I am new to the blogging game. In fact, this is my very first published blog. As recently as February of this year I had no Avvo profile, had less than half a dozen followers on Twitter, and used Facebook to share pictures of my dog. Blogs were something that other people did. For the last few years, as a solo bankruptcy lawyer I rode the wave of the bad economy; widespread layoffs and the real estate crash kept my phone ringing. Then gradually things started to slow down. When forecasters projected a 15 percent drop in bankruptcy filings nationwide for 2012 I knew I had to start taking steps to market my practice.
All those emails from lawyer marketing experts started to catch my eye.
After attending free webinars on how to grow my practice and talking with the experts, the message came across loud and clear: I needed to start blogging. “Okay,” I thought, “I can blog once a month. I can blog once a week.” Not so fast: they wanted me to blog every day.
The experts explained: “How do you expect to get to the first page on Google if you don’t blog every day? The Google search engine craves constant fresh content.” And of course I too drink from the poison well of fear that if you’re not on the first page of Google for the broadest possible keyword search, you may as well not even bother posting your website.
I gulped hard.
I really wanted to be on first page of Google. But to blog every day? Every day? I frankly wasn’t really sure I had that much to say. “No worries,” I was assured by more than one legal marketer. “We can write the blogs for you.”
This was a revelation to me. A lawyer can buy ghostwritten blogs for something like $50 per blog. For $1,000 per month a lawyer can post a blog every business day without having to lose a billable hour. I balked. “No,” I insisted, “I want to write my own content.” ”Well sure,” they said, “you can write your own blog, but pretty soon it’s going to be taking time away from your practice.”
They were right: blogging takes time. But the search engines must be fed. Since February I’ve learned all about SEO and its magic. But really, idealistically, even naively, I asked then and I ask now: is that the only reason to blog? Am I writing because I have something to say, or because I want to write daily love letters to Google?
Maybe I’m extremely earnest, or maybe I just don’t want to spend the money, but I decided to write my own blogs. I started looking around for things to write about. Around this time I attended a conference on business bankruptcies in Columbia, Maryland. Topics that used to bore me silly suddenly took on fresh new interest. “Hey,” I thought, “I could blog about that new case out of the 4th Circuit. My clients may actually be interested.”
“I could blog about the non-timing elements of discharging income taxes in bankruptcy.”
“I could blog about bankruptcy and security clearances. My clients ask about that all the time.”
I have now written over 20 blogs that I have yet to publish as I wait for my new website to be retooled (I blog on video too: I’ve uploaded over 30 short videos to my YouTube channel.) I learned that when it comes down to it, blogging is not really just the need to fill bandwidth to amuse Google’s indexing spiders–it was something much more personal: the re-discovery of my passion for practice and the brand new discovery of my own blogging voice.
Yes, it’s true: to my great surprise I found through blogging that I really did care (and as it turns out, I care very deeply) about what I do for hours and hours every day. Why would I let some ghostwriter cobble together dry, passionless prose just for the sake of feeding fresh daily content to the search engines when doing it myself is so much more interesting?
So yes, I will save the $50 a day and write my own blog.
But the newsletter they all want me to write every month? That, maybe not so much.
For over 25 years Ron Drescher has practiced bankruptcy and commercial litigation in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Here’s the very long signature at the end of all his emails:
Ronald J. Drescher
Drescher & Associates, P.A
4 Reservoir Circle, Suite 107
Baltimore, MD 21208
Fax (410) 484-8120
Delaware Office – 1 Commerce Center
1201 North Orange Street, Suite 722
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
YouTube: MDBankruptcyLawyer – YouTube