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Kevin O’Keefe Discusses Attorney Marketing & Building Online Relationships
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Summary: Want to market yourself and learn how to better build online relationships in your legal career? Find out how in this one-on-one interview with an expert in attorney marketing.

Upon first speaking with Kevin O’Keefe, CEO and Founder of LexBlog, Inc., you immediately sense the focused energy and passion he brings to all of his business interactions. His strong communication skills and insights have clearly played a key role in building LexBlog into the world’s largest legal blog network. When you add in the quality of the legal marketing advice his company readily shares and its immediate plans to broaden access to business blogs – you quickly realize that LexBlog will keep on successfully expanding its creative outreach and influence for many years to come.

According to Bloomberg Business, LexBlog is an “online practice development company for legal and professional services firms.” This description fits well with LexBlog’s own statement in company publications that it currently hosts the world’s “largest collection of professional blogs with more than 8,000 authors providing a regularly updated flow of legal opinion and analysis.”

  
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O’Keefe’s Legal Practice Background Continues to Inform His Approach to Marketing

After spending 17 years as a trial lawyer, Kevin O’Keefe skillfully transferred many of his business insights into establishing LexBlog in Seattle, Washington, back in 2003. The company now provides an excellent forum for its clients to share their legal knowledge with others while also attracting new clients. Yet while Mr. O’Keefe fully understands the unique outreach and attributes of the Internet, he is clearly aware of its inherent limitations.

He says that while search engines play an important role in driving potential customers to his LexBlog clients’ websites, “You cannot become too beholding to Google. The Internet is not about statistics – it’s simply a means for helping you build meaningful relationships with others.” He then shared a few stories about how his own blogging has helped him connect with a number of new business contacts — some of whom have also become friends.

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Here are some statistics shared in Mr. O’Keefe’s eBook entitled, Five Reasons Lawyers Need to Blog.” As you pick up useful tips and information in this book, you’ll begin to fully appreciate the added convenience of doing a large percentage of your “rainmaking” online. However, O’Keefe reminds his readers that it’s still critical to go out and keep meeting new potential clients in person each week while pursuing your various civic, volunteer, and professional activities.

Facts and Statistics Supporting the Need for a Strong Internet Blogging Presence

  • Worldwide use of the Internet. Approximately 2.55 billion people are expected to be actively interacting with others over the Internet by 2017;
  • Executive-level buyers search for lawyers on the Internet. About 78% of these individuals “go online to look for legal counsel;”
  • Blogs have acquired credibility and regularly affect who gets hired. “Fifty-three percent of in-house counsel say a law firm’s blog influences hiring decisions and 84% perceive blogs as credible;”
  • Blogging has become quite common among the lawyers in America’s top firms. “Attorneys from AmLaw 200 firms publish a total of 660 blogs, a 71 percent increase over 2010.” (These statistics and others referenced above have almost certainly increased since they were first shared in either 2012 or 2013);
  • Although it’s very tough to estimate, O’Keefe guesses that at least 25,000 lawyers actively blog in the United States today. He adds that no attorney or firm can afford to remain silent. Maintaining a passive presence directly helps competitors capture a majority of the available clients who are always searching for useful business and legal news and information online;
  • At present, there are well over 300 million blogs on the Internet. Of course, this estimate has surely risen even higher now. Nevertheless, no one should be afraid of starting a new blog. After all, if you concentrate on publishing fully original and valuable content on a regular basis, you can succeed just like the firms that have been blogging for many years.

O’Keefe Suggests Specific Ways Clients Can Increase Their Content’s Value

  • Write with both passion and expertise. He challenges everyone who currently blogs or wants to start doing so to first ask themselves, “What am I really passionate about?” Try to frame this question in regards to your practice and the world at large;
  • Ask others to evaluate your blogs and see if they are truly “engaging.” If your blogs are too long or contain too much legal or specialized business jargon, make sure each writer adopts a more user-friendly style so you won’t lose readers and potential customers;
  • Anticipate your clients’ questions and answer them. It’s always a good idea to include a “Frequently Asked Questions” section on your blog since many clients are eager to learn all they can about your practice – as well about the laws governing their current legal issues;
  • Develop a special niche. If you’re a personal injury attorney, decide which types of cases you handle most successfully – the ones that set you apart from many of your peers. Now look for a special way to address the legal issues involved so you can pen highly engaging content on a weekly basis;
  • Keep in mind that just maintaining a great looking website with informative “landing pages” just won’t cut it today. O’Keefe reflected on how, “Just 20 years ago, lawyers were still constantly competing with one another over the types of ads they could afford to run in the Yellow Pages [print telephone book]. They were also still running a limited number of radio ads to reach potential customers – long before the Internet became a daily presence in the lives of so many people worldwide;”
  • Consider blogging on topics indirectly related to your practice. If you’re a personal injury attorney and often handle medical malpractice cases, give thought to adding a separate blog on all of the great work one or two local chiropractors or orthopedic surgeons regularly provide to your clients. Likewise, if your state needs to pass critical legislation to improve how its laws treat your clients, give thought to writing a balanced blog that updates your readers about these issues. Just be sure you carefully present both sides of each controversial topic so you can hold on to your steady stream of returning website visitors;
  • Keep thinking about where your practice is heading. Have you recently taken in a few new types of cases that you’re handling successfully? Consider blogging about these topics so your readers without any legal training can gain a clearer understanding of all the key issues involved;
  • Try offering useful eBooks or other printed material on your website – if you have sufficient expertise to write them. Many lawyers often gain useful contact information from potential clients by offering eBooks in exchange for the visitor’s full name and email address. Of course, all such future contact must be well-thought out and limited so you won’t accidentally overwhelm and push these people away. Also, decide if you want to send out a newsletter on a monthly or bi-monthly basis – making sure to only include new and useful information.

You can always spot a successful blogger because that person often makes you want to get to know him/her personally and discuss each topic further. This same type of “energy” should be present in the way each law firm handles all forms of social media — especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others.  Be engaging and your most desirable clients will surely find you.

Attorney marketing tips

 

One of LexBlog’s New Outreach Efforts Involves Law Student Blogging

Kevin O’Keefe readily tells people that he’s focused on “giving back” to this world in exchange for his many successes. Among other goals, he wants to help open up online platforms like his to other professional groups — including graduate-level students eager to share their expertise and blogging skills. He says he’s currently in talks with Michigan State University’s Law School in hopes that students there can begin showcasing their legal blogging skills while still in school. This may help truly promising students convert strong recognition and approval of their writing into highly coveted clerkships and jobs.

O’Keefe and his employees are also trying to fully “democratize online publishing for additional groups of professionals.” In other words, LexBlog is eager to quickly harness new publishing technologies so that many more people can start using their writing to help them gain special recognition in America’s highly competitive job market and economy.

 

You can glean more specific marketing advice by visiting Mr. O’Keefe’s LinkedIn page where various PowerPoint and other materials are posted. Be sure to read, “Using Blogs and Social Media:  Your Ticket to Gaining Presence, Visibility and Marketing Presence.” You can further improve your blogging skills by reading Kristina Corbitt’s LexBlog article entitled, “Are You Really Blogging? Five Traits of Successful Posts.”

 

Elizabeth Smith, J.D., M.A., is a freelance writer who has successfully written about general business, legal, medical, and consumer topics for over twenty years. She has also served as the author and co-author of two professional legal texts.

 

 



 

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