this technique, lawyers can easily participate in Twitter. It's an easy first step if you are new to Twitter.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10,000 Attorneys in Texas State Bar's Social Network

Since starting the first-ever social network by a bar association in 2007, the online group has grown to over 10,000 attorneys. The "Texas Bar Circle" has formed over 250 subject matter groups, and is creating a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Read the full story at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sponsorships Out, Business Development In

Law firms are cutting back on expensive branding sponsorhips and focusing instead on more measurable business development activities, according to a National Law Journal article titled "No More 'Chalets': Legal Marketing Focuses on Building Business" by Karen Sloan.

Sponsorship dollars are being directed toward industry conferences and client events, but away from sporting and cultural activities.

While not surprising, this could be a good move in several ways:

1. Firms are being forced to identify those marketing investments that are truly generating business. Measuring ROI is always a good idea.

2. Lead analysis is also helpful. Firms should always ask new clients how they heard about the firm, and most law firms are diligent about tracking leads.

3. The process of selling may be drawing more attention at the Managing Partner level during these lean times. Sales productivty analysis can result in a higher quality of lead and better conversion rates.

Law firms that can present themselves as experts through substantive education-based marketing designed to help clients navigate today's dramatic changes in financing, legislation, and government regulation may find they can gain a competitive advantage.

Seven Legal Marketing Trends to Recession-Proof your Practice

Here are seven proven trends in legal marketing circles that can help you to generate more revenue by staying close to your customers while also rounding up new prospects. The good news is that many of these activities are free or low cost, although some time commitment is required.

1. Social media. Internet-based communications have changed dramatically, with rapid development in the area of “one-to-many” messaging. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube are excellent examples of how one person can broadcast a message easily and immediately.

2. Search engine marketing. If you are not naturally on the first page of Google search results, try a “micro-site,” updated meta tags, a blog, or more frequent news announcements to gain higher placement. Combining all of these elements into one campaign will serve as an accelerator.

3. Customer retention. Your best option for new revenue is always your current client list. Don’t forget past clients and inactive accounts also. More frequent messaging in the form of a newsletter or client alert serves to remind clients that you are available to help them, their friends, relatives, or co-workers.

4. Interactive events. As traditional print media shrink with the movement of advertisers from print to online, more law firms and businesses are exploring sponsorships, seminars, CLE programs, and other events as a high-touch way to reach out to prospects using a more personalized approach.

5. Increased networking. If you don’t already have a written “referral network” plan in place, now is the time to start. List your referral sources in A/B/C priority, and establish a schedule for frequency of interactions through breakfasts, lunches, email, or phone calls.

6. Alternative billing. No, the billable hour is not dead. However, more clients are looking for fixed fee or even success-based pay formulas. Consider what might work for your firm.

7. Lead management systems. Chances are that you are using a contact management system for your existing clients. Now add a weekly “pipeline report” to track the status of prospects through the various stages of initial meeting, presentation, proposal, and engagement.

A critical element in today’s electronic marketing is that clients and prospects can talk back in a variety of ways. You will want to focus not only on what you say to clients, but what they say in response. Make a point to listen when a client requests a new type of service or a variation on a past service. Perhaps others would be interested in this as well.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Insurance Defense Internet Marketing

How important is search engine marketing to an insurance defense law firm? The topic came up this weekend as I was making a presentation to a group of insurance defense lawyers.

Speaking, publishing and networking are the old tried and true business development techniques used by most attorneys, and this group was no exception. As the topic turned to Internet marketing, with its emphasis on keywords, meta tags, and search engine visibility, many in the group appeared impassive.

One attendee expressed a belief that many probably were thinking, which is that insurance defense work does not result from incoming leads via the law firm's website.

This is a fair assessment, and I do agree with it. For senior rainmakers with a well established book of business built on long-term relationships, the Internet is probably just a basic marketing requirement similar to a law firm brochure.

However, even insurance company GCs and paralegals turn to the Internet when their referral network does not yield results. This could be particularly true if an insurance carrier needs local counsel outside of their established geographic network of law firms or requires specialized knowledge of an unusual insurance coverage or bad faith matter.

The beauty of Internet marketing is that it is easily measured. A quick search of the Google keyword reseach tool indicates monthly volumes for insurance defense related terms as follows:

550,000 monthly searches for "insurance attorneys"
74,000 searches in June for "insurance attorney"
2,900 searches in June for "insurance defense attorney"
2,600 June searches for forms of "insurance defense lawyer"

Recognizing that "insurance attorneys" could be a search for the plaintiff or defense side, an even split yields 225,000 potential monthly searches. (Email me if you want a copy of the insurance defense keyword research.)

As a legal marketer, I see that law firms get business based on their preferred marketing campaigns. Failure to implement Internet lead generation programs may be leaving money on the table. Law firms with seasoned rainmakers who are thinking of retirement in the next 5-10 years may find that the coveted book of business does not easily carry over to the next generation lawyer in the firm, putting more pressure on other leads sources..

The progressive insurance defense law firm that does understand and appreciate the many benefits to be gained by building a strong Internet marketing campaign will be the beneficiary of an additional stream of new business.