Online Reputation for Law Firms


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

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Online Reputation for Law Firms

  1. 1. presented by: Joshua Fruchter, Esq. Principal, eLawMarketing November 11, 2008 Monitoring and Managing Your Law Firm’s Reputation Online
  2. 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. 3. Power Shift Corporate Control Consumer Control Push Interactive Traditional Media Social Media
  4. 4. Radically Transparent – Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss “ Google is not just a search engine. It’s a reputation engine.”
  5. 5. Two Angles to Online Reputation Law Firm Individual Attorneys
  6. 6. Monitoring Online Conversations <ul><li>Monitoring online conversations about your firm involves monitoring: </li></ul><ul><li>Key blogs covering the legal industry (Above the Law, WSJ Law Blog) </li></ul><ul><li>Online media stories </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook) </li></ul><ul><li>Social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit,, StumbleUpon) </li></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>Blogs My Yahoo Technorati Media Google Alerts Yahoo Alerts Social Networking Sites Email Notifications Social Bookmarking Sites Tags Feeds
  7. 7. Responding to Negative Online Stories <ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>CORRECT INACCURACIES: be sure to correct any inaccuracies – may be appropriate to demand a retraction by blog or other source of inaccuracy </li></ul><ul><li>AVOID ARROGANCE: Use humor if possible </li></ul><ul><li>WORD TRAVELS FAST: Be aware that any response will be spread virally – so consider all responses carefully </li></ul>
  8. 8. Online PR – Boost Site Traffic and Search Engine Visibility <ul><li>DETERMINE KEYWORDS: identify the keywords and phrases that prospective clients might use to search for the subject of the release </li></ul><ul><li>COMPOSE RELEASE: compose the release using the identified keywords and phrases </li></ul><ul><li>SELECT OR CREATE LANDING PAGES: determine what pages on your website you’d want people to visit after reading the release </li></ul><ul><li>HYPERLINK KEYWORDS TO LANDING PAGES: hyperlink keywords within the release back to the landing pages </li></ul>
  9. 9. Blogging Best Practices <ul><li>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” </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>IDENTIFY CONTENT SOURCES: identify new stories and other sources on which you can comment (e.g., related blogs, Google Alerts) </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>DEVELOP INBOUND LINKS: contact other bloggers; add blog to “blawg directories”; claim blog on Technorati; host a blog carnival </li></ul><ul><li>PROMOTE READERSHIP: offer both RSS and Email subscription, as well as “viral marketing” options (e.g., Share This) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Social Networking Sites – Risk Management <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>AVOID DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION </li></ul><ul><li>AVOID SOLICITATION – LOCAL BAR RULES </li></ul><ul><li>AVOID FORMING ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS: don’t provide legal advice – consider disclaimer in cases of doubt. </li></ul><ul><li>LONGEVITY – THE GOOGLE CACHE: assume that anything posted to the Web can always be found through Google even if you think you deleted it. </li></ul><ul><li>AVOID THE “HARD SELL” – FOCUS ON HELPING OTHERS </li></ul>
  11. 11. Wikipedia – Basic Principles <ul><li>EIGHTH MOST POPULAR WEB SITE IN THE WORLD (ALEXA): provides brand exposure and site traffic (not SEO value) </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>CRITERIA FOR ENTRY: NOTABILITY (“an organization is generally considered notable if it has been the subject of significant coverage in reliable, independent secondary sources.”) </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Wikipedia – Process <ul><li>CONTRIBUTING CONTENT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Craft practice articles in the Wikipedia Sandbox </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a “stub” article (avoid “peacock” terms) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supplement existing articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Propose an article for creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link to (i) related pages within Wikipedia and (ii) external links (to firm’s website and third party sites to demonstrate neutrality) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MONITORING BRAND </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add pages about your firm to your watchlist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscribe to the RSS feed of your firm’s pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be an active member who provides value to the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow policies and guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SAMPLE ENTRIES </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING Joshua Fruchter (866) 833-6245 [email_address]