The American Lawyer — How to Write Blogs That In-House Counsel Will Read

By | January 20, 2016

December 21, 2015
By Rebekah Mintzer and Sue Reisinger

To get in-house counsel’s attention and keep it, firms must concentrate less on the number of blogs they publish and think strategically about how to appeal to specific clients’ needs.

“Make it all about them,” says John Corey, president and founding partner of Greentarget, a strategic communications firm. “If your content is all about them, and you have more quality over quantity, we think that is going to be the pathway for firms to establish strong relationships with their clients.”

In-house counsel’s professional use of certain social networking sites is on the rise, but consumption of blogs seems to have plateaued, according to an annual survey from Greentarget and consulting firm Zeughauser Group. In-house counsel didn’t report reading more law-related blog content than last year, and almost a third said they didn’t visit legal blogs at all. Only 38 percent reported that a high-profile blog by a law firm would influence them to hire that firm, a decrease from 50 percent of in-house respondents in 2014.

“I think it’s largely a symptom of the sheer glut of information available,” Corey says of the stagnation. As firms generate more blog content, he says, it becomes tougher and tougher for in-house counsel to discern high-quality content that’s worth their time. In 2010, when the survey started, Am Law 200 firms were publishing about 300 blogs; now they publish around 1,000, Corey says.

The “2015 States of Digital and Content Marketing Survey” looked at how roughly 180 in-house lawyers are using social networks, and what forms of digital content are getting their attention.

LinkedIn was ranked the most popular social media tool for in-house counsel in 2015. Some 68 percent of respondents had used it for professional reasons within the trailing week, up from the 62 percent who had used it within the past week at the time of the 2014 survey.

When asked how they used LinkedIn, most said they connected with in-house colleagues or with outside counsel. For those who used the site to connect with outside counsel, 42 percent used it to reach potential outside counsel, a jump from 34 percent last year. This suggests that the site is becoming increasingly important for hiring.

But LinkedIn wasn’t the only site that got more popular with in-house counsel this year. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all gained at least eight percentage points in usage over last year’s numbers. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported using Facebook in the past week for professional reasons, and 24 percent said the same about Twitter.

But in-house counsel users aren’t necessarily speaking up and participating actively in forums on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “The vast majority are listening and consuming,” Corey says. “And the minority— 20-25 percent—they are primarily listening but do engage and contribute to some conversations.”