Adrian Lurssen’s recent piece, “Are We Heading to a Post-Blogging World?”, made waves last month, and I’ve been mulling it over ever since. In short, Adrian discusses the growing trend of writers foregoing their own blogs to publish under branded media platforms such as the Huffington Post. He cites the presence of a built-in audience and the ability to piggyback on brand reputation as answers to the problems of “how to be read” – reasoning that “how to publish” has never been easier.
Adrian is spot-on in his assessment of the value of developing a targeted readership. I agree that creating a blog without consideration for your intended audience is a critical error. But this, of course, is not new. Since the earliest days of blogging, there have been two groups: those who treated “web logs” as a solitary journal-writing experience, and those who invested heavily in two-way conversations.
Both strategies have their success stories, but I think most would agree that solitary publishing has consistently been the tougher road. Even with thought-provoking ideas and fantastic writing, bloggers who don’t build the requisite channels to push their message “off the blog” tend to lag in terms of exposure. It’s hard to fault anyone for being tempted by the promise of an immediate, wide audience. But it many ways, that’s taking the easy way out. It's easy to inherit an audience. The much harder route, the one that contains all the value, is earning an audience.
Writing for branded media platforms may be the “the future of blogging”, as Adrian suggests, but there’s absolutely no reason for lawyers to kill their blogging aspirations. The two pieces support each other quite nicely. If you truly want to build reputation, create a self-controlled domain where you can direct readers who want to know more about you, read more of your writing, and even reach out to you for business. Don’t get me wrong, audience is an essential element. But lawyers are not journalists, and exposure is not the only value factor here. Having a self-published professional blog creates significant added depth to lawyer’s online persona. Blogging also goes a long way towards helping lawyers be found for their name in the search engines — a value delivered to both lawyers individually and their firms.
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