Paul has a great way with words and especially blog titles, although you'll learn later that might not be all his own work, and is the type of member we love to see contributing to the site simply because he's so entertaining.
His recent post Law Firms "Be Bloody and Resolute" in 2013 is my personal favourite (like Paul, I love a list, too) but there are plenty of insightful, helpful and amusingly told tales of his journey from a High St lawyer with an uncertain future to an empowered go-getter. You can check out Paul's Defero Law Blog here but before you do, why not check out our Q&A with Paul below. Hats off to our latest Star Blogger.
You are a keen blogger, both for your law firm Clutton Cox and for Solicitors Marketing Success - can you tell us a little bit about how you got into blogging and the benefits it brings you and/or your firm?
2008 was truly an Annus Horibilis, my High Street law firm looked down the barrel of an uncertain future. A perfect storm of recession and the threat of Alternative Business Structures were looming. As Al Pacino would say “Whaddya Gotta Do?”
I noticed things were happening on the internet. I found I was researching the internet before I made a purchase or decided to go somewhere new on holiday. I was using the internet for educational purposes and was able to compare like with like.
I was being empowered by the internet in all sorts of ways, I was receiving emails which I had actually requested (there will always be junk as well). This is where legal services were surely heading as well, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Next, I dived headlong into the wonderful and hitherto unknown world of the internet and in particular internet Marketing. I read, listened, watched everything I could about how to market a successful practice on the internet. I gorged content and knowledge. I enlisted on websites, took consultancy from internet marketing gurus and marketing experts.
The recession gave me the time to work on my practice rather than just in it.
What evolved, has taken me and my personal and law firm to the cutting edge of internet marketing and led to the setting up of Solicitors Marketing Success (with Ed Rivis, one of the consultants I used) to help other law firms with internet marketing and social media
You have some catchy headlines, many involving cats, how do you go about creating content that you feel will prove to be of use to your readers?
I have a gift (some would say an affliction) for Daily Mail type headlines. The "8 out of 10 cats prefer to choose their lawyer online" was designed to garner attention as it coincide with Jimmy Carr's publicity over his tax affairs. The technical term is "newsjacking". By the way, Ed and I have a super little tool which automatically creates blog or article titles so you never need be stuck again.
Your Clutton Cox website has a blog, videos, and very prominent calls to action: does this marketing approach pay off and why don't more firms use it?
The short answer is yes. In a highly competitive field such as conveyancing we have managed to refrain from going headlong down the referral or cheap conveyancing route. Now about 40% of our new business leads come directly from our website.
The internet is a breeding ground for pre-selection of law firms. It is a huge differentiator for us against our competitors.
Clients can form an opinion of you and your law firm by the quality of the content on your website and the social proof of testimonials. Many law firms simply will not know that they have been overlooked.
A few firms are beginning to wise up to the potential benefits of the internet and social media, but it does take commitment and perseverance, so many are put off or give up after a little while.
The most important thing to remember is that a website is just the start and not the end.
One of your recent posts talked about law firms grasping the opportunity to use internet marketing - why is there industry resitance to something everyone else did years ago?
There are still some law firms who believe that marketing is an add in Yellow Pages - an example of old traditional outward or outbound marketing.The world of "Inbound" marketing which is permission based and centred on clients finding out about you and your content is a relatively new. Social Media is a great way to add personality to your personal and law firm brand
Blogging aside, what other social platforms are you investing time in and what is your approach?
I have stuck with Twitter as my main stay and tweet as myself and my alter ego Will_Matters1 (Account name: You Can't Take With You) specifically for Wills and Probate with a combined total of 6400 or so followers. I also tweet under @solicitsuccess for tips on internet marketing.
We have a facebook page for Clutton Cox which is more a holding feature as our demographic is not really there. But we will see, things may change. I also use Google+ which seems to be enduring and one to watch as Google seeks to create its own social media platform.
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