When Herrmann published a post last week saying that blogging doesn't necessarily generate new business for lawyers, the blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree. (The ornaments can be seen, among other places, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
The on-line community told us that, if our blog wasn't generating significant business, then we're bad bloggers. Among other things, (1) we don't know how to write, (2) we don't know how to use the blog for business development, (3) we're insufficiently self-promoting on the blog, and (4) we're too self-promoting on the blog.
On the other hand, we heard that the experience of at least some other bloggers (such as Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice) resembles ours.
We also heard -- intelligently, we thought -- that we work at firms that are already exceptionally well known in a practice area that is already overflowing with lawyers, and a blog naturally doesn't have much effect in that environment.
In this post, Herrmann (alone again; don't blame Beck) offers one final follow-up point. We'll then stop fretting about whether blogging works and go back to thinking about drug and device law.
Here's the one final point:
The fact that our blog hasn't generated significant new retentions from new clients does not mean that blogging yields no benefits.
To the contrary.
First, blogging yields many intangible benefits.
We enjoy blogging. Blogging forces us to stay abreast of our field of law. We stay remarkably current on breaking news, because readers send us information. We influence the public debate. And so on.
Second, we also receive many tangible benefits from blogging -- just not, to date, significant new business directly attributable to the blog.
We're not press hounds, but we view raising our personal and our firms' profiles as a tangible benefit. (Law firms pay public relations folks to draw media attention to the firms' lawyers; presumably there's some value there.) And blogging has fairly dramatically raised our public profiles. But for blogging, we would not have had the following opportunities, among others:
1. We have appeared on television on CNBC, Bloomberg News, and C-SPAN.
2. We have been interviewed by, and quoted in, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other publications.
3. We were solicited to write a by-lined book review that appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
3. We have been offered a possible book deal by a major academic press.
4. We have been invited to speak innumerable times, including at academic symposia, CLE programs, and bar meetings.
5. We have been asked to write for many different publications.
And, needless to say, blogging creates a relatively high on-line presence for us.
Please don't take our public confession that blogging hasn't generated significant new business to mean that blogging has no benefits at all.
Blogging has many benefits, both tangible and intangible.
The question we posed last week, however, was a narrow one: Does blogging alone generate significant new business for lawyers who handle large matters at large firms?
In our experience to date, it does not.
We continue to believe that the efficacy of blogging as a business development tool will vary with the size of a lawyer's firm and the nature of a lawyer's practice.
(Last week, the blogosphere shredded us for our heresy; this week, it'll laud us for our insight. Ah, well: As long as they spell the name right. It's "Herrmann" with two r's and two n's.)