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.  

How many blogposts should lawyers publish every month?

Consistent blogging is an important anchor for lawyers seeking to maximize their marketing and business development potential.  Notably, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 55% more website visitors, 97% more links from other sites, and 67% more leads than those who don’t. And 34% of law firms with blogs report that they have been signed by new clients because of their blogging.

Consistency a challenge to law firm blogging efforts

While blogging can be time consuming, it is utilized by leading law firms to build a strong industry reputation while also generating more new clients leads. Key to blogging success, however, is consistency.  But because many lawyers are busy, producing regular blogposts is challenging for many law firms.

2-4 posts a month is a minimum to achieve good search engine rankings

In preparing this blogpost, I reviewed the suggestions of several industry experts to seek to identify how many posts lawyers should publish every month.  The recommendations range from a minimum of 2 to 4 posts per month. I would suggest this total should apply to small law firms or practice groups within large law firms.  Why 2 to 4?  Because Google and other search engines need to see regular amounts of good content to rank a blog as a source of expert information. I would also suggest that high quality content that uniquely addresses client concerns is as important a criterion for how much to publish as search engine ranking is.  So, seek to be a genuine legal thought leader in each specialism your firm focuses on to generate greater client leads and recognition – above and beyond ranking in search results.

As your firm continues to regularly publish blogposts month-to-month, your firm will rank higher and higher in search results for the legal specialisms your ideal clients are searching for online.  At the same time, your blog will also be producing more inquiries from potential clients and referral sources. And your blogposts can also be proactively utilized by lawyers and firm business development professionals to generate conversations with potential clients and referral sources – not solely serve as an inbound marketing tool.

Outsource legal writing and blogging to achieve your publishing objectives

Firms and practice groups should see 2-4 blogposts per month as the bare minimum publishing goal — and outsource blogging to an expert in legal writing and publishing for legal marketing and business development purposes. An expert legal blogger will be in a position to also help you determine ideal blogpost topics and publishing frequency based on firm or practice group business development goals, create a publishing calendar, operate the law blog, utilize the firms social media profiles to promote the blog content, and in some cases liaise with legal media around covering subjects of interest to their readers that intersect with your blogging focus.

Mission critical law blogs require professional support to achieve maximum success

To achieve the client development goals your firm or practice group has — a blog is now mission critical.  Therefore, the services of a professional legal blogger are a wise investment to ensure your law blog publishes consistent, client-focused quality content.  I help law firms and legal practice groups establish and maintain consistent blogging initiatives that generate new client inquiries. For more information about how I might help you maintain your law blog, please contact me.

Why international law firms should blog about local markets

Legal business development professional Richard Smith recently shared an article on Twitter which is relevant to marketing initiatives of international law firms.  The article appeared in Harvard Business Review and noted how important it is for globalizing companies to approach local markets with a local approach. 

Globalizing companies need tailored local assistance

The article mentioned how Harvard Business School Professor Alexander MacKay studied the new market entry strategy of Uber and found that it adjusted its strategies to meet specific challenges it found from competitors and regulators in local markets.

Some Governments seek to meet the localized informational needs of globalizing companies

Another article from Reuters details how the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has sought to actively market Malaysia as a jurisdiction of choice for international companies seeking opportunities.

The Reuters and HBR articles I believe demonstrate why the opportunities for international law firms in local markets are substantial.  Reuters notes that in the case of Malaysia, there are more that 1 million small and medium sized business which represent almost 40% of the country’s economy.  And that in a globalized economy, localized opportunities for international companies will expand.

In the case of Malaysia, MIDA has been highlighting local incentives which should be attractive to foreign companies, including competitive energy prices, high productivity levels, lower cost of skilled labor and a working population that embraces technology innovation.

Reuters notes how Malaysia’s economy has attracted numerous global companies and that MIDA operates offices throughout Europe.  MIDA CEO Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman told Reuters that MIDA has become “a one-stop center for overseas investors seeking information and assistance in setting up or expanding a business in Malaysia.” I believe law firms can learn from this and seek to emulate this effort (which resembles similar efforts in other countries).

Some law firms have initiatives focused on providing local information to global companies

Law firms can seek to be a window into their market for international companies, which will help them become a trusted resource for all kinds of information (not just legal) about the local market – combining traditional legal blogging and the information initiatives of governmental agencies like MIDA focused in generating foreign investment.  Some locality-focused legal blogging examples law firms might wish to emulate include China Law Insight, The Malaysian Lawyer, My Lawyer in Spain, The Korean Law Blog, the European Law Blog, and Brazil Counsel.

Law blogging is a proven method for law firms to become a trusted source of information for clients and referral sources. A law firm blogging effort which seeks to combine the successful efforts of other law firms as well as local investment cultivation initiatives by governments — will serve any internationally focused law firm well in terms of becoming a source of trusted legal and commercial information clients and referral sources will be seeking when hoping to find capable and commercially astute local counsel.

I help law firms establish and maintain blogging initiatives focused on generating interest and new client engagements from foreign investors. If you would like to discuss how I might help your firm, please contact me.