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Online Reputation for Law Firms

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DIscusses strategies for monitoring and managing a law firm\'s online reputation.

DIscusses strategies for monitoring and managing a law firm\'s online reputation.

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  • 1. presented by: Joshua Fruchter, Esq. Principal, eLawMarketing www.elawmarketing.com November 11, 2008 Monitoring and Managing Your Law Firm’s Reputation Online
  • 2. Warren Buffet “ It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”
  • 3. Power Shift Corporate Control Consumer Control Push Interactive Traditional Media Social Media
  • 4. Radically Transparent – Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss “ Google is not just a search engine. It’s a reputation engine.”
  • 5. Two Angles to Online Reputation Law Firm Individual Attorneys
  • 6. Monitoring Online Conversations
    • Monitoring online conversations about your firm involves monitoring:
    • Key blogs covering the legal industry (Above the Law, WSJ Law Blog)
    • Online media stories
    • Social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook)
    • Social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon)
    • .
    Blogs My Yahoo Technorati Media Google Alerts Yahoo Alerts Social Networking Sites Email Notifications Social Bookmarking Sites Tags Feeds
  • 7. Responding to Negative Online Stories
    • ACKNOWLEDGE: if the firm has done something that generates a cascade of criticism or ridicule, acknowledging the story is the first step towards mending any reputational blows (avoid “ostriching” – stories generally do NOT go away)
    • EXPLAIN: tell the firm’s side of the story – be calm, respectful, maybe even humorous – use the homepage of the firm’s website, online press releases and any blogs where the issue has gained steam or that can influence the conversation.
    • CORRECT INACCURACIES: be sure to correct any inaccuracies – may be appropriate to demand a retraction by blog or other source of inaccuracy
    • AVOID ARROGANCE: Use humor if possible
    • WORD TRAVELS FAST: Be aware that any response will be spread virally – so consider all responses carefully
  • 8. Online PR – Boost Site Traffic and Search Engine Visibility
    • DETERMINE KEYWORDS: identify the keywords and phrases that prospective clients might use to search for the subject of the release
    • COMPOSE RELEASE: compose the release using the identified keywords and phrases
    • SELECT OR CREATE LANDING PAGES: determine what pages on your website you’d want people to visit after reading the release
    • HYPERLINK KEYWORDS TO LANDING PAGES: hyperlink keywords within the release back to the landing pages
  • 9. Blogging Best Practices
    • SELECT “NICHE” TOPIC: target too broad a topic and your blog risks getting lost among the competition; in contrast, a “niche” topic will more easily pick up readers passionate about your subject – the “Long Tail”
    • DETERMINE KEYWORDS: identify keywords that potential readers would use to search for resources on this topic (including the most compelling 2-3 keywords for your homepage title tag)
    • PROFESSIONAL DESIGN: put the same effort into designing a blog as you would a website or brochure - matching look-and-feel of website but with a “personal” twist (e.g., attorney photo) is a good approach
    • IDENTIFY CONTENT SOURCES: identify new stories and other sources on which you can comment (e.g., related blogs, Google Alerts)
    • PUBLISH FREQUENTLY: frequency is more important than length – 2-3 paragraphs posts with insightful commentary 4-5X/week is ideal (with occasional longer, analytical posts to demonstrate expertise)
    • DEVELOP INBOUND LINKS: contact other bloggers; add blog to “blawg directories”; claim blog on Technorati; host a blog carnival
    • PROMOTE READERSHIP: offer both RSS and Email subscription, as well as “viral marketing” options (e.g., Share This)
  • 10. Social Networking Sites – Risk Management
    • SEPARATE “PROFESSIONAL” v. “PERSONAL” PERSONA: avoid projecting an extreme online image inconsistent with the persona of an attorney: content of posts, photos published, avatars selected
    • AVOID DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
    • AVOID SOLICITATION – LOCAL BAR RULES
    • AVOID FORMING ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS: don’t provide legal advice – consider disclaimer in cases of doubt.
    • LONGEVITY – THE GOOGLE CACHE: assume that anything posted to the Web can always be found through Google even if you think you deleted it.
    • AVOID THE “HARD SELL” – FOCUS ON HELPING OTHERS
  • 11. Wikipedia – Basic Principles
    • EIGHTH MOST POPULAR WEB SITE IN THE WORLD (ALEXA): provides brand exposure and site traffic (not SEO value)
    • FUNCTION: source of non-biased , balanced and factual information based on collaborative articles - not a PR channel where a company controls the conversation about its brand
    • CRITERIA FOR ENTRY: NOTABILITY (“an organization is generally considered notable if it has been the subject of significant coverage in reliable, independent secondary sources.”)
    • AVOID CONFLICT OF INTEREST: defined as “an incompatibility between the aim of Wikipedia (i.e., to produce a neutral, reliably sourced encyclopedia), and the personal aims of an editor (e.g., to promote the parochial interests of a company). “Editing articles about a company with which you are affiliated is not completely prohibited as long as you adhere to COI guidelines.” (though agencies have had articles written on behalf of clients deleted)
  • 12. Wikipedia – Process
    • CONTRIBUTING CONTENT
      • Craft practice articles in the Wikipedia Sandbox
      • Create a “stub” article (avoid “peacock” terms)
      • Supplement existing articles
      • Propose an article for creation
      • Link to (i) related pages within Wikipedia and (ii) external links (to firm’s website and third party sites to demonstrate neutrality)
    • MONITORING BRAND
      • Add pages about your firm to your watchlist
      • Subscribe to the RSS feed of your firm’s pages
      • Be an active member who provides value to the community
      • Follow policies and guidelines
      • Flag factual errors for correction – but do not edit with intent of “whitewashing” any factual controversies - can’t limit scope only to information that puts firm in the best light.
    • SAMPLE ENTRIES
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skadden%2C_Arps%2C_Slate%2C_Meagher_%26_Flom
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haynes_%26_Boone
  • 13. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING www.elawmarketing.com Joshua Fruchter (866) 833-6245 [email_address]

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