How Commenting Can Help (and Hurt) Your Social Media Presence

Senior Copywriter for the Law Firm Marketing Solutions group at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Dee Latham enlightens us how commenting affects our social media presence.

I know what you're thinking: How can other folks' comments really help my blog? Comments or feedback mean that people are reading your blog, which is the purpose. When a blog receives comments from regular posters, it becomes more dynamic and it attracts more visitors. The more visitors it receives, the more perceived value. It's a basic way of gaining readers, highlighting your strengths and ultimately driving more leads to your firm.

There are also things to watch out for, however, such as being mindful of hot-button topics and responding to comments. Take this one as an example: How will the new healthcare laws affect your audience? There are numerous pros and cons for either side, which is exactly what is needed to stir up interest, but really it can only do you harm to respond to posts, especially the negative ones. Why? Once you comment, it can be construed as imparting legal advice in an unregulated way. And the question arises as to whether attorney-client relationships are created. Sure, fresh comments are a way to make the search engines fall in love with your blog to keep its URL ranked high on searches. But don't get caught in the ethical trap of engaging in these types of discussions through blog commenting and social media.

Here are some other tips to help keep your readers engaged:

  • Ask a question. Leave posts that are open-ended and prompt an answer.
  • Refine your "blog dialog." Get to know your own "voice"; consistency of tone is key as your readers get more familiar with your writing.
  • Post often. Keep your content fresh; by not updating your blog with new posts, you may be missing out on opportunities to grow a responsive readership and readers will take you less seriously.
  • Check your local bar. Are there any disclaimers that need to be included when you post? Your local or state bar can provide tips to help you keep compliant.

And don't forget:  The more you nurture your blog, the better it will be for your firm in the long run.


It's 10 P.M. Do You Know Where Your Law Firm Website Leads Are?

This was a recent article posted on


Does your law firm's website generate enough traffic and leads each month to grow your business?

And are the leads your website is producing in the areas of the law that you practice? (E.g.,a website for a bankruptcy firm probably should not generate requests for consultations on personal injury.)     

Statistically speaking, there is enough online activity that your website should be producing leads. After all, three out of four consumers seeking an attorney over the last year used online resources at some point in the process, according to a recent survey of adult Internet users.*

So where are all your leads?

To hire your firm, prospective clients searching for legal services online first need to find your firm. And when they find your firm, they need to be inspired to contact your firm and request a consultation.

If that's not happening, you don't have to be an expert developer or webmaster to know you need help. 

"Would I Hire Me?": Take Our Simple Website Self-Assessment

Assume the mindset of a consumer who has a problem related to the area of law you practice, and turns to Google for help. Ask yourself these hard questions and BE OBJECTIVE:

  • What types of questions would my target prospects enter into Google when researching their legal matters? When I key in those questions, does my website appear? (E.g.: My husband is cheating. How do I plan for a divorce?)
  • If a consumer is looking for an attorney in my market, who practices in the area of the law that I practice, will he/she be able to find my firm? (E.g.: Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney; Albany Divorce Lawyer.)
  • When I land on my website, is the content engaging, readable and written in a consumer-friendly manner?
  • As I review my site, how easy is it to call or email to request a consultation?
  • How does my website look when compared with my top competitors'?
  • Is the area of law I practice obvious or ambiguous?
  • Does my website look fresh and current, or does some of the content appear stale?
  • Would I hire me?

If you asked yourself these questions and do not like your answers, or just want to learn more about the latest in law firm marketing, contact us to speak with a Law Firm Marketing Specialist. And don't forget: You should always be as critical as your most discerning prospective client.


* Source: Based on a survey of 4,000 adult Internet users (Internet users comprise 78% of the U.S. adult population** and the U.S. adult population comprises 235 million according to the U.S. Census 2010) conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), March 2012.  ** According to The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project's Spring Tracking Survey conducted April 26-May 22, 2011.


Lawyer Biographies Remain the Most Popular Content on Law Firm Websites in Communicating Expertise

LexisNexis® Legal & Professional ( ), a leading provider of content and technology solutions, last Thursday announced results from the latest LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® study on how international B2B law firms are using their websites as part of their marketing programs.

Based on initial qualitative interviews conducted in April 2012 and an online, quantitative survey in July, the study "The Use of Websites in Law Firm Marketing" reflects the views of 209 law firms across six world regions (excluding the United States). Amongst all participants, offline tactics currently account for just over two-thirds of all marketing spend, compared to 38% for online - though many respondents expect this to change in the future as online methods become more widely adopted in their marketing programs.

Steve Corney, senior digital marketing manager at LexisNexis International, commented: "The study shows that the legal industry is finally recognizing the role and importance of online content in lead generation, alongside traditional offline techniques. The 38% of marketing budgets allocated to online tactics now brings the legal sector slightly above the market average of 36%."*

As the table below illustrates, survey respondents across firms of all sizes do seem to be prioritizing their budget in online investment - reporting to allocate at least 3% of their marketing spend when developing a new website, and a further 1% on sourcing external support for the site once launched:

Size of legal practice


Small firms (1-20 lawyers)


Medium-sized firms (21-50 lawyers)


Larger firms (51+ lawyers)


Total annual marketing budget


Up to US$155,000


Up to US$775,000


Up to US$1.5 million(lower end)   up to $7.5 million(higher end)


Website development budget(involving a major revamp)


Up to US$15,500(10% of total budget)


Up to US$31,000(4% of total budget)


In excess of US$46,500(3 % of total budget)


Ongoing external support budget(annual)


Up to US$1,550(1% of total budget)


Up to US$7,750(1% of total budget)


Up to US$15,500(1%                                    of total budget)


Firms that responded to the survey perceive their website to be 'very effective' (34%) in helping to build their reputation and awareness of their brand. A disparity, however, lies in the role that their websites play to help generate new work. Here respondents are seemingly more ambivalent, with more than one third (36%) feeling that their website fails to sufficiently support lead generation - though this view was more prevalent among respondents from smaller law practices and firms that had not revamped their website for more than three years. On average, all firms surveyed tended to run their websites for two to three years before considering a re-design.

A quarter of all respondents report taking a formal approach to managing content on their website, with 25% (small, medium and large firms) using a content calendar to schedule regular updates, whilst the majority (66%) have yet to put this structure in place. When asked about the most popular content on their website, lawyer biographies are the most visited pages (85% of respondents), followed by information about practice area/sector expertise (52%) and thought leadership articles, case histories, etc. (50%).

The popularity of such content helps to explain why respondents also ranked online legal directories (61% 'very' and 'somewhat' effective) as the third most effective lead generation tactic, behind their website (74%) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO, 62%). Adding relevant content about their lawyers, market expertise and thought leadership to online directories provides firms with further SEO benefits beyond their own website and helps to surface their content to a wider online audience to help prove credibility and generate new leads.

Whilst 71% of firms do take time to track how content on their website is used, many recognise that there is room for improvement in this area. Of these firms, only 11% report extensively using the available reporting tools and data to help measure effectiveness and return on investment, whilst 43% make little or no use of the data available.

Derek Benton, director of International Operations at Martindale-Hubbell, commented: "Technology is one of the factors that is changing the competitive landscape in the legal sector. It is positive to see how firms are using relevant content on their own website and third party sites to help produce leads more cost effectively, rather than rely only on offline channels. The challenge for marketers is to use the available reporting tools to monitor engagement and continually measure and improve the impact of online content to deliver the best return on investment."

Download the full report of "The Use of Websites in Law Firm Marketing: Examining how corporate law firms use their websites in marketing and business development" here.

*Source: "The Marketing Budgets 2012 Report", Econsultancy, in association with Experian Marketing Services, Feb 2012.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional

LexisNexis® Legal & Professional ( ) is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal and Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content, to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier, LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.

Martindale-Hubbell® helps international law firms to enhance their online presence and drive more prospect enquiries through professional profiles on® and coordination of Martindale-Hubbell lawyer ratings. is a leading online law directory with over 13 million unique visitors every year.

Improve Your Business Development Savvy

Amy KnappAmy Knapp spelled out how law firm marketers can be effective business development coaches, speaking at the Continuing Marketing Education Conference of the LMA Virginias Chapter in Richmond.

“I am hearing the word sales more and more frequently in law firm,” she said. “Business development is getting in front of the client, making the sale and bringing home the bacon. There is nothing between you and bringing in the money,“ she said. Amy, the Principal of Knapp Marketing of Washington, D.C., is a marketing and business development strategist with more than 20 years experiences working for professional services firms.

  1. Read business books about the sales process. She recommended Legal Business Development by Jim Hassett, Rainmaking Made Simple by Mark Maria, Spin Selling by Neil Rackham and Business by Referral by Ivan Misner.
  2. Go sell something. "If you want to be a good coach, you have to go sell something." It is a disadvantage for many marketers that they haven’t sold anything. Amy suggested joining your daughter and sell Girl Scout Cookies. “You will feel the fear that your daughter feels.” Other options are selling an LMA sponsorship for a chapter or raising funds for a charity.
  3. Help them move the ball forward. It can be useful to do something as basic as edit a lawyer's email proposals. A lawyer might write, "I’d love to talk with out about opportunities with your company. My phone number and email address are…” Change it to: “I’d like to speak with you about we can provide value to your company. I'm available to talk anytime this Thursday or Friday and I'll give you a call then. If you would prefer a different time, just let me know."
  4. Use pre-recorded training. She recommended Rainmaker VT, an online education program for lawyers featuring videos created by sales coach Mike O'Horo. Sales coach Cordell Parvin offers free podcasts of coaching sessions on iTunes.
  5. Make them comfortable. Marketers think in terms of engaging people, being entrepreneurial and creative and cultivating relationships. Lawyers are focused on following precedent, avoiding risk, preventing problems and picking apart documents, according to Amy. A marketer can develop a list of prospects and marketing initiatives -- which will feel intimidating to a lawyer. When you make a list of things they should do, start at the bottom so they can take little steps and it’s not a high-states situation. You can’t make them afraid to take the first step.

By using these tactics, a marketer can coach a lawyer to finally say to a prospect, "I would like to be of service to your company.



The Use of Websites in law Firm Marketing

Must Have Plugin for Wordpress Bloggers of Legal News

WordPress offers a free plugin designed for bloggers who want to add legal news content to their websites. You blog's own content will be combined with fresh legal news from LexisNexis' legal news website, at

Download the plugin here.


  • Combine Your Content With Fresh Headlines: This WordPress plugin will display a mix of fresh legal news headlines that your predetermine intermixed with your blog's own content.

  • No 3rd Party Branding: This plugin is "White Label". The design is determined by your WordPress theme and no other logos or branding will be displayed or marketed to the end user.

  • Customized Legal News: You customize what types of legal news (bankruptcy, family law, etc.) is displayed to your readers in the easy to use admin screen.

  • Adjustable Content Display: Ability to add a character limited summary option to display excerpts from stories directly on your blog.

  • Continuous RSS Scrolling: Headlines will vertically scroll at a speed you determine, allowing a large amount of content to be displayed in a small box.

  • Easy Installation: No coding knowledge required to configure this plugin. Just activate the plugin and drag and drop the widget to sidebar and check the front end.

  • Scalable Performance: Based on the latest WordPress feed fetching technology for enhanced performance and scalability

  • Multiple Flavors of RSS Supported: Supports all major types of RSS and Atom feeds including: RSS 0.91 (Netscape), RSS 0.91 (Userland), RSS 0.90, RSS 0.92, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom 0.3, Atom 1.0

  • Easy Configuration: Easy to use configuration settings screen

  • Multiple sources of legal news categories: bloggers can select specific types of headlines to be displayed in widget (Divorce, current events, Family Law, etc.) in admin interface

  • Configurable name for headline box: Call this widget box whatever you want (ie. Top Legal News, Name-Of-Your-Blog News, etc.)


How to Market your Law Firm using Google Street View Technology

This post is an interesting one by guest author Anthony Caccamo. 

Google Business Photos is a New Premium Product from Google that will help you market and advertise your Law Firm online and maximize your presence on Google Products.

Google Business Photos uses Street View Technology to take clients inside your Law Office with a 360 degree interactive Virtual Tour.  The Virtual Tour is made available to users through your Google+ Local Page, Google Search, and Google Maps.  You may also grab the code and embed the tour on your Law Firm's website.

This new technology from Google allows customers to see where they'll be sitting when they speak to attorneys in your office.  It is a unique way to give clients the security and comfort that comes with knowing their surroundings before their first visit to your office.

In addition to the Virtual Tour the service also includes 10-15 high resolution professional photographs.  These images capture the highlights of your business location and any special nuances that add to the ambiance of your office.

Google Business Photos helps maximize your presence across all Google Products including Google+ Local, Google Maps, and Google Search by adding new graphics and icons to these services that are designed to encourage users to take a virtual tour of your location.  Encouraging interactivity through Google engages prospective clients and can increase the probability of them clicking on your search listing and making it to your website.

With the Majority of all internet searches occurring on Google, most clients will first learn of your firm through a Google product.  Google Business Photos allows law firms to put their best foot forward and invite clients in for an intimate look around the office.

Black Paw Photo provides Google Business Photos directly in NY, NJ, CT, & PA and works with a network of photographers to provide coverage across the U.S.A. and Canada.

For more information about Google Business Photos, please contact Black Paw Photo at

Take a Virtual Tour of Frank Marciano's Law Firm in Hoboken New Jersey:

View Larger Map 

You can see how the virtual tour integrates with a Google+ Page by visiting Frank Marciano's page here. For even more information, view this video from Google Business Photos.


Marketing Tips that Generate New Business

The No. 1 mistake I see lawyers make when marketing themselves is failing to be active online. LexisNexis® just announced new research by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) that reveals that 3 out of 4 consumers seeking an attorney over the last year used online resources at some point in the process.* This means that attorneys must have a Web page or blog as the cornerstone of their online marketing. Further, every time a new article or blog post is published, a lawyer should share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

To build a following, a blog should be updated at least once a week, if not more often. A blog allows attorneys to demonstrate their expertise and discuss legal issues that consumers face. The more content that is created, the more there is for Google to index.

This can be a lot of work, so I recommend that attorneys enlist help from LexisNexis, which can set up your blog and Web page and actually write a first draft of all the material you put online.

Marketing Musts

  • It's important for lawyers to publish FAQs ("frequently asked questions") online that discuss a potential client's problem — not just practice area descriptions — because people often start by researching their legal issue, not by searching for a particular lawyer. Smart lawyers put content online that gets them found early in a person's search.
  • An attorney must be facile and comfortable with the Web, blogging and social media. With the huge growth in social media, a potential client's friends, co-workers and colleagues are online — and so the attorney must be online too.
  • Along with online sources, referrals are a significant source of new business for lawyers. Accordingly, attorneys should find their counterparts and set up express referral arrangements. For example, a litigator should seek out transactional lawyers. Social media is a great way to meet referral sources.
  • Smart lawyers join and become active in trade associations and organizations that their clients belong to. Many associations have online groups and networks, and they make it easy for an attorney to meet a potential client online — and then pursue the relationship in person.
  • The new TRiG research shows that Lawyers.comSM is the top-cited online legal resource mentioned by consumers who sought an attorney in the past year, following Google.* Consumers are accustomed to reading reviews online, on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. When a consumer cannot find any information about a lawyer online, this is a major turnoff. Furthermore, consumers don't like it when they cannot find a rating of a lawyer online. The place to turn is, which carries profiles of hundreds of thousands of lawyers, who can invite their clients or fellow attorneys to rate them. Consumers want to know a lawyer's clients rate them highly, and whether fellow lawyers respect them.

The "old-fashioned" methods for finding lawyers are still in use — people will always check with friends, family and co-workers to find a lawyer. But there is one thing you can be sure about — people will double-check that recommendation online.

How to be a Social Media Rock Star With Your Firm's Blog

Here is an excerpt from a recent  paper from LexisNexis demonstrating social media’s viability for law firm marketing purposes.

When a consumer faces a crisis—a failing business, an unfaithful spouse, a family member in trouble—that person is more likely than ever to turn to the Internet looking for answers to his or her legal issues.Three out of four consumers who sought an attorney in the past year used online resources, including search engines, websites, YouTube™, Facebook® and other tools at some point in the process, according to a recent survey.

So by including information about legal topics being frequently searched, an attorney’s blog will be more visible on search engines results—and that increases the chances that consumers and referring attorneys will find and select that attorney’s firm.In fact, one out of two respondents to a recent survey (from firms of nine attorneys or fewer) who are blogging reported retaining clients directly or via referral as a result of their legal topic blogging.
That’s landing actual paying clients.Enhance your firm’s ability to attract more, higher quality prospects through blogging and social media marketing by following these proven techniques.
Read the 10 tips here.

Marketing by Making Online Videos

YouTube is a potent marketing tool for attorneys. For example, when Ari Kaplan goes to conferences, he records short interviews of prospective clients he meets. Ari uses the video recording function on his iPhone, and uploads the videos online.

"Self-promotion is much more about promoting the good works of others and letting that reflect on your character," Ari says. When he records and uploads a video, "My goal is for the other person to think, 'Ari is really thinking about me, he understands my business — he's not a commodity.'"

Lawyers from across New Jersey and New York came to a recent LexisNexis LEXPO networking and marketing event to hear Ari Kaplan explain how to generate new business with social media — particularly LinkedIn. Ari is the author of the new book Reinventing Professional Services:  Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace.

Video is a very effective marketing tool. Of the people he's interviewed, "I've worked with 75% of these companies now," Ari says. View this video to learn more about marketing with online video:


Like this post? Watch all of Ari Kaplan's videos from this presentation in Marketing by Making Connections OnlineMarketing by Connecting to Groups and  Marketing by Making Introductions.

Follow Larry Bodine on Twitter: @Larrybodine