Kevin O’Keefe is the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a pioneer company that helps lawyers with online marketing and...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law firm management,...
In order to be a good lawyer, you first need clients. And to get clients, you need good marketing. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of marketing courses at law school. So in this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson discusses way to market your law firm with LexBlog CEO Kevin O’Keefe, including how to use social media strategically, online networking, and using technology to facilitate and simplify your marketing process. According to Kevin, marketing is a conversation that involves building relevant relationships and setting goals for your particular business. Tune in for insights on various social media platforms and the best times and situations for each.
Kevin O’Keefe is the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a pioneer company that helps lawyers with online marketing and blogs.
The Un-Billable Hour
Give Love to Get Love Social Media Marketing Tips from Kevin O’Keefe
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We’re glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
I am your host, Christopher Anderson and I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm business. My team at How to Manage a Small Law Firm and I work directly with lawyers across the country to help them achieve success as they define it.
In ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ each month, we explore an area important to growing revenues, giving you back more of your time and/or improving your professional satisfaction in one of the key areas of your business.
As an attorney, who has built and managed my own law firms in Georgia and New York City, I now get to work with hundreds of law firm owners to help them grow professionally and personally. I start with the fundamental premise that a law firm business exists primarily to provide for the financial, personal and professional needs of you, its owner.
In this program, I have a chance to speak to you, as I do in presentations all across the country, about what it takes to build and operate your law firm like the business that it is. I have a chance to introduce you to a new guest each month to talk about how to make that business work for you instead of the other way around.
Before we get started, I do want to say a thank you to our sponsors Answer and Solo Practice University. Answer1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-answer1, or online at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com” www.answer.com.
Solo Practice University is a great resource for solos no matter how long you’ve been practicing. Make sure you check out HYPERLINK “http://www.solopracticeuniversity.com” solopracticeuniversity.com and learn how to run your practice better.
Today’s episode of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ is “Give Love to Get Love”. One of the topics I cover is Marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of any business and particularly of law firms, yet lawyers have many misconceptions about marketing what it is, what it is not, and at the end of the day that marketing has two main jobs. Marketing has one main job which is to attract new prospects to the door for the law firm to convert into sales, that is, into new clients, and the other main job of marketing is to keep everybody else the heck away from the business.
My guest today is Kevin O’Keefe. Kevin is the CEO and founder of LexBlog. He works with attorneys to help them get their messages out to prospective clients as one of the tools that they use in marketing, and Kevin is going to talk to us a little bit about how to use and how not to use social media, the web, blogs for their businesses. And I’ve entitled the talk today “Give Love to Get Love,” because I read an article that I really liked that Kevin wrote that talked about that concept. So, first of all, Kevin O’Keefe, welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour.’
My introduction was really, really brief. You run a business called — you run a product called LexBlog, you actually changed the name of your business. What does your business just briefly do for law firm owners?
Kevin O’Keefe: In essence it helps lawyers do a type of work they want to do for the type of clients they would like to do it for, and the Internet is a powerful tool in order to get that work, because the best lawyers I’ve been aware for 35 years practice or 17 and the best work comes by relationships and word-of-mouth, it doesn’t come from advertising or pushing your message out and the feeling on most lawyers’ part in most legal marketers’ part is that they are talking about getting attention and that goes back to the days of Billboards, TV ads, yellow pages that type of thing, which is okay, which you may not have to resort to that or to fall to that, with the advent of the Internet.
So what LexBlog does is blogs became an opportune way for lawyers to reach out and shake the hand of other people to engage them, build a name for themselves, build relationships. So the key though was putting together a turnkey solution not only from a technology standpoint, because it’s not trivial to continue to sustain and build and add features and upgrades to a platform, but also everything a lawyer would need your design, your strategy, your coaching, your search engine optimization, how you would tackle a blog, and then free ongoing support. So it’s just — there’s some businesses I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall into, you create something that didn’t exist that you were looking for and you kind of make it up as you go based upon that feedback.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, I think a lot of great products happen that way. You wish the thing existed, it doesn’t. You make it and then you find it out that other people want it.
Kevin O’Keefe: That was fair basically.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, so you wrote about, you just kind of alluded to this in what you just said, but I want to kind of drill into the thing, because I really found your article to be fairly inspirational for me and also just to — it also was resonated with what I really believe. You wrote in your article that that social media can be a vehicle — that the right way to use it is as a vehicle to give love in order to get love, but that like I think basically when you boil it down a lot of people just look to get the love and don’t give much of it.
Before we go into what that all means let’s just — like I’d like to just understand and help the listeners understand, what does it mean to get love from social media?
Kevin O’Keefe: It’s pretty simple I’ll put you back, in 1995 or 1996, I’m in a law office and ask any lawyer, what do you do with the letters that you receive from clients that you’ve helped and that said, hey, you really changed my life, you made a difference, you saved my business. The things you did for my daughter or son whatever, they’re very moving, take that letter and you put it in the right-hand drawer if you’re right-handed, in your left hand drawer if you’re left-handed. So it’s always available to read on the tough days.
1995 or 1996 I started answering questions on AOL, I wasn’t looking for attention, I just answered questions in areas that — three or four areas that I knew something about and the fan mail started coming three-four times a day. It’s just pretty amazing to the point where we’re saying prayers for you and your team and hope you continue to do this work.
It feels good because you start to feel like giving this education and hard work that I went out and did overtime, it’s worthwhile I can make a difference, I can make a dent in the world. So you start to feel that love and it motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing.
So with social media people put stuff out all day long, they blog, they put stuff on Twitter and they put it on LinkedIn, they put on Facebook, it’s all about their stuff, some kind as I can look down, like this morning I looked at a couple more things and I know this is going to be their stuff because they — I don’t think they’ve ever shared anybody else’s stuff.
And I’m not sure how much they get back or people like their stuff. For me, on Twitter, I mean it’s just the love thing, I don’t share my own stuff, maybe one out of 20 pieces, I share other people’s things because I find it interesting and other people might find it interesting, so I share it, and I think they appreciate that. So if I’m sitting here and we’re talking on this podcast, I’m seeing people have liked my tweets from Europe this morning because I gave a shout out to a software company and McCarthy to troll on launching a new contract automation tool, I thought it was interesting I shot it out. I guess I’m giving them love that was just a way that I think I’ve used that phrase from time-to-time so you’ve run across it.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, so, I think what I hear you saying is that the get love part is — the good get love part is when organically because of helping people, they reach back and show some sort of appreciation, and I guess also what you’ve just said is the get love part is when you do produce something that others share it on your behalf, but in order to do that what you’re saying is you first ought to, give the love by helping others get their messages out, helping them get their products out, helping them get their thoughts out, when you believe they’re worth transmitting to your followers.
Kevin O’Keefe: Yeah, and it’s not just the social media aspect, I can walk into legal tech and most people know me and same thing with ABA TECHSHOW, same thing with a lot of shows, and I think that that comes from blogging and using social media. They tend to know my philosophies because I can be a pain at any of the times but a lot of —
Christopher Anderson: I have never seen it.
Kevin O’Keefe: A lot of it is because I’m not engaging people.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Kevin O’Keefe: Ultimately, I’m looking — it’s not just the social media log back and forth, ultimately I’m looking for business. So if I am paying a law firm and say, you don’t know me from Adam, but I’d like to come in and talk to you about such-and-such maybe like you picked my brain on something, they tend to respond and I think that’s from this philosophical thing of you give, there used to be the first person that wrote a book on the complete book for lawyers for the Internet was a guy named Jerry Lawson and this came out probably ’97 or ’98.
And I think he said you had to give chips to get chips or give squares to get squares and the analogy was 09:30 and that goes back to the early days of Search Engine Optimization, every good content has to be indexed, we’ve got to give links to get links. It’s similar philosophy to that.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, well that makes sense. So get love, I mean, I just want to make sure I’ve kind of captured the concept of giving, so you mentioned sharing the thoughts and tweets if it’s social media, Facebook post if it’s Facebook, I guess if people write a blog or write an article that you come across even if it’s in a newspaper or a magazine and you share that, are all those ways of giving love and have I missed any?
Kevin O’Keefe: Yeah, I use a news aggregator, so I am not randomly seeing things. This is pretty strategic. I am listening to words, subjects, corporation names and sources.
So, for example, any lawyer that is using social media, blogging, whatever, unfortunately most of them don’t know what it is and they hire somebody to just do random stuff and then aren’t sure why it’s not working. Any lawyer that is going to use the Internet has got to identify who the major influencers are in their community.
If I am doing estate planning in Miami, who are the major financial planners in town, who are the major accounting firms in town, who are the lawyers that don’t do estate planning, who is the writers for the business journal on these type of subjects, they are same thing for I guess ‘Miami Herald’ or ‘Tribune’, I don’t know, but that way they are seeing the people that are sharing interesting information, and they are sharing it back out. So they are meeting those people.
Think of the CEO of a major financial planner or maybe you just say we think that doctors have good networks, they can grow it to $2 million so they are going to need estate planning. We think that if we follow the healthcare institutions and CEOs of those healthcare institutions and their executives that they are not going to get much love when they tweet out something about a nonprofit that they got involved in, but I am going to do it because I am a lawyer that would like to have a relationship with them. That’s what you do.
So the giving love is very strategic, okay, I want to meet the CEO of this healthcare organization for lunch within two weeks, and then you have your Twitter list, and up comes something that CEO shared, you re-tweet it, there is another lawyer in Florida that re-tweeted it or anybody else, and that person will thank you. You connect through LinkedIn and you go lunch, and this is real.
And so, the point that I was making in that article was that all these legal technology companies were just sitting at the ABA TECHSHOW and they were sitting in booths with big signs trying to get people to come over and do business with them, and I was sitting there thinking, this isn’t that hard, why wouldn’t you be going out and engaging people to build the name. You are coming up to me, you are coming up to Bob Ambrogi, and you are saying, please, can you write about me. We don’t even know who you are, there’s no trust, there’s nothing.
So using the Internet is more of an engagement and communications meeting, it’s not a broadcast meeting. I am sorry to go on so long.
Christopher Anderson: No, no, I think that’s really key, because I mean, like listening to that, what’s striking me about the way you think about it, the way you talk about it, it’s really like this goes back to Dale Carnegie. This is like way back kind of thinking, but the only difference is that what used to take maybe weeks or months, where you target somebody or a group of people or a demographic that you want to reach, and then you try to find out the networking events that they might be at, and then you make sure to try to have a conversation with them and then you try to find something interesting to send to them and a thank you note. This would all take place over a longer period of time.
And what you have just described is taking the same exact concepts and bringing them on to the various tools at our disposal now; Facebook Twitter LinkedIn, et cetera, and condensing the time, but really doing the same kind of things.
Kevin O’Keefe: Yeah, anywhere from two to four hours a day I am networking online, and it can move across Twitter, it can move across LinkedIn. My blog is my home base, where people tend to see that I am a person of substance because I publish an independent publication. I am on Facebook, all those things.
And I explain to lawyers, I said, go out to a room when you are going to network, except you get to make the room. You get to put in exactly the people that you would love to meet. Now when you walk into the room, you want people to turn around and say, oh my gosh, you are here, how cool is that. That’s the Internet.
These concepts, like Dale Carnegie, this was all dropped around 2000, 2001, 2002 by the people who were out here blogging and were learning this stuff, and we had to pinch ourselves that this stuff was so amazing, but other people couldn’t see it.
Where I feel bad for lawyers is that 80% of what lawyers are being told is wrong, but yet they follow it because they don’t understand it. And I could put myself in that same shoe as a lawyer. I mean I can remember when West showed up years ago and said they can give me access to the Internet in my ZIP code. And I said, I have got access to the whole country already. I have got message boards, LISTSERVs, all this type of stuff, I was learning it by the seat of my pants, but at least I had some general understanding of what might work.
Same thing today, that same goofy concept of somebody coming in and saying, do you realize with the Internet we have set it up so that you can have it for your county for these subject matters, how stupid would that sound today. And today people aren’t coming in and selling stuff, it’s just silly.
Christopher Anderson: But honestly, I mean, there — and I don’t want to mention names, but I mean, there are some major Internet properties that are still selling it that way.
Kevin O’Keefe: They are, of course they are, because you are dealing with an uninformed audience that doesn’t have time to slow down and become informed. So when lawyers ask me what they should do, and I say, if you can’t understand it, don’t buy it. Why would you go buy a car if you couldn’t understand what you would use it for? It doesn’t have to be that complicated, slow down. And that’s where you really want to say that my aspirations are higher than getting leads. My aspirations are being the go-to lawyer on this niche, in my metro area or my state or nationwide, and if somebody has got to hold that position, why not me?
You heard, Chris, the guy that wanted to be the next broadcaster.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Kevin O’Keefe: That was his goal. That was not a light goal. And I have told people that various times, I have used a broadcaster’s knowledge here, I said, he is going to retire. Somebody is going to sit in his seat, who is going to do that? Why wouldn’t it be you?
So for a lawyer, for just using Miami again as an example, I will bet that if I had to within the next couple of hours, within the next hour, find out the three or four leading estate planning lawyers in Miami, I could find that out. And they got their work by word-of-mouth and relationships. Why don’t you be one of those? Why would you say, I could never be one of them.
So I am challenging lawyers to understand that the Internet is a really powerful tool. You probably have a computer sitting in front of you for the last ten years, you have a computer in your pocket, you have computers in your cars, you never go away from them, but then you don’t use them to communicate in a way that will grow your reputation and business.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. I mean, that stuff resonates so well, and one of the things that like — I think that will help people kind of see the difference of what you are talking about is you mentioned in your writing the difference between a neon sign, which is what you were just talking about just now, like people that have the boost and that they are — all their social media interaction is, come see me, come see me, come see me, and a conversation. And like what bounced around in my head was I have heard — here is Jeff Walker who wrote the book ‘Launch’, basically he describes the neon sign thing as people just walking around screaming buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff rather than what you are talking about, which is to enter a conversation with them. And the way he describes it is to actually — the best way is to try to enter a conversation that’s already going on.
How do you reconcile what you are saying with that thinking, like how does that measure up?
Kevin O’Keefe: That’s right, and I will take it a step further. Putting out content, this theme of content marketing, which is a word I just hate, because it’s like it’s something new. I mean, I am sure Abe Lincoln wrote books or wrote letters and whatever, we see content marketing. Even that, people sell software to get people to read the content and then people sell more software to tell you who read the content, like it’s going to matter.
What you just described vis-à-vis the 17:53 is the idea that it’s a listening, it’s a relationship thing. So when I started blogging I didn’t know anything about blogging. I didn’t even know what the word was. So I had to read about it and I had to share what other people were reading and to demonstrate here’s why I shared this with you, here’s what I am learning.
Lawyers always talk about — or before they become lawyers in law school about staying up to speed. We stay abreast of the legal developments and whatnot. We even get scared in law school, oh my god, the advance sheets, am I going to be able to read these all, like they are some mysterious thing.
Then we get out and we do stay up to speed somewhat. Some lawyers maybe go to CLE for just — any way they can get it, they will take it, but others go to learn. But what if you could put your learning out on display, that I am staying abreast, I read from learned people, I read from the thought leaders, and it’s done in a way that not only are you meeting those thought leaders, but the public sees that you are reading them and you are also opining on what they are saying, so you put yourself in that conversation.
So marketing is a conversation. I mean, that’s what it is. It is not a broadcast medium. So people pick up the book, ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’, they will see marketing as a conversation coming from Doc Searls, and it very much is. So if my company is going to market itself we have to find a conversation and be part of that. To the extreme where you are going to see our website go away, we advance into a blog, because I need to have my people in a conversation with other people.
So for lawyers, if I am listening and engaging, like you just described in a conversation, we use the estate planning example, but it could be anything, it could personal injury, bankruptcy, it could be equine law, it could be IP litigation in particular states, it could be anything in the world, who are the thought leaders on that subject, who could I learn from, what are the words and phrases that I would follow, and by doing so people are going to see that I am engaged in that conversation.
It’s no different than if you are invited to be on a panel with the other thought leaders, you would certainly go, you would listen to what they are saying, and out in the audience would be influencers, prospective clients and existing clients, and they would see you as being very knowledgeable on this resource, but even more important than that, they would see the influencers who they have come to know as rock stars in the field engaging you and talking to you like you know something, and it’s pretty simple when you think about it. It’s a lot of fun too.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, yeah, it’s like trans mojo manifestation, but yeah, and it is love. It is transferring the concept that I know you, I like you and I trust you that only comes out of a conversation.
Kevin O’Keefe: People see it and hear it.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. All right! We are going to go to break here in just a second, when we come back, Kevin, I am going to ask you about like — you have mentioned like what it is to give love and how to do it. I am going to ask you like to give an idea of how to start building an actual effective strategy to change the way you are approaching the marketplace, so lawyers, and others quite honestly, who have a chance to listen to this, have a good place to start. We will do that when we get back and we will go to break right now to hear from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes and potential clients you will never hear from again, enter Answer1, Virtual Receptionists. They are more than just an answering service. Answer1 is available 24×7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to e-mails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer1 helps make sure your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call at 1-800-answer1 or visit them at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/podcast” answer1.com/podcast for a special offer.
Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice, need a nuts-and-bolts education on the 360-degree experience of starting a business, there is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals, Solo Practice University, the only online educational and professional networking community dedicated to lawyers and law students who want to go into practice for themselves; more than 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for? Check out HYPERLINK “http://www.solopracticeuniversity.com” solopracticeuniversity.com today.
Christopher Anderson: And we are back with Kevin O’Keefe on The Un-Billable Hour. We are talking about Give Love to Get Love or the strategy for good marketing. We are talking about in the context of social media marketing, but really, this is just good marketing.
As Kevin said before the break marketing is a conversation. To the extent it’s not, it’s probably not good marketing, and to the extent that it is you will get better results. So what I said before we went to break is I wanted to ask Kevin where to get started, then I have got some more nuts and bolts questions, but lawyers listening to this or a businessperson who is listening to this is going like, wow, this is kind of mind-blowing, it’s not new stuff, but I really haven’t been thinking this way and sure as heck a lot of the vendors I am talking about aren’t trying to help me think this way. Where do I get started? How do I start building a strategy to do this? What would you tell them, Kevin?
Kevin O’Keefe: I am sure it’s probably similar types of things that you have talked about. I try to get people to just grab a piece of paper and write down where they want to be. I think Stephen Covey’s phrase Begin with the End in Mind is a powerful phrase, what’s your definition of success. Mark it down two years from today I am going to be that. Be very specific, be very strategic, and be very niche-oriented.
I think when you are going to use the Internet there is a lot of noise out there, so if you can talk about all these soft things that everybody can talk about, or responsive, innovative, cutting-edge law firm, over-the-top service, it’s all good, but it doesn’t differentiate you from anybody else, including a car wash.
So what is it that you would like to do? What could you dream of, and you don’t have to burn the boats behind you and say, I am going to do equine law when I have been over here doing corporate litigation, you can still do some of this work. You would freak out your partners if you said tomorrow I am doing equine law, I don’t have any clients.
But you could say, okay, I am going to do this corporate litigation work over here, but I am going to do equine law and I would like to be one of the better-known lawyers in the country on this subject and these are the type of clients I would like to have, the Breeders’ Syndicate participants, whatever it might be, trainers, you name it, and I would like that to be the majority of my work, 75%, 90% within two years. That’s not a foolish goal, and I would like to be making more money than I am today. I want to make sure I never have to worry about whether my kids are going to college because I have got enough resources. If my husband and I want to go on vacation, I have got the resources for that.
I never have to worry about where I am at for a law firm, because I am identifiable in and among themselves. Really get focused on that, because today it’s possible with the Internet.
And then start to learn how to use the Internet and how other people are using it. Some of it you can learn on your own, some of it you may want some help. It all varies. It’s not mysterious and then you can go out and look at what certain people are doing, you have to find the people that know what they’re doing. Then I think you’re listening. You start to see what’s going on out there. To me you sit down with a news aggregator or Twitter, now these are things you might need some help and understand how to set up, but most kids could Google how do write Feedly, which is a news aggregator, pull up YouTube and figure it out.
Same thing with Twitter as a listening device as opposed to broadcast.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Kevin O’Keefe: And then start to — I would suggest we get comfortable with these, these mediums. You’re not going to build an identity in a big way in an area that you’re going to say I’m going to do this or I haven’t had a reputation before without blogging. That’s impossible, because you’re going to have to demonstrate in some way that you learned, you follow, here is my insight commentary, and it has to be where you are.
Mainly a person this morning said, send me a piece and then said, you probably saw this on LinkedIn yesterday. I’m thinking, no, I didn’t see on LinkedIn yesterday, I was probably there but how would I see that? And if I want to look at that person’s publishing at LinkedIn I can’t see it. If they’re publishing at other publications, okay, there is not a home base for that.
Another thing they have to realize is putting content inside a website is the height of folly. They will bring a bunch of traffic to your website, but certainly going to build a notoriety for you as an authority on the subject. It doesn’t establish thought leadership.
And then you’re going to get out. You just can make a list of these other tools, and they’re not that many tools, but I know it can get complicated if I was — somebody was telling me yesterday and I didn’t use them, it would seem awfully intimidating. But you’re using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and I would also set the goal in between that — I believe that the Internet is a powerful communications tool and it could be used for business development. I think it would be beneficial to me if a year from now I had a working understanding of this.
So even when I’m talking with larger firms it could be 300-400 lawyers. I’ll say that a reasonable goal would be if one or two of you could understand how to use the Internet a year from now. Think about that. 400 lawyers, 30 or 40 marketing business development people. It would be worthwhile if one or two of you could understand how to use the Internet for business development because then that becomes a vital positive it spreads to other people.
So for individual lawyers it could be the same goal. I would like to understand what this is all about. It’s going to take a while, but it isn’t going to take an extraordinary amount of time because there are people, that equine law example, she was speaking to the Kentucky Derby, the National Breeders Association within a year. How could a lawyer do that from Dallas, Texas who was doing corporate litigation? That’s like you said, Chris — I think you said before a very accelerated way of going out and building the name and relationships.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, and I’m going to actually ask you at the bottom of the show. I am going to ask you how do they start to learn? But we will come back to that in a second, because I mean I think that’s just a powerful message, like just a couple people in a larger firm.
If you are a small firm you have got to learn a little bit about how to use the Internet and you have got examples of people that have done it and really gotten great results.
You mentioned though as you were talking — I just — I know there is a lot of confusion and I talked to lawyers all the time about what they’re doing and there is a lot of confusion even between what the differences between using social media, using paid search and using SEO. And then there is also confusion about how and when to use LinkedIn versus Twitter, versus Facebook, versus Instagram, versus whatever else is out there. There is probably a right time for each of those and a wrong time for each of those, and a wrong way for each of those.
So if you wouldn’t mind let’s spend a couple of minutes, first of all, let’s just handle what’s the difference and when lawyers are thinking about using Internet what should they be thinking about, social media, paid search, SEO, and what’s the difference among them?
Kevin O’Keefe: Yeah. A lot comes down to what works for them. I have never bought paid me — I guess we once in a while when they pay $0.30 to put our beer for bloggers on Twitter or something like that, but we don’t, and not a lot to it.
I mean, Google is one way that people get found, but it’s not the only way. In fact, I don’t look at my stats anymore it’s probably been three years since I looked at stats, I could actually care less, what traffic or stats or words or whatever, just doesn’t matter.
The last time I did — I liked it when the social traffic was as high as any search traffic, because social traffic is more worthwhile because that’s where people trust me and have other people that trust them. Google is random. So I put in a search, things come up, it’s a big leap of faith thing that I’m going to hire a doctor based on a random search for a heart surgeon.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, that’s great analogy.
Kevin O’Keefe: It’s going to come from somebody I trust. So think of it this way, a powerful stat from general counsel there at Canada, who was speaking in Chicago at this spring and he said that lawyers are number six where people would turn for getting legal help.
I don’t know what the other five are, but number one is, co-employee, friend, family member or somebody that they trust. So that’s their social network. So that’s important to realize. People don’t go and say, I need a divorce lawyer I am getting a divorce, but they see stuff or they rely on people that they get to know. So you do want to think about the social media thing.
With Search Engine Optimization it comes from being yourself and having a good presence. I don’t do anything unique for Search Engine Optimization. It was very mystical to me, just people talking about would be enough to get me nauseous.
So in 2004 I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up a book called ‘Search Engine Optimization for Dummies’ and realized that really what it was about was indexing content on the Internet under the titles that you would want people to look for it or find it, so that was pretty clear.
And then the next thing was that if you had influential content it appeared higher in the search engines. Influence determined by do other people think it’s important and do they link to it, they share those types of things.
So, social media can take care of itself that way when you don’t have a name and you don’t have a reputation and you’re not a go-to lawyer a niche then hire a way when it comes to SEO and get that traffic come to your side, generate those leads, measure conversion rates.
If the SEO is working for you, buy paid, get the traffic coming to you. But that’s just one way of doing it and then there is the other way. The old-school way is to me where law is a noble profession and the lawyers that are more learning, that are more trusted, that have relationships, that have a go-to reputation and niche, that’s what I wanted to be.
And I don’t think it’s for every lawyer because it’s just not where our aspirations are. So then you might be over in — you’ve heard it, Chris, people have spent $500 a month, $10,000 a month for the SEO, and I can’t begrudge that because I’m sure the SEO consultants can come in and say, they will bring you this measure of work. It’s a machine.
Christopher Anderson: But I think to listen to you, yeah, that might work and that might get you the traffic, but to listen to you, what I am also hearing is use that power for good. In other words, use that power, yeah, drive the traffic but use that power to enter into a conversation. Don’t use that power to get out there and then yell, “Buy my stuff.”
Kevin O’Keefe: And it doesn’t have to be traffic either. So now I’ll give you just a concrete example that I use in examples with people. I didn’t know anybody at Wolters Kluwer, but I knew a fair amount of people at Thomson Reuters West. If I’m on that, I knew people at LexisNexis, but I didn’t know anybody at Wolters Kluwer and I thought they were doing more innovative things on the open publishing a blogging site.
So I just follow a blog on innovation that they do off the content, I follow their name. I don’t know how long it was that some probably their titles came through my newsletter here before I opened one up and in my news among all their news by their subjects rather people it was interesting, so I wrote about it. And I said, John Barker, a VP of Strategy for Wolters Kluwer had an interesting take on such and such to write a blog quote, he went on to say this, “Here’s my take.” John sees it, he likes it, I request connect it to my LinkedIn without telling him he liked it. John asked me to meet his boss and his boss from the Netherlands and the director of worldwide products for dinner in New York, and we met two weeks later. So I didn’t need a lot of traffic.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Kevin O’Keefe: Let’s focus on traffic. One of the odds is that John would have been walking down the street in downtown Chicago, and go, oh my god, this is brilliant, well I just picked up off the street that Kevin O’Keefe wrote, and then my software would tell me that the John Barker just picked it up and he’s going to call me and say, one, can you do a webinar for our people — 500 people around the world, and two, can we have dinner in New York?
Christopher Anderson: Correct.
Kevin O’Keefe: So I don’t think this is that complicated. So lawyers are thinking traffic and I’m thinking business and name. I understand that people do produce business out of traffic. I am just saying it’s a different approach.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, you are very focused like, yeah, who do I want to talk to, do more business plus my goal, and that’s the great way to approach it.
Real quick, we’ve talked about a bunch of different platforms and strategies, can we help our listeners to just quickly differentiate between when is it appropriate the right thing to create and manage and push content out on a blogging platform or on a blog, when to use LinkedIn, when to use Twitter, when to use Facebook, when to use Instagram, when is the right time for each one and should everyone use everything or some better for others than others?
Kevin O’Keefe: Yeah, I mean, I got a dog in this hunt. With blogging and blogging, I am like blogging built my company and employs a lot of people. So I know that works and I know that we’ve got customers that have become rock-stars and done extremely well for themselves through blogging. When you get over to these other things, I think you do what feels comfortable for you.
Snapchat is going to be very big. I don’t use it. I am not feeling nervous that I’m not using it but ‘New York Times’ just launched a news channel on Snapchat. It’s going to be what people use.
My children, I’ve got five kids, they are coming back to Facebook but they went away to Facebook because there is more networking on Instagram and staying in touch with people on Instagram.
And there is a mix of personal and professional in these mediums. When you get to Facebook, the big myth is, it’s for personal versus business. It’s for everything. What you share you don’t get to decide who’s going to look at it, Facebook will decide that.
What brings value to Chris Anderson’s life? If it’s my kids on vacation with me or at a Mariners game or it’s a piece I write on business development, Zuckerberg will figure that out. So you don’t have to worry about what’s showing up in front of people, it’s what adds value in their life because it could be 1,500 different news feeds, but what you do on Facebook is, you build relationships.
So if I need to get a hold of leading businesspeople in this country whether they’re inside or outside law firms, the fastest way to do so for me is Facebook Messenger because whatever reason they see it very fast and they respond.
When you get over to LinkedIn, LinkedIn is progressing very nicely as a more of a social network, and that began about two years ago when they modified their user interface mobile. Now they’ve changed it on desktop, but most of the best stuff you’re going to be using for social networking is going to be when a mobile device is not on a desktop.
So what I mean by that is, you’ve got a blog-post, you don’t republish it in LinkedIn, you share it with a teaser and then you don’t — what most lawyers do and they go, oh my gosh! Look at all those comments and like this is fascinating. They might even do a report back to the law firm. Here’s — I had 18 likes and then they stopped. Why wouldn’t you click on that person’s face and say, oh my god, I can’t believe this person, like this, their second connection I’m going to reach out and connect with them. I am not even going to mention that they liked it. Do you have time for coffee?
LinkedIn knows where you’re both located, it knows what your subjects are, it didn’t randomly put your piece of content to find that person and thought it would add value to the line. So now you got to make a connection with them.
LinkedIn is very comfortable for lawyers to use and they should use it, so connect with everybody that you know, that you run across with because it’s helping LinkedIn understand the type of stuff that you’re interested in and who you’re interested in and what they’re interested in — it will help you, it’s working for you.
Twitter — an easy way for lawyers to get started is to have their news aggregators set up because they have to have a listening device. This is not about broadcasting or pushing, have Feedly set up. Put it — sources and subjects and then organize them into folders and then just look at it and share. You’re not looking to necessarily just go get all the love by sharing and if you’ll stop, you’re going to build up a little credibility on Twitter that you have more than three followers and because other people are going to like this you as a funnel or an intelligence agent.
Now you can go create those Twitter lists because I was meeting with a lawyer back in Midwest last week on this subject and I said we can identify all the referral sources for you in your State and the adjoining State, and let’s put them in Twitter list, and let’s put the principles of those companies in a Twitter list. Now we’re — because he couldn’t sit in a line at Starbucks and share what they’re proud of and what they’re sharing to build a relationship, and then as lawyers who use Twitter, they’re going to be following and the people that use Twitter and leave clues. You follow the successful people and successfully leave clues behind it you’ll pick up some of those things.
So what I tell lawyers is I don’t get off the Instagram but they certainly can and should the same thing with Snapchat. It’s like do you play golf? Do you play tennis? Are you on a bank board, are you on a civic board? What is it that turns you on? Where do you want to go? You don’t have to use them all, but begin to get comfortable with what it’s all about because your rules will be different than mine. How I use LinkedIn could be so different than the way you use it, you’re using it really successful, Chris, and somebody else is going to say, boy, I use Twitter this way, and I never thought of that. So everybody pick up a different way.
Christopher Anderson: Great. I think that’s really helpful. As we wrap up, Kevin, I think this is just — I think you’ve given amazing content during this talk. You’ve like really delivered a lot of things to think about, but I think you also probably instigated a lot more questions than answers because as with anything, any good information should provoke a lot of thinking.
So I wanted to just ask you, if you could tell like, how does your business help lawyers navigate all of this? What is it exactly? I know you said at the top of the show what you did, but now I think it’ll make it more relevant, how do you help lawyers work their way through this marketing maze?
Kevin O’Keefe: We moved from almost an agency model to more of a technology model. At our core we are a WordPress-managed platform because you can take that WordPress thing and put it out there for hosting and have a managed host manage it, but you don’t have these other things that you would know how to use and give breathe life to blogging well and building a name for yourself. So we put six or seven or eight things in place for that. As an ancillary service for my business I do believe just like a ‘New York Times’ reporter has to help get their content to move around, they can’t rely on just the ‘New York Times’ in their marketing department and distribution department. They have to learn things like Twitter, LinkedIn.
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely, yeah.
Kevin O’Keefe: That type of stuff. So we’re still working on it because we’re not going to go out and I’m not going to go out and sell my services and knowledge on that type of stuff. I’m not a teacher. I can inspire people and it doesn’t, it’s a tough business to scale for our company, but what we are working on is, okay, let’s have webinars in these subjects to tell people how to do it, let’s turn people on to people that can help them do it.
So we’re really focused on that — that managed WordPress platform or the medium that you are going to use and how might you use them and so we’ll go from — there’s a blog option that exists on the platform today, there’ll certainly be a simple website option that will exist, there’ll be a microsite option that exist, there’ll be network option, but we’ll do to empower lawyers where people have spent $30,000 in a microsite, maybe it should be $50 a month. Maybe for a website instead of $5,000 for something that’s search engine optimized, maybe it’s $25 a month or $49 a month but to leverage technology in ways that other companies are doing it so it becomes disruptive and very empowering to the lawyers.
We want to empower lawyers to help their dreams come alive. We’re going to focus on the tech side, but I think, when you focus on the tech side and you have a guarantee for success, you can’t fall back on it. What I mean by a “guarantee for success” is anybody that begins to work with our company if they don’t think it’s the best thing they ever did at the end of the year, they just call us up and ask for their money back, whatever sum of the money they want because that’s the type of commitment I want my team to know. We’re not playing a game. This is not content marketing to push content out then you could measure it on traffic, you could even sell software to measure traffic.
We want somebody to say this was really life-changing, does that happen in large firms, it’s tougher because they tend — they don’t really want a life change sometimes all the lawyers. But for small firms, as you know, Chris, you know the impact that you guys are having with certain firms and how it can really change their lives for the better and help their families, and that’s what motivates us.
So it’s a managed WordPress platform with the technology in place, but just like you have to have services on top of that like Salesforce or Clio or other software, word that on the publishing side.
Christopher Anderson: Fantastic, that’s really helpful and that wraps up this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour: The Law Business Advisory Podcast’. Our guest today saving law firms one lawyer at a time has been Kevin O’Keefe. Kevin is reachable at his website at HYPERLINK “http://www.lexblog.com” www.lexblog.com. His Twitter handle is @kevinokeefe. He is on LinkedIn under the same handle kevinokeefe. Any other ways people should reach out to you, Kevin?
Kevin O’Keefe: That’ll work pretty good.
Christopher Anderson: All right. This is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest, as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.
Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thanks for joining us and we will see you again soon.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Thanks for listening to The Un-Billable Hour, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. Join us again for the next edition, right here with Legal Talk Network.
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.
Scott Wallingford discusses strategies for maximizing per-client profitability in your law firm.
Marco Brown highlights the importance of prioritizing billing for your law firm.
Clio’s Jack Newton discusses his new book and the lessons he’s learned over the last ten years studying successful law firms.
Moshe Rosenblum-Amsel shares strategies for optimizing your firm’s finances.
Greg Garman offers guidance for the future of small firm business models.
Greg Garman shares insights on legal business models and current supply and demand trends in the profession.