Monday, May 4, 2009

New Twitter Training Video

Come see my brand new Twitter Training video. Its only one minute long. Do you have a minute? I know you do.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Month 3 of the Virtue Experiment

Please come to to see my latest post! My RSS reader is working now!



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Video 1: Why Twitter?


Here is the video that you can see there!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Last and Final Post

This last month I lost my job. Then I was offered a great new job, much better than the old one. Great benefits, expense account, sweet commission structure and a cool industry. I turned it down. It just didn't feel right to take another job, and my wife agreed. It was time to do my own thing- full time. According to a book I read, that only takes four hours a week, right?

This is the month of courage for the members of my Virtue Experiment, so it is fitting that I have a chance to show courage for myself. Leave the fringe benefits, leave behind a steady paycheck, and make it happen for myself and for my family. What better way to kick it off, than to officially launch my new website (Feel free to take a look, although it is only 90% complete)

To be more specific, this is my last and final post on blogger. I am moving up in the world, in a manner of speaking. My new site will debut in the next day, and I wanted to let everyone know in advance. My new site will still include my blog, but it will include some other fun features as well. 1 Minute Twitter Training Videos, weekly podcasts (where I interview who's who in social media and the law), and updated information on the release of my book The Year of 12 Virtues.

If you currently subscribe to my feed, please follow me over to my new site! I promise you it will be worth your while.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can Large Law Firms Benefit from Social Media?

"Large law firms will never go for social media."

How many times have I heard this? Well, in this interview I asked Melanie Green (@melaniegreen for those on Twitter) how she was able to implement social media at her international firm of over 300 attorneys. Listen to find out how Melanie and her team are making it happen.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open Letter to Law Firms: Control The Message

Dear Law Firms:

Why don't you want your attorneys engaging in social media like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook?
Is it because you want to "control the message?" Let's take a look at why this is a flawed strategy.

In the old model, partners with the big firms are pillars of their community (or should be). They are members of the country club, park their boats with the local Yacht Club, participate in great programs like Rotary and United Way, and volunteer with the Boy Scouts. Being engaged in the community is a major component of what makes them so successful. They are involved, and when legal work arises, they are called upon because they are known. This is a great model, and it will continue to be a great model.

Was controlling the message a problem in the old model? No, and why not? Because as firms, you hired trustworthy people that weren't going to embarrass you. What would happen if one of your attorneys got arrested? It would looks bad for your firm, and so firms try not to hire people that might get arrested. You see, with the old model your firm still needed to control the message- you simply had confidence in the people you hired. For attorneys to effectively use social media the firms need to TRUST the attorneys. Is that really too much to ask? (Let me finish before you answer that.)

Besides, there are three major problems with the OLD model. First, memberships at country clubs and chairs on non-profit boards can be very expensive to maintain. Young lawyers can't afford those types of expenditures. Second, it takes years- maybe even decades to garner the stellar reputation needed to land business that way. It is well deserved, but it takes time. Third, community engagement is limited in geographic scope. If you are in a struggling market like Buffalo, NY or Pittsburgh, PA as the market share shrinks- so will your business.

As I have said in previous posts, each attorney in the firm is already a brand unto themselves. As they participate in the community- the brand gains in value. If they write an article for the local newspaper- the brand gains in value. So why not encourage your attorneys to engage in social media and provide them with the tools and training to participate thoughtfully? Each time one of your attorneys writes a blog post about a legally relevant topic, the firm gets free advertising. Each time an attorney post a thoughtful comment on a legal blog, more free press for the firm.

I'm not suggesting a social media free-for-all where attorneys suddenly stop billing because they are on Facebook and Twitter all day, but instead more of a focused individual strategy for each attorney. This strategy would likely entail weekly or monthly blog posts, combined with participation in forums such as Facebook and Twitter.

Firms certainly need to control the message, but that will be best accomplished by hiring good lawyers, and trusting them to engage, in whatever venue, in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

4 Reasons NOT to Self Publish

I just finished having a meeting with the publishing house Shadow Mountain, an imprint of Deseret Book. Like most publishing houses, they are slow, but when it comes to traditional publishing that is the name of the game. The meeting was awesome, they are sold on my concept and they love the product I have put together. They had a lot of critiques for me as well, and it made me think a lot about a big question people have asked me lately:

Are you going through a traditional publishing house, or self-publishing?

Now I know that self-publishing has made some great strides in recent years, and that many authors have made a lot of money through self-publishing, but that is the exception certainly not the rule. Here is my list of reasons why going the traditional publishing route (especially for the first book) makes so much sense.

1. Validation- publishers validate the quality of your manuscript. They get thousands of submission, and if they pick yours- it must be good- or at least significantly better than a lot of the junk they receive. By publishing it, they also send a message that THEY believe it is good. Its as if the book has already passed the "peer review" step.

2. Experience- publishers have a full team of editors, copy experts, and business people. These people can sift through your manuscript taking out all the typos, and making sure it is ready for the big time. They don't charge you for this either, so that means no out of pocket for you.

3. Publicity- well let's assume your book is GOOD. If the book really resonates with people, then you need to get the word our. A NYC publicist will charge $20,000 to publicize your book. A good publishing house however has their own in-house publicists. Again, no out of pocket, and it is in their best interest to get as much publicity for the book as possible. (I have read many articles claiming Publishers won't promote your book unless you are a big name, but that doesn't make sense- publishers run a business, and for the business to be profitable your book needs to do well.)

4. Money- unless you are Malcom Gladwell or Stephen King, you won't make a ton of money on book sales. A book is more of a stepping stone to bigger and better things. It gives you success that you can leverage into more books, speaking engagements, and whatever else you can dream up. Well known authors can make from $5,000 to $50,000 a pop for a 1-hour keynote adresses. The Today Show, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and CNN won't take you seriously if your book is self-published, and that is the type of fame that can turn into something big.

Now going through a traditional publishing house may not make sense for everyone, but it has some huge advantages. For authors and agents that have tried both, I would love to hear your opinions.