HERE'S MORE about why I'm changing the weblog. Some have questioned whether it was the weblog's tone--its irreverent attitude towards lawyers--that made me conclude that it had a negative marketing effect.
Not so. I don't know any lawyers who have complained about the weblog's tone or its occasional humor. The main problem with the weblog was that there was just too much of it. As I said in one of the comments to the podcast yesterday--
Weblogs seem very complicated to those who don't know much about them--most lawyers, say. Weblogs seem like they take more time than they actually do. That explains why lawyers might draw the conclusion that a lawyer with a weblog must not be very busy or very successful. But do they draw this conclusion? Yes, most certainly. It's why I'm probably going to revamp this weblog from the ground up.
Meanwhile, Schaeffer & Lamere's business model works like this: (a) we get cases from clients off the street, (b) we take referrals from other lawyers, and (c) we team up with still other lawyers on particular cases or projects and the team takes referrals. Most of our business comes from (b) and (c).
For the first year I did this weblog, I was flying under the radar. Lots of lawyers knew about it, but not the lawyers who mattered to my business--those in groups (b) and (c). There are lots of lawyers in those groups, and they expect a lot out of me, which they should be able to do.
What changed? A year and a half into it, it's not so easy to fly under the radar anymore. As a result, I run the risk that the lawyers in groups (b) and (c)--again, there are lots of them, all over the country, too many to have one-on-ones about my weblog--will begin to draw the wrong conclusions about how I spend my time. For example: "We need to get that case on file, but Schaeffer's posting essays to his weblog." Why is that the wrong conclusion? It could be that I wrote that essay over the past weekend or even six months ago. Is it unfair for someone to think I'm wasting time? It doesn't matter whether or not it's fair. Just like when I was a grill chef at Bonanza in high school, the customer comes first--at least, that is, if I want more customers.
Am I suggesting that lawyers should not have weblogs? I'm not at that point yet. For now, I think I can address the objections I'm raising by changing both my posting style and, to some extent, my content. The irreverence will probably stay.