I just read an excellent blog post by Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog. Kevin says, and I agree, that "Blogs are not meant to be published by a PR agency or law firm communication folks. By their very nature, blogs are written by the lawyers participating in an online conversation on their niche area of expertise." He's right.
Interestingly enough, Kevin quotes Steve Rubel, (no relation to me as far as I know - but for we share the same last name and love of public relations) as saying:
Communities like Facebook, the blogosphere and digg are becoming even more
influential than certain traditional media outlets. Their relevance to PR pros
is rising and the industry is responding by wisely trying to beef up its new
Unfortunately, the biz is not evolving quickly enough. Many in PR seem to be treating Web 2.0 as simply an extension of the traditional media - another venue for buzz. They are pumping thousands of email pitches into the community every day.
.....Journalists are accustomed to the PR mating dance. They know that as soon as they get a desk, a phone and an email address they're going to get bombed with inquires from PR pros. Some of these will be helpful, others won't be. Journalists know that PR inbound is an occupational hazard that comes with the territory.
Online social networks and communities are completely different. Bloggers, social networkers, diggers, social bookmakers and Wikipedians don't want to be pitched. They're collaborating on these sites for a reason - to share, be entertained, to become informed, to connect, etc. They place value on people who contribute regularly and selflessly.
Kevin goes on to say:
Unfortunately, most PR agencies and communications professionals working with
law firms do not understand PR by participation. Worse yet are the agencies that
belittle blogs and social media when law firms bring them up.
Although this is true, I have found it just as daunting and common to counsel law firms regarding their need to reach their target audiences via strategic and well planned social media programs only to be told, "all we need is a brochure. . . . "
The time has come for communicators and lawyers alike to embrace social media, to learn how to use it strategically, and not to throw caution to the wind when it comes to communicating within the bounds of legal ethics.