A little while back, I wrote a two-part tome on social media marketing.
(Part I is accessible here. Part II is available here.) Maybe you’re still reading it. You can stop now. The short series was theoretical, but inspired by some of the very impressive uses of social media marketing that I see being made by a number of attorneys. Determining that my impressions are too white-tower, I decided that my posts were in need of a follow-up series, drawn up by practicing attorneys: men and women on the street, delivering field reports. I reached out to several attorneys, and (eventually) got a positive response from each gracious one.

Leanna Hamill has been kind enough to draft the third installment of this follow-up series respecting social media marketing in practice. Leanna owns an estate planning and elder law practice in Hingham. When she isn’t helping her clients to plan for and face the changes, challenges and transitions of life, she’s somewhere in the mountains of New Hampshire. (See, Leanna’s really smart.) She also enjoys helping other attorneys with practice management inspiration and consulting. For more information on Leanna and her practice, visit her firm’s website, here, with attention paid to her professional profile. Leanna writes below about her popular blog, which blog is fed through her homepage.

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When Jared asked me to write this guest blog post about how I used social media in my practice, I declined. I told him that I didn’t really use it–my Facebook use is mostly personal (although I do have a business page), and I don’t really use Twitter like the experts say I should. But, then, Jared said: “What about your blog? You use that to market your practice, and to get clients. You could write about that.”

Ah, yes. My blog. (Accessible here: http://www.HamillLawOffice.com.)

I like to say that I started my blog out of spite. It was about 4 years ago, and I was on a listserv with a bunch of attorneys who were always talking about blogging. I kept deleting their messages, because I thought that blogging was useless. Surely, no one looked for an attorney on the internet; and, certainly, no one would hire an attorney based solely on reading a blog. The messages kept coming, though; and, at some point, I thought: “Well, I’ll just file these instead of deleting them, just in case, some day, blogging becomes useful.”

Then, one Saturday morning, I formed a plan: I would set up a blog, and I would prove those other attorneys wrong. I would show them that no one would read my blog, and that, moreover, no one would hire me because of it. Sufficiently motivated, I dove in. I followed the rules: keeping my posts short and informative; starting off with the basics of my practice area first; and, posting 2-3 times per week for the first few months.

Sure enough, no one called. People were reading my blog; but, no one was hiring me. . . . Until, one day, when some other listserv emails about the importance of having a photo on your website sunk in, I had a friend of mine take a photo of me, to put up on my website. That first week I had my photo up, five people called or emailed me. And, depending on my posting frequency, that pace has pretty much kept up.

When my practice was newer and my referral sources fewer, my blog brought in about 70% of my business. Now, it brings in about 50% of my business, since the percentage of referrals, and of former clients using me for new matters, has gone up. My blog, though, attracts to me more than just clients. Attorneys who don’t practice elder law find it when they are looking for an elder law attorney to assist a client. Reporters find it when they are looking for a source for an article: see me, quoted here and there. Groups find it when they are looking for a speaker.

So, that was the story of how I got started blogging.

Now, here are my tips for bloggers:

Write about things that interest you and your potential readers. If you are just writing about what you think you should write about (or what everyone else is writing about), but it doesn’t interest you, that will come through.

Write regularly. Or, I should say, post regularly. I sometimes write 6 posts in one sitting, and then schedule them to go up over the next 3 or 4 weeks.

Keep it short and simple. You aren’t writing a law review article, or a treatise. You’re writing in order to give laypeople the essential information they need to either realize they can do something on their own, or decide that you are the person to help them with it.

Repurpose your blog posts. Use them in your eNewsletter. Expand them to create article-length pieces. Compile your most popular posts, and turn them into a booklet for new clients. Piece them all together to compile a book, even if it’s self-published.