Saturday, December 13, 2008

Starting Your Own Blawg

The ABA recently revealed its second annual list of 100 top legal blogs - or "blawgs." With the dominance of the internet and the public’s demand for instant information, blawgs are becoming more sought after for the latest, most relevant and most practical legal information. You may be the next person to create one of these sought after blawgs.

Before you jump into the blogosphere, count the cost. Those who rely on blogs are looking for the most up to date information. They are expecting regular posts. A monthly post will not do. Be prepared to do posts at least once a week. Preferably daily. Keeping that in mind, you have to ask yourself if you will have the time to juggle work, family and your blog.
I’m celebrating the first anniversary of my blog Advice for the Young Lawyer, http://advicefortheyounglawyer.blogspot.com, where I post an article every weekend on topics and issues relevant to young litigators. Even just a post a week takes time and planning and effort. Have a game plan for your blog in terms of coming up with ideas and finding the time to write about those ideas.

If you conclude you will have the time and energy to keep your blog current, find a niche for that blog. Maybe it’s on jury selection, or on a federal statute or on a fledgling or novel area of the law. Once you have a topic in mind, search to see if someone has beat you to the punch. If so, evaluate whether you want to pick a different theme for your blog or create a different slant on an old theme. When I started my young lawyers blog, I did not come across anything quite like it, so I felt I was filling a need. If there had been several blogs like mine, I may have had a different approach to my own blog.

Once you want to create a blog, create a business plan for you and your firm. What will be the theme for the blog? How many posts will you make? How long will they be? How many contributors will there be? Will this be a joint venture with others at your firm? What will the cost be? There are companies that will create and maintain blogs for you. Of course, you can create and maintain yours for free through Google, for example. Who is your target audience? How will you inform them of your new blog? What will attract them to your blog? Write all this out and approach your firm about your idea. You will need their approval and their support.

Once you have counted the cost, devised a plan and have procured your firm’s approval, it is time to create a blog. My blog is supported through Blogger, sponsored by Google. It is a free service which helps you create a blog and provides you easy step-by-step advice on how to do so, including how to design it and how to make posts. If you want to use this free service, you can go to https://www.blogger.com/start. Other services exist out there. Take the time to do a search on the internet for different blogging services and evaluate which best serves your needs and your wallet.

Once you go through the process and have your blog up and running, you need to let others know about it. I would suggest the following. Spend about a month with your blog, making posts, showing it to a few good friends, and getting some feedback. What works on the blog? What does not? What changes do you need to make? Once you are happy with the layout, with your photo, your personal information, the entries and posts and everything else, you are ready to promote it. Devise a list of e-mail contacts -personal and business contacts - and send them an e-mail notifying them of the blog and providing them a link to your blog, encouraging them to make it one of their favorites. Include the blog address on your business card and notify new contacts about it. Regularly marketing your blog is integral to its long term success and popularity.

Blogging of blawging has become very popular, with more lawyers jumping in the blogosphere every day. If you want to start your own blog, you may find it is easier than you thought. Take the time to plan it out and spend the time to contribute to it regularly. The best of luck.

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