Kevin O’Keefe posted a great piece recently called Linking to and blogging about competitors’ blogs is smart. Darren at Problogger has also pointed out Kevin’s thoughts, because Darren knows that other than developing your own compelling original content, linking out to other relevant bloggers is critical to growth.
And often, the most relevant bloggers in your field will be your competition.
Kevin writes about lawyers specifically, and how many of them can’t see the benefits of linking out to others in their practice areas. By refusing to link out to and engage with other legal bloggers, attorneys are missing the entire point of the power of blogging.
I can’t say I’m surprised by this attitude, though.
Back in the 90s, the big sticking point for lawyers was publishing online at all. The thought of giving away valuable information seemed ludicrous to many attorneys, even as the legal field became ultra-competitive and flush with new law school graduates.
Those that embraced online publishing and information marketing gained an advantage. I was able to build a healthy practice out of nothing more than valuable content delivered in an email newsletter.
Now days, there’s no argument that lawyers must publish online to attract new business. But blogging and refusing to link out to other lawyers reflects a similar lack of understanding about the medium. Most small law practices are geographically-focused anyway, so how does linking out to an attorney in a different state hurt you? Realtors are having great success with that very strategy.
Kevin gives a great example of a lawyer in Austin, Texas, who gets it… he links to his in-town competitors and encourages people to subscribe to their feeds:
Think it hurts Jamie to do so. Heck no. It makes him appear as more of an authority on criminal law issues for those in Austin – prospective clients, referring lawyers, and the media. Jamie has generated significant interest from all three audiences from his blogging.
People often choose the attorney or other service provider they connect with the most. Since different people connect with different things, joining in on a conversation that naturally compares and contrasts your style and expertise with that of your peers is smart marketing. More importantly, it exudes confidence.
The marketplace is going to sort things out on its own whether you like it or not. If you’re blogging and not linking due to fear of competition, you may be surprised to find that you’re not even in the running.