“After I finished watching a puppy versus stairs video, I saw a link to a construction defect blog and I was really glad I did,” said no client ever.
Clients do not find lawyers randomly.
The highest traffic days my blog, the Colorado Litigation Report (CLR), ever received were directly related to a matter of public interest generating a lot of searches—Supreme Court Justice retention. Two years ago, when Justice Coats was up for retention, the CLR had more than 500 visits in one day. During the week of Oct. 20, 2014, it hit almost 900 views and had more than 700 visitors. But it was CLR’s website that drove traffic, not the peripheral social media accounts that pushed its content out. The CLR’s Facebook page got about 10 views a day (about eight more than normal). The Twitter account did not get re-tweeted. The Google+ account … well, I have one. So there’s that.
The day after the election, CLR traffic dropped back down to its average of about 50 visitors a day. My lesson—content relevance is everything.
Yes, frequent original content does drive your Google page to rank higher. But people search for specific information. You either have it or you don’t. I know, because my WordPress platform shows me the search terms that brought people to my site. You would (not) be surprised at how many people searched for “[name of Justice] political religious views.” Maybe they found the CLR because I have a dedicated page to each justice, listing all the issues they would have granted certiorari to review, had the court granted the writ.
The CLR may possibly have offered insight into whether one should vote to retain a justice. It was not, however, written with that in mind. I thought those justice-specific pages would be relevant to appellate attorneys researching whether the Court might take up their issue. Perhaps the two are not so different though. In any event, the CLR had content relevant to something Google thought people were searching for. Ultimately, the CLR provided relevant and accessible content people could discover.
Having created and authored a single legal website, I feel qualified to propound the following opinions, which, if subjected to a Rule of Evidence 702 challenge, would be admitted because the objection goes to weight not admissibility:
- Search hits are more important than followers when it comes to legal blogs on the local scale.
- Relevant content is that which is relevant to the searcher, not the searchee.
- Attention-getting devices work—how many videos have you clicked on because the title was something like “I did something sort of ordinary but you will never guess what happened next…”?
- Things that bore you will also bore other people, even if they are very helpful and informative. How many times have you visited the Colorado Supreme Court’s YouTube channel? You didn’t know it had one, did you?
- Social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are necessary but not sufficient to engage interest in the legal services you offer.
Relevant and accessible content is what an audience searches for and values when found. For that, you need a blog.
As an attorney for Colorado law firm Springer and Steinberg, P.C., Jason C. Astle handles a variety of civil and commercial litigation matters, including personal injury, civil appeals, business and employment law. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of two organizations, both focused on education: The Jeffco Schools Foundation and Opportunity Africa.