When attorney Robert B. Teuber launched his tax law blog in 2007, he hoped to take advantage of a burgeoning online marketing scene.
His investment paid off as he attracted a decent following over time, which in turn led to a bump in business — to the point where Teuber hasn’t had a substantial posting since this year’s tax deadline.
Despite the additional work, Teuber and others admit that a stagnant blog is essentially useless to an attorney as well as readers.
Attorney Kevin O’Keefe, who founded online social media consulting firm LexBlog in 2003, said 70 percent of the company’s 3,000 clients have posted within the last two weeks.
“Some lawyers see a tremendous surge in certain areas and don’t want any more work,” he said. “But most lawyers don’t understand what the Internet is all about and are out there floundering.”
In fact, there are a number of attorneys in Wisconsin who have neglected their legal blogs for weeks, months and even years.
“Is it as cutting edge and as hot a topic as it was? No,” Teuber said of blogging. “But, I think it is still probably the best of the Internet tools to try and develop.”
Madison attorney Nathan J. Dosch started his estate planning blog in 2007, but had only posted new content five times this year. He said being interviewed for this story served as motivation to update his blog, which he did on May 25 after a month absence.
But Dosch said he has no intention of abandoning his blog; rather he plans to blend it into a new one he launched on the niche area of digital estate planning.
The new blog, which launched in April and has three posts, addresses traditional estate planning questions in a technological world such as what happens to a person’s Facebook page when they die.
“It’s kind of a spin-off from my other blog and goes beyond just Wisconsin,” Dosch said. “Digital estate planning is broader in scope and I’m looking for a larger target audience.”
Ideally, he wants to link his more traditional blog on Wisconsin estate and tax law issues with his more innovative digital estate planning posts.
But generating fresh content can take its toll, no matter how much an attorney has to say.
Beyond trying to maintain his own blog, Teuber’s firm, Weiss Berzowski Brady LLP recently redesigned its website and incorporated a multi-practice blog which has been updated sporadically throughout the year.
Teuber is a contributor to the firm blog, having last posted in April. But he also engages in other forms of online networking like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which have made it easier to connect with people.
He noted that the explosion of online social networking has saturated the Internet with fast, cost-effective marketing options.
“They don’t require as much of a time commitment, but what those services best do is remind people of who you are,” he said of quicker online networking outlets. “Blogs let you tell people what you do.”
When criminal defense attorney William J. Reddin, 56, began blogging in 2008, he wanted to better market himself, but also expected to share opinions on things like the new drunken driving laws or the debate over the legalization of marijuana.
After a series of early posts, Reddin’s contributions dramatically decreased because he found the experience to be overwhelming in terms of time and underwhelming as far being able to share knowledge with colleagues.
“I guess I was hoping for more back and forth and perhaps I haven’t given it a fair shake,” he said. “I haven’t abandoned it, but there are only so many hours in a day.”
Reddin said recently he has been solicited online by companies which offer to regularly ghostwrite his blog for a fee, but he is wary of going that route just to stay current.
O’Keefe said when it comes to maintaining a successful blog, lack of time should not be an excuse.
“It’s a fallacy that not enough time is the greatest reason to stop blogging,” he said. “Time is based on values.”
And Teuber added that it may take a year before seeing a return on the investment, in the form of new clients or networking with other attorneys.
It also comes down to whether an attorney relishes regularly writing entries for a blog.
“Particularly with Facebook or Twitter, people seem to get more enjoyment from that, than crafting a short article for a blog,” he said. “But if you are not enjoying it, it’s not worth wasting your time.”
Jack Zemlicka can be reached at email@example.com.