I’m back. Back to blogging. Home here at L360.
I stopped regularly blogging after 4 years (from September, 2008 until October 2012), and after over 420 blog entries. Always focusing on commercial finance, I started blogging on distressed debt topics (under the “ToughTimesForLenders” blog name). As the economy (kind of) recovered, the blog became “Lenders360blog” in order to cover “positive” finance topics. Finally, technology was added since it is an operational pillar for all commercial lenders.
This threefold transformation reflected my personal journey. After all, blogging is personal. (Blogging tip #1: make your blog personal. Ditch the academic mumbo-dumbo. Mix meaningful content with your personality.)
THE QUESTION: Why come back to blogging?
I’m going to pretend you noticed that I quit, or even care that I’m back. (In another posting, I’ll cover the sibling, and for some the more interesting, question: “why did you stop blogging?”) (Blogging tip #2: leave a teaser early . . . .)
Simply stated, blogging jump-started my current professional focus. (Blogging tip #3: . . . and tease often.)
NOT TO BLOG:
At first glance (and maybe every glance), blogging appears to be just another selfish, fruitless mound of babbling by lawyers striving, in a quick (and for me, quirky) 90 minute breather, to escape the following (mark your favorite ones – you’re lying if you only mark one):
◊ Keyboard Pounding
◊ Email Grenades (they lob it into my email inbox and run)
◊ Phone call wrestling
◊ Compensation Complaining
◊ Hourly Rate Creeping
◊ Legal Fee Complaining
◊ 34/7 workstyle (not a typo)
◊ Teach oung Lawyers; Then they leave; Repeat
◊ What I’d give to not share a Secretary with 3 other lawyers
◊ Billing games (firm policy v. client reality)
◊ Wine’n Dine; Work & Bill; Client Whine; Then Repeat
◊ What I’d give to afford a Paralegal
(Blogging tip #4: audience participation and engagement; they ARE in the room with you right now.)
Ultimately, however, the evaluation of a blogs is reflected in the frequency of the blog. Infrequent blogging is an “admission against interest” by the blogger. Why should anyone notice or even care, when the blogger doesn’t care enough to regularly blog?
This point is painted best in a story told on The Ticket years ago. (Blogging tip #5: make it a story; even adults cuddle up to stories.) The Father-Coach of a YMCA football team (tackle football, of course) was ranting on his 10 year old son for sloppy play. The son looked up (way, way up) to Father-Coach and said:
“Dad, I cain’t hear what yu saying, cuz yu acting so loud (sic).”
(So, who is sick in this story?) (Repeat Blogging tip #5: make it a story; even adults cuddle up to stories)
Blogging: love it or leave. Don’t be half-hearted at it.
Your clients recognize a half-hearted effort. Do you ever want to be half-way on anything touching your reputation and your means of income?
Here are some of the reasons “why” I enjoy and benefit from blogging (no priority order):
- People: They Want Information
People working at financial services companies want information. They want it “when” they need it; they need information on demand. So, make basic information available to them. Be helpful; and in return, they will seek you for help. Over the years, I jump start this by handing out or sending lists of popular blog entries.
- People: They Know Me Before I Know Them
Many loan officers know me before I even meet them. Blogging accelerates relationships – it does NOT replace them. But, it sure is nice to meet a stranger to me who knows me.
- People: Earn a Reputation and Meet the Right People
With hundreds of blog posts on a wide range on good lending, bad lending and technology topics, my expertise is “out there” for all to read. The blog fed my reputation through (i) conversations with reporters, (ii) publishing pieces in industry magazines (including the technology column in the bi-monthly ABA RPTE Section’s eReport), (iii) speaking engagements at law schools, State Bar seminars, industry organizations and financial services companies, and (iv) memberships in important organizations, such the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and the remarkable Association of Life Insurance Counsel (where I co-chair the Communications Committee with the gifted Gretchen Cepek of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America).
- Teaching & Constant Learning
I use the blog as a resource in presentations with clients, and within the law firm as a tool to mentor younger lawyers. Importantly, it keeps me engaged with industry trends and challenges, and positions me with friends and clients as a constant source for new and valuable information.
- Change: the Conversation
Bloggging changes conversations. For example, I use listings of the most popular blog entries as conversation starters, giving others the opportunity to share their experiences or perspectives with me. They tell me what is important to them.
- Change: It is Personal
Blogging changed me. I progressed from telling my story, to hearing the client’s needs and then to understanding both the client’s business and the value and uses (current and potential) of our legal work product. Importantly, I learned that my legal work product was the beginning, not the end.
- Change: Our Friend
Change. We often complain of change. As I return to blogging, I return appreciative of the friends who connected with me because of the little blog called Lenders360blog (and it’s predecessor, ToughTimesForLenders). And also I return with many thanks to the attorneys and talented friends at Winstead PC who shared ideas with me; and with special thanks to the gifted Allen Fuqua and Rachel Guy.
- Change: My New Venture
However, I’m back in a very different role and with a radical focus. Blogging, listening and learning pointed me to a new venture. I now manage legal workflow and create tools that lift legal content out of the traditional, manual legal process into a self-service process – a transformed process with rich collaboration, communication and information gathering. Companies save money. Companies harvest new value. Blogging contributed to the insight behind my new venture.
(Blogging tip #6: keep blogs short (400-500 words). This one is over 1,100 words. Wow. Horrible.)
Please add your thoughts or experiences about blogging by commenting below.