I see so many programs on “How to launch a perfect website.” Well, let me tell you my truth: My website redesign process was less than perfect, and Robert Algeri and I are talking about doing a program about the truths behind a law firm website roll out.

But we launched our website on Monday, and, I can honestly say, the website came out perfect. It speaks to our brand, our history, and our future. And isn’t that the goal when branding, to actually reflect the culture of the entity/product/service?

Welcome to the New GreenbergGlusker.com:

It’s a big difference from our old site.

Some thinking behind the design

We needed a logo that was fresh, clean, and could be used in a social environment. As we were thinking about our future, we had designs that moved us away from the “Goosh” (that’s what we call our stylized “G”). However, we found out quickly that the Goosh has become part of the firm’s identity internally, so we went back and redesigned the logo to incorporate it. Continue Reading My lessons from a less than perfect website redesign process

Blawg100WebBadgeHeidi Klum’s tag on her long-running show is “In fashion, one day you are in, the next you are out.” For those of us who blog on and about the legal industry and practice of law, the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 is the list to make. For the third year running my blog, The Legal Watercooler, has made the list. As a law school never-was, my parents are very thankful to the ABA for this honor. As I renewed my URL for $9.99 this morning, I couldn’t help but chuckle that my blog was certainly a lot less expensive than going to law school, and has brought my parents many more opportunities to brag about me. I would be remiss if I did not thank all my readers and fans, and to all who inspire me to take fingers to keyboard. I started this blog at the urging and encouragement of my friend Jayne Navarre, and it really brought the purpose of my professional life full circle. She was my first follow on Twitter, and I want to be just like her when I grow up. I love the legal industry and I am an opinionated person. The Legal Watercooler began as I needed a place to have a conversation. And conversations we have had, and will continue to have.

While I might play an uber-techie at work, I really depend upon much smarter and techier people than me to make sense out of all this stuff flying at me on a daily (hourly) basis. For instance, one of my go-to smarties is Jayne Navarre for all things digital technology in the legal space.

Via a LinkedIn Group that I scan, Eric Peter Hoffman posted the following video on the new (now implemented) algorithms of Hummingbird and Penguin (sounds like a couple of Batman villains) that finally makes sense.

It is also a simple explanation as to why law firm blogs really must use the services of JD Supra, Lexology, YouTube, Wikipedia, and the like to push our content to the top search results pages. SEO alone ain’t gonna get you there alone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAwyvwJSrTY

I just read the following post SCOTUSblog Won Readers, Not Clients: Popular blog didn’t work as marketing tool for law firm but was a hit with readers, founders tell UGA audience.

I have to disagree.

In general, and in most cases, a corporate legal blogger might not be able to point to a particular piece of business and say, “I brought that in from writing this blog post on that date.”

However, if written correctly, the attorney can most likely point to their practice and see a correlation between their increased business and the launching of their blog.

I just don’t think the folks at SCOTUSblog are correctly measuring its value.

A corporate legal blog is NOT a business development (read SALES) tool in and of itself. It is there to provide what Nancy Myrland calls “digital breadcrumbs“:

Blogging, just as all other content scattered across the Internet, is what I always refer to as “digital breadcrumbs.” The words, thoughts and opinions we share in these spaces serve to help others find a path to us when they happen to need us, or at least when their interest in our areas of expertise is heightened.

A blog, done right, is an educational tool that will position the author and firm. Avvo‘s Josh King agrees:

Too many attorneys and firms treat them like outbound marketing vehicles, doing more overt sales pitches than information and thought leadership.

Blogs are about value, and education. They are about telling the story you want the general counsel to read as they are doing their due diligence on the attorney and the firm. They are about having the right results on page one when your name is Googled.

Getting back to the softer ROI that we’re talking about, Virtual Marketing Officer, Jayne Navarre, points out that the SCOTUSblog article contradicts itself: Continue Reading How NOT to measure the value of a legal blog

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Wake up and smell the coffee people.
Wake up and smell the coffee: Google matters. Google counts. Copyblogger said so this morning (Seriously. Go get some coffee and click on the article. It’s a must read today):

A forewarning from Google’s Chairman

Just 19 days after my predictions for 2013, the Wall Street Journal published its comments on The New Digital Age, a book written by Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt. These comments included this quote (bold is mine):

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

This is a powerful statement by one of the most powerful people in Google. Schmidt makes it clear that Authorship will be a very material factor in search ranking.

For those of us operating in the legal community this is REALLY good new. Why? Because lawyers have content. Lots of it. The job of the legal marketer is to help them get that content into digital, and connect with the Google game. I’m not talking about gaming Google, but realizing that Google has a strategy to promote good content, and we legal marketers and lawyers need to stay awake and on top of it. Continue Reading Google Profiles + Google Author Ranks + Google In-Depth Articles = WAKE UP!!!

I know I’ve covered this topic before, but I had another reminder this week about how you should be living your passion. And, if you don’t know what your passion is, you need to find it.

What do I mean by that?

When you love what you do, or who you do it for, it shows. People notice. It differentiates you.

If you hate your job, or are just going through the motions, people notice. It’s a turn off. Rather than exude energy, you suck it out of the room.

My friend Nancy Myrland exemplifies living her passion. As do Jayne Navarre, and Tim Corcoran. You can say the same about Catherine MacDonough, and Keith Wewe. The list can go on and on.

And all these people have something in common. The Legal Marketing Association (LMA). We are all passionate about what we do for a living, we enjoy what we do. And, we do it well.

It’s what differentiates LMA from any other professional association that I know of.

But, if stuck in an elevator, if I told a group of people that my passion was working with lawyers, they’d wonder if they’d walked into a scene out of Devil.

I get it.

A little over five years ago I worked for an AmLaw 100 law firm and I was MISERABLE. It had nothing to do with my firm; I had lost my passion.

My solution was to took some time off through that summer to try and recapture my passion and my enthusiasm.

By mid-summer I realized I loved what I did for a living. I loved the people I get to work with, especially my close friends who I have met through my professional association (LMA).

I didn’t want to leave my industry, but I needed to find a balance between my passion for legal marketing, and the passion I had for the rest of my life.

The passion I live is not limited to legal marketing.

I am passionate about being a mom, and a Girl Scout Leader.

I am passionate about music, sports, and my family.

I am passionate about the Sports Dude and still am amazed that the boy I fell in love with when I was just 16 is the man I am married to today.

My life has its ups and downs. Whose doesn’t. But without that passion to guide me through to the next day, well, I’d be sucking the life out of the world around me as well.

I just checked my calendar and, yup, it really is 2012.

Other than the earth coming to an end later this year, it’s about fricken time you got a website.

There just aren’t any good excuses out there.

Yeah, I’m talking to you solo and small firms out there.

And this is especially true for those of you who represent consumers – family law, divorces, child custody, employment matters, trusts & estates. I’d add personal injury, DUI and immigration to the list, but those folks are marketing machines.

Seriously. If you Google yourself or your firm, what do you find? If the answer is NOTHING, than you are LOSING business every day, and you don’t even know it.

Case in point:

Continue Reading Get a fricken website already

Well, if Jayne Navarre asks a question, you know I’ll want to answer it.

In her blog post today, Facebook | Does the goldrush mentality on Wall Street have implications for law firm marketing?, Jayne wants to hear from us:

I want to hear from lawyers, law firms and marketers who are taking Facebook seriously. How are you leveraging the demographic data available from FB?  Would you share with us how it is going? And, what about content creation? I’ve heard a few very large firms have added staff. What are your plans for 2011? Do you have any secret plan of attack – not asking you to share what that is, just curious to know if we’re getting closer to a truly strategic mentality about Facebook in the legal marketing profession.

Go and read Jayne’s blog post and come back. I’ll wait.

Jayne,

To quote Facebook: It’s complicated.

While I am good and ready to go on Facebook for my firm, I think there are still people who are weary of how to implement it for law firm marketing. I plan to tread lightly into it now that there are several firms out there successfully using it.

With more and more partners and attorneys in our firm having personal Facebook profiles, I think the resistance is not as strong as it was a year ago, and the adoption of it will be easier.

It also doesn’t hurt that many of our top clients now have Facebook pages.

I think Facebook is an incredible platform to share what you are doing at work without promoting what you do. It exposes your personal circle of friends to your professional life, and vice versa. I’m all about uncovering commonalities, and I have found Facebook does that better than any other social media platform.

Photo via www.zazzle.com

For everyone out there wondering when the ABA would have an opinion on social media and social networking the answer appears to be “soon.” The ABA has a really cool commission with a really long name, ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Working Group on the Implications of New Technologies who have come out with an Issues Paper Concerning Lawyers’ Use of Internet Based Client Development Tools. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even pretend to play one in the office, so I have to turn any legal opinions over to to my friends and colleagues with JDs after their names. I am, however, on the front line when it comes to “hey, can we do that” in my office. I’m also looked to for answers within the legal marketing community. In the coming days and weeks, I will be looking to people like Jayne Navarre, Larry Bodine, Bob Ambrogi, Kevin O’Keefe and Conrad Saam (to name just a few … the list will get longer, I assure you) to help me formulate my personal thoughts and opinions on the subject. My knee jerk reaction is “NO WAY, we already have federal and state regulations that regulate business and professional conduct,” and “Don’t tread on my First Amendment rights.”

States already have laws in place for “truth-in-advertising,” for ALL businesses. In California, businesses are governed under Business and Professions Code at §17200 and §17500. Federally, the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1125), which is generally enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can, and should, cover law firms.

But, then I have to remember that I’m working with lawyers. Let’s face it. Lawyers really like structure. They like rules. They like their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed. They like to point to things, such as the ABA and their personal state’s bar association, to confirm and approve whether or not they can or cannot do or say something. According to the ABA’s Issues Paper, the panel is looking at four main areas of online client development:

  1. social and professional networking services (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter),
  2. blogging,
  3. “pay-per-click” advertising,
  4. lawyer website.

I’m not ready to scream “Big Brother,” yet, but I am concerned that the ABA will overly regulate the PRACTICES, INTEGRATION and ADOPTION of social media and social networking to the extent that personal speech, along with the ability to generate new business or advertise your current practice, in the social web will be jeopardized. You can join the discussion on the CMO Forum Group on LinkedIn (join the group and you’ll be approved) and/or follow on Twitter at #ABARegs. (UPDATED) In the meantime, what say you, Coolerites??

Kudos and thanks to Jonathan Fitzgarrald and Cheryl Bame for gathering together some of our colleagues to produce: Law Firm Marketing Leaders: Tips from a Collection of Experts,” (pdf). Enjoy the “5 Tips” on the following topics from some of legal marketing’s finest: