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Blogging Tips and Tricks

I started this blog 4 1/2 years ago, a time when blogging was not nearly so widespread as it is now. After all that time, I’m wondering if I have any useful advice to pass on to other prospective legal bloggers. It has taken me a long time to hit my stride as a blogger (actually, I’m not sure I have even hit it yet); I wonder if I can save others some time. My answer to my own question is probably not. Everyone has to approach this in their own way, and decide for themselves if it is worthwhile. I cannot tell anyone how to do it. I can only give some of my own experiences. So here goes, in the ever-popular Q and A format:

Q: Is blogging a useful marketing tool?
A: I would say the jury is still out on that for me. I set up this blog instead of a traditional law firm website, because I find traditional websites fairly useless. I still would not say that the blog drives a lot of potential clients to my door. What it does do is to allow a potential client to find out more about me, both in terms of checking out my credentials and expertise, and in terms of finding out whether my style and interests are compatible with those of someone who might want to retain my services. A blog allows people much greater opportunity to gain some insight into you as a person than a traditional website.

Q: Does blogging provide a useful forum for the exchange of ideas?
A: Yes, but it has taken a long time to build up enough readership to get any feedback from blogging. I originally thought that this blog might be a good place to try out some of my ideas on reforming the code of civil procedure, and similar legal issues, and I do post stuff like that sometimes, but I get very limited feedback. What blogging actually does is to force you to think through your own ideas. It’s more of a diary than a dialogue, though it can be both.

Q: Is it important that a blog have a theme?
A: I have decided it is absolutely critical. The problem with this particular blog that you are now reading is that it does not have a well-defined theme. I have decided that that is why it has taken me so long to become any good at blogging, and I am still working on better defining the purpose of this blog. The way that I finally started to get better at blogging was actually to start another blog. I started blogging about politics on the Obama campaign website in late 2007, and developed a voice and a point of view on that site. Then I started my own blog on politics in the fall of 2008, which started with that well-developed point of view. It’s calledhope and change, and its purpose to be relentlessly positive about changes that are occurring in this country. I write about things that I am passionate about, and I always try to keep my posts in line with the theme and tone of voice of that blog. As a result, that blog is much more active than this one. I have made 93 posts on my politics blog in less than a year, while this one only has 44 posts after more than 4 years. (For a couple of years, this blog went almost completely moribund, because I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.) But starting that second blog helped me make this one more active and effective. Where I really went overboard was starting yet a third blog just a few months ago, to discuss mediation, which I did because I thought it was a good idea to separate my discussions of my mediation practice from those of my litigation practice. That blog, called Mediation’s Place, also has a well-defined theme and a point of view. Therefore my newest blog is in some ways also more successful than my original blog.

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