Why intellectual property lawyers should blog about how to monetize IP

Intellectual property lawyers should blog about strategies for clients to monetize their IP – as law firm clients are increasingly looking for legal counsel that will be a conduit to business success.

Clients expect lawyers to be a conduit to business success

A recent article in Forbes magazine by legal services sector management consultant Mark Cohen describes an emerging legal market where business clients increasingly expect lawyers to be a conduit to business success.

As Cohen explains, business leaders are encouraging (or sometimes demanding) that lawyers “operate proactively, predictively, quickly, efficiently, collaboratively, and in data-backed fashion. The expectation is that the legal function will morph from self-contained cost center to collaborative catalyst for enterprise and customer value creation.”

Notably, as Cohen details, 97% of business leaders want their lawyer’s success metrics to be aligned with their business goals. And 74% of business leaders say it is important or extremely important for lawyers to create revenue and new market opportunities.

Where IP lawyers can be a conduit to business success

IP monetization is where intellectual property (IP) is harnessed to generate revenue. As IP law firm Maier & Maier, PLLC has explained: “The next great corporate challenge in the information age is figuring out how to unlock the hidden power of Intellectual Property, most notably with patents. ” And as upcounsel details, this monetization is complex and requires the special skills which IP lawyers possess.

IP assets are frequently developed (via primary and supplementary monetization) by corporate management teams seeking to generate greater profitability. As deal lawyer Art Mertes has detailed in Entrepreneur magazine: “Accretion of IP value is the key element to supporting overall enterprise value. ” Frequently, IP assets can become biproducts of a company’s core business activities, capable of generating multiple revenue streams. Once regarded as simply tools providing rights for exclusion, patents are increasingly significant as intangible assets.

Historically focused on industry sectors including e-commerce, high-tech, and pharmaceuticals, IP monetization is now more important in other industries. Many IP owners are not knowledgeable about how it can be monetized. This presents an opportunity for IP lawyers to meet the needs of clients where they most wish to be assisted.

IP monetization-focused blogging will help law firms generate more clients

As the blog of legal technology company Clio has detailed (citing an American Bar Association study), 60% of law firms with more than 100 lawyers maintain blogs – and 37% of all law firms do. Notably, 34% of firms with blogs report that they have been signed by new clients because of their blogging. Clio also cites Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog, who explains that blogs build law firm authority and reputation. But to stand out among a sea of blogs, he advises firms to focus their blogging on specific legal niches. Importantly, he also explains that firms should not use their blog as a megaphone to shout the merits of their firm. Instead, law blogs should provide useful information that is enjoyable to read.

Lawyers who focus on niche blogging areas like IP monetization strategy, therefore, can distinguish themselves among their competitors with an insightful and consistent blogging initiative. Here, lawyers can analyze the market to determine what topical IP monetization issues or opportunities are most relevant to clients — and where their practice niche can be of help in the monetization process.

I have extensive experience in helping law firms establish and maintain niche blogging initiatives, including those focused on intellectual property monetization. If you would like to discuss how I might help you establish or maintain a niche legal blogging initiative around IP, please contact me.  

Why law firms should coordinate business development and blogging

Law firms can and should coordinate their business development and blogging initiatives to generate more clients. Many law firms often silo these functions while focusing primarily on content marketing to build brand awareness and generate inbound inquiries — and less on business development to find and secure new client engagements.

Notably, 87% of marketers believe alignment between sales and marketing is important for business growth.  An article in NYTLicensing provides some interesting observations about the importance of coordinating business development and marketing and how it can be done. As the article details, a significant percentage of the global adult population (and by extension, lawyers) use the internet regularly. Important for lawyers to know is — 55% of decision makers use content to vet future partners and vendors — and 47% have shared contact details in exchange for thought leadership.

Blogging for law firms is important because the general counsel and other purchasers of legal services often search the internet before making decisions about who to work with on matters where they may need to make an external legal spend.  Therefore, a widely read blog with useful content becomes important for firms to distinguish themselves amid a sea of competitors.  Too, content can help create knowledge of your firm’s brand and expertise — for when business development initiatives contact your key audiences.

And business development is equally important because it serves as the engine which organizes and pushes forward efforts to engage specific potential clients around representation and renumeration. Without well-functioning business development, law firms will realize fewer new client engagements. Many of the functions and goals of blogging and business development overlap. Combining these efforts, therefore, should be a high priority for law firms.

Effectively coordinate legal business development and blogging

To effectively coordinate between marking and business development, firms should identify what content business development would like to see produced by the content team – which they believe will not only attract inbound inquiries, but which also will be used by business development in outbound initiatives.  Firms should ensure they also develop an editorial calendar that commits the content team to dedicating regular resources to topics identified as important by business development. Content teams will already be producing content about partner hires, events, and other PR related matters. So, this extension into coordinating with business development will not be disruptive to marketing time or resources. And it will also help tie content teams into participation in business development return on investment (ROI) gains.

With these initiatives in place, content marketing and business development will be able to work together more effectively and generate more client leads and more client signs. I have specialized in both legal business development and blogging for law firms for most of my career. Based on my experience, I understand how to effectively combine business development and blogging for the benefit of lawyers and their law firms.

If you would like to discuss how I might help your firm integrate business development and blogging effectively, please contact me.