Bad marketing 101: This is not a blog

A Long Island, N.Y., IP lawyer recently sent out a press release announcing her new Web site, called Intellectulaw.com. The site is designed and hosted by FirmSite, a division of Thomson FindLaw. Like many sites these days, it includes a link to what it calls the Intellectulaw blog. At first glance, it looks like a blog. It has headlines and several items of text and a sidebar with various buttons for subscribing to its feed. But this is not a blog, it is a page of static text. Even worse, the entire page of text is a promotion for the FirmSite service, disguised as an interview with the lawyer. Most ironic is this supposed quote from the lawyer:

“So it is very important that when creating their Web sites with FindLaw, lawyers take the time to understand the added value they receive and the leverage they can enjoy Â? both personally and professionally.”

I do not mean to pick on this lawyer. But this is an example of poor guidance on Web marketing. Someone should have known better than to have put up a page of static marketing text and called it a blog, and someone should have caught that before they sent out a press release drawing attention to the site.

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  • Thank you for taking the time to look at our blog. While we would have preferred to have received your comments and criticism of our very first post, via a less public forum, we have taken your criticism to heart. Accordingly, we are in the process of changing the format and only hope that our blog receives as much attention after we change it, as it did today.

    Thank you for the extra traffic, as well.

    Sincerely,

    Betty Tufariello
    http://www.intellectulaw.com

  • Anonymous

    Dear Mr. Ambrogi,

    I am a newcomer to the world of blogging and I happened to enter your site by accident. I found some of the information interesting and informative, but when I got to your Bad Marketing 101, I was somewhat taken aback by the ferocity of your attack on the Blog(?) criticized in your article. How can someone like me enter the world of blogging when there are Intellectuals out there who will lambast me for not knowing how to blog. I am sure that the lawyer who posted the blog is like me, and perhaps sent it with the intention to inform other attorneys of the type of practice they have, and, it seemed to me, that they were proud of their website. I was under the impression that the internet is for disseminating information and knowledge, and that blogging is just another way to do this. From the tone of your critique, it seemed that rather than giving constructive criticism, you attacked someone for not having your intellectual capacity regarding blogs. Remember that today you might be the king of blogging but someday your knowledge about blogging will be attacked for being antiquated, and perhaps people will be able to write articles in a the same way that the lawyer in your critique did. I hope that not too many newcomers to blogging see you article for it will scare them off and your interest in bringing more people to blogging will have been defeated.

  • My post may not have been clear, but my criticism was directed at the Web-design consultants who advised and guided the lawyer in creating this site. This is a company that holds itself out as a leader in the field of legal Web sites. Someone at that company should have provided better advice. I encourage newcomers to get into blogging and I do whatever I can to help and promote them.

  • Anthony Colleluori

    To my knowledge, Findlaw and Firmsite do not offer blog content to their subscribers as some other firms discussed here do. They are just helping lawyers host blogs on their own sites. Maybe they need to better train these lawyers on our edicate.

    On the other hand, don’t you think it a bit presumptuous to dictate what a blog is and is not? Seems that depending on the target audience, the blog mentioned above worked quite well. What I mean is, if the target audience was clients who were already on the site, looking at this lawyer, they may have been impressed with her and her interview style. It may not garner a lot of support from the blogging community, but then again only about 16% of internet users read blogs on any regular basis. She may not garner a lot of new clients among the regular blog reader or even a more sophisticated shopper, but that may not have been her target audience. The post wasn’t my cup of tea but whose to say it didn’t work for her?”

    I agree with the anonymous poster above, in your hurry to go after a big firm that is trying to help lawyers better their practices you certainly bloodied even inadvertently the young solo lawyer trying her first post. At the very least the content appears to be her own, and many of us have first posts that aren’t our best ones.

    I applaud your effort to keep the blogosphere a relatively pristine place, but I think you need to get all of the facts before you publish. I am not sure there are any villians here except for inexperience. You did a much better job exposing the issues on Lexblog and the dangers of canned content. Everyone may not agree that canned content is bad, but they can judge that issue for themselves.

    Lastly I see the lawyer involved took the spanking well. I hope when she gets her new site going, you will review it with her, and if you like it, let your readers know about that. After all everyone deserves a second chance.

  • Anonymous

    To my knowledge, Findlaw and Firmsite do offer content to their subscribers.

    “Deliver more value to your clients and prospects by adding fresh, professionally written content to your FirmSite. Content Builders can help your FirmSite place higher in search engine results, because the search engines often look for keywords that are indexed within the content pages of your site. Strong content also encourages visitors to spend more time at your site and entices them to return.”

    http://www.lawyermarketing.com/CM/Products/Products28.asp

  • Anonymous

    that lawyer dude, speaking of canned content, i see that you use it on your own law firm’s web site. so, i take it that you would be in the camp that says canned content is good?

  • Anthony Colleluori

    I absolutely use some professionally written content on my website. I am not a professional public relations writer. My website is an advertisment for my law firm. It tells a story about us and if there are canned parts that is ok.

    There are parts of the website that I wrote(my Bio, my articles, my representitive cases pages, and parts of my informational newsletter) which reflect my work and work product. Other parts a professional wrote after a long interview with me. He basically organized my words to fit around the theme.

    That said, my website is not my blogs. I write the posts myself and I am soley responsible for everything in them, from the thoughts and opinions to the misspellings in them. I do not favor lawyers using canned content on their blogs. The content in the blog above mentioned (which has been taken down I see) was not canned. It was static. There is a difference

    I had a website that I wrote the content for years ago. It was horrible. I don’t recommend it to any lawyer. We should be spending our time practicing studying and thinking about the law, and shaping public opinion.

    By the way Anonymous…what’s on YOUR website?

  • Anthony Colleluori

    “Anonymous said…

    To my knowledge, Findlaw and Firmsite do offer content to their subscribers.

    “Deliver more value to your clients and prospects by adding fresh, professionally written content to your FirmSite. Content Builders can help your FirmSite place higher in search engine results, because the search engines often look for keywords that are indexed within the content pages of your site. Strong content also encourages visitors to spend more time at your site and entices them to return.”

    http://www.lawyermarketing.com/CM/Products/Products28.asp

    Nice misquote. MY post said “To my knowledge, Findlaw and Firmsite do not offer BLOG content to their subscribers.” You do know the difference between a blog and a website don’t you Anonymous? Oh yeah, right, that difference wouldn’t help you make your point now would it.

  • Anonymous

    Does the “optional news feed” count as BLOG content?

    http://www.lawyermarketing.com/CM/Marketing/Marketing49.asp

    Btw, I think this has definitely gone off topic. I don’t believe Ambrogi had previously covered your accusations about lexBlog. But, Google will direct you to the correct blog where this heated argument is happening.