There is a service being offered by a few law firm marketing companies: blog posts for law firms. With this service, blog posts written by “someone” “on behalf of” the law firm or a lawyer from the firm would be added to the law firms’ websites on a weekly basis. Because this service has been sold and purchased by hundreds, maybe thousands of family law firms, these have to be mass produced blog posts. The onus is on the law firms to check these blog posts and make sure the content is accurate, of quality, relevant and good for business. This service is mostly sold in the name of adding fresh content to their websites and for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
We do not recommend these mass produced blog posts for law firms. Here are the reasons:
1. We know you will not check these blog posts for accuracy, relevancy and quality.
Because you do not have the time to check them every week. That is the main reason why you pay for this service in the first place! These posts are mostly generic, mildly relevant to your own practice and often not of concern to your clients and prospective clients. Read further and you will see why.
2. Some posts promote services your firm does not offer with links to websites that promote other law firms.
Does your firm offer mediation or collaborative law? If not, watch out! Some posts will promote these services. Why? because the person who wrote these posts do not know you. The onus is on you to disapprove them before they are posted on your website. Also, watch out for links that are built into the posts that take your visitors to other websites where other lawyers are promoted.
3. These blog posts do not showcase your expert family law knowledge.
How could they? They are not written by you, nor are they written by anyone with expertise in your field. These blog posts are “spun” based on divorce stories or topics that have little relevance to your firm, your state or your prospective clients and are posted on hundreds of family law firm websites. These stories are deemed to have general interests, such as celebrity divorces, divorce cases that are from one state. Our experience with social media tells us that divorcing people have enough to deal with, they do not care about celebrity divorces or other people’s cases.
4. Your law firm’s reputation is on the line.
Yes, there are typos on these posts. We all make mistakes, right? Let’s leave it at that and move on to how your firm’s reputation can be tarnished. These posts do not represent your firm’s personality. How could they? They are not written by you and are mass produced. How could anyone get a real sense of what you are like to work with or what you stand for? If you care about your branding and how you communicate with your prospective clients, you should think twice before you let these posts show up on your website. More than one of my clients have said they stopped the service because the blog posts are irrelevant to their firm, their clients and do not represent them well.
5. There is nothing unique about their content.
Likely this blog post service is sold on the grounds that your content is unique. If a celebrity just filed for divorce, this story will be spun 20, 30 different ways as “different” blog posts so they can be posted on your website. Strictly speaking, no two posts may have the same sentence repeated in them, but is there anything that is unique, or uniquely you in the 2oth version of this celebrity divorce story that they have posted on your website? No.
6. Google slap?
Many firms try to show up high on the Google search results by doing things that are meant for search engines without having the best interest of the website visitors at heart. Google has repeatedly told us not to do anything just for the sake of SEO, or you will risk being penalized which will result in a low Google page rank and reduced traffic to your website. One of the things Google does not like is duplicate content.
7. Is it ethical to buy mass produced blog posts?
Most visitors would assume that the blog posts are written by you or someone from your firm. Do you really have full disclosure as to who wrote them? Do you even know who wrote them? I have read an article in the ABA Family Advocate magazine where the author questioned how ethical it is to have someone ghost write a blog post for you, just for you. And the author is not even referring to this option of getting blog posts spun by someone you do not know and have never talked to. That author knows where they stand on this issue. What about you? Or do you on some level already know that this is not 100% right? Isn’t this the kind of short cuts that spark more regulations/need for approvals from state bar associations?
If you are subscribing to this service, I highly recommend you read them before they are posted on your website.
Podcasts as an alternative to writing blog posts
If your goal is to have fresh content added to your website on a regular basis, I recommend you do podcasts. With just 1/2 an hour of your time, you can create 5 to 10 pieces of content (in both written form and an audio form) that are uniquely yours, demonstrate your expertise and attract the right kind of prospective clients. You can do podcasts in different ways. Since this is one of the services Divorce Marketing Group offers, I will tell you how we do it with our clients.
A podcast is essentially a recorded interview. We will ask you different questions or discuss different topics which allows you to demonstrate your expertise through your answers. In a 1/2 hour podcasts, you may have answered 5 to 10 questions, will means you now have 5 to 10 podcasts/FAQs of about 3 to 5 minutes each. You can add that to your website overtime. When you transcribe a 1/2 hour podcasts, you will likely have around 5,000 words of content which you can also add to your website. That’s fresh content spoken/written by you which are extremely relevant to your prospective clients and jurisdiction. And, that fresh content is not mass produced and will be totally unique. These are answers you provide frequently and will not take much effort on your part to prepare.
In our case, when interviewed by the editor or publisher of Divorce Magazine or Family Lawyer Magazine, you have the added credibility of being interviewed by the media.
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