Blogging for Law Firms: An Interview with Fox Rothschild’s Eleanor Vaida Gerhards

March 21, 2013 – In The News
Reputation Capital

Blogging for law firms and individual lawyers has become a vital component of communicating legal trends and connecting with clients and Fox Rothschild LLP has devoted significant resources to doing it well. The firm launched its “Employment Law” blog in June 2007 and now has a total of 43 blogs covering topics in a wide range of industries from real estate to fashion law.

Eleanor Vaida Gerhards, contributor of the firm’s “Franchise Law Update” blog shared the details of blogging for the firm in an interview with Reputation Capital.

How does blogging fit into Fox Rothschild’s overall marketing strategy?

Over the past decade, blogging has proven itself to be an integral component of legal marketing, as it’s a great way for a lawyer to build a reputation as a trusted and reliable source in a particular area of law and provide fresh, useful content on a specific topic.

What other types of content does Fox Rothschild use in its marketing efforts?

We regularly distribute content via both traditional and emerging mediums. We utilize press releases, articles, white papers and the placement of select commentary in targeted publications on a regular basis in order to stay in front of specific and targeted demographics.

Additionally, utilizing technologically advanced mediums, including blogs, e-newsletters and social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, enables Fox to stay abreast of trends in our industries and relay that information to our contacts in the most convenient and timely way possible.

How do you decide which types of content to use?

At Fox, we distribute information across several different platforms for any one of our business development and marketing initiatives. Action items for each initiative are designed on a case-by-case basis. By carefully selecting the most suitable approach for each initiative, we’re able to craft a comprehensive marketing plan that will maximize the exposure of our attorney’s efforts.

How does the “Franchise Law Update” blog help strengthen your relationship with current and prospective clients?

Our franchise blog is intended to provide readers with a broad range of news and insight on the franchise industry in a timely and convenient manner. I think our franchise blog is so successful because we appeal to a wide range of franchise practitioners — franchisors, franchisees, suppliers and attorneys — by reporting not just on important new franchise case decisions and state and federal regulatory updates, but also on general business topics of interest in the franchise world, which we always try to tie back to an important practical tip or takeaway for the reader.

We also frequently utilize guest bloggers from outside the firm and attorneys from other practice areas at our firm, including employment, banking and lending, and intellectual property, when an update in their particular field has an application to the franchise industry.

Our Franchise Blog helps showcase to both current and perspective clients the wide range of knowledge within Fox Rothschild’s Franchise, Licensing and Distribution practice group. Our blog’s editor-in-chief, John Gotaskie Jr., is a well-respected and experienced franchise litigator, while I focus my practice on franchise regulatory and transactional work. Other frequent contributors from our franchise practice group represent a good mix of transactional and litigation attorneys showcasing our solid and valuable industry experience.

We also understand that one or two posts may not immediately generate new clients. The idea is to convince potential clients and reinforce with current clients that we are THE informed, nimble, resourceful and energetic team of attorneys they want representing them. This message is also sent home when other social mediums pick up our blog and re-blog, tweet or write articles citing our posts. Many of our franchise bloggers have received writing and speaking opportunities because of their posts. It opens up other doors.

What’s your favorite piece of advice for others who are just learning about blogging?

When it comes to blogging my favorite piece of advice for lawyers is the old adage of KISS: “Keep it Simple, Stupid,” “Keep it Short, Stupid” or “Keep it Short and Simple” — whatever variation you prefer. A blog post is meant to provide information on a particular matter in the quickest and easiest manner possible for a reader to digest. You don’t need to over-complicate an issue and you aren’t writing a law treatise. There are plenty of other mediums for anyone who wants that 100 page national state survey on franchise regulations.

Blogging isn’t the only way to build a practice, but it is a nice tool to have in your kit. In my experience blogging works best for attorneys who have a practice focused on a very specific type of law, have a lot of knowledge about that area of law and are confident in their knowledge so they can synthesize the information succinctly, in plain English and in a creative way to readers.

Finally, it is important to understand the time commitment involved. Blogging only work when the bloggers make the time to provide fresh content! Many times that content comes from your own legal experiences, but usually that is not enough. Blogging lawyers must stay on top of their game and work with their marketing departments to find creative ways to keep updated on new industry trends, legal decisions and laws. Know your field and what people are talking and engaged about. Personally, I created targeted Google Alerts; subscribe to other blogs and online resources; receive updates from legal franchise guides, business entrepreneur magazines, and the Federal Trade Commission; and am a member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising’s ListServ.