Many people feel that photo blogging is the most exciting kind of blogging that exists. Building and maintaining a photo blog is no more difficult than creating and updating a text-based blog, and many people feel that the internet’s high speed, full-color technology reaches the pinnacle of its appeal with the transmission of images. Posting photographs in a blog format on a daily, weekly, or occasional basis is a great way to express yourself while reaching viewers in an emotionally charged and aesthetically engaging way, and surfing photo blogs can help you to get a whole new perspective on the world in which we live.
Many people who run image blogs are photographers by trade, but photo blogging is also very popular among hobbyists and amateur shutterbugs. To be certain, a lot of the most popular photo blogs have gained attention because the pictures on them are of the highest artistic caliber, and a lot of the people who run these striking blogs are graduates of prestigious art schools and have impressive professional portfolios. However, some of the most well known and most often visited photo blogs are as notable for their concepts as for the pictures themselves.
Certain photo blogs, like the popular “Cute Overload” which features picture after picture of adorable animals, are more about the thematic content of the pictures than they are about the style in which the snapshots are taken.
The fact that photo blogs range from forums to display the work of highly skilled artisans to playful collections of curiosities shows that photo blogging is a truly diverse form. The fact that photo blogs are so easy to build and to update makes this kind of visual
communication very democratic, and enables people at all skill levels to become a part of the global conversation about the nature and value of photography today.
Whether you are an artist or hobbyist who wants to create a photo blog, or whether you are just somebody who enjoys learning about new places and things, spending some time looking at the most popular photography blogs on the internet can be a very
rewarding endeavor. You can travel to another place or another time by seeing pictures of faraway locations and long-gone eras. You can see your own neighborhood with fresh eyes by discover how local artists have photographed the town or city in which you live. Photo blogging allows people to communicate all of these things and more, which makes it a very exciting part of the modern blogosphere. If the best thing about web technology is that it allows people to reach each other in a very personal way from across great distances, then in many ways photo blogs are the most successful kind of web sites.
A potential client walks in your front door, or sends you an email from your Web site. How did that client find you? How did that client choose your firm from dozens of other competitors that could offer him similar services? Whether you are designing a Web site, developing a brochure, or even considering the layout of your lobby, everything you do affects the way a potential client thinks of your firm. It seems silly, but even the smallest things can have profound impacts. Leather chairs and a mahogany armoire in your office may impress some clients but scare away others.
This month we look at how potential clients think. As you read over these points, ask yourself two questions: first, who is my ideal client? Second, how do I need to change my marketing to conform to that client’s thought process?
Understanding of the Legal Process .
There are some people who – though not lawyers – live and breathe the law everyday. A tax accountant, for example, may not have a JD, but she no doubt has a pretty good understanding of the Tax Code, the IRS, and judicial proceedings. Contrast this knowledge to a person injured in a car crash. The car crash victim may have never given a moment’s thought to law, or what lawyers do. Suddenly, the pain and medical payments have forced them to seek representation. Depending on the type of client you are interested in attracting, your marketing needs to reflect the level of understanding your clients bring to the table. For people looking for a lawyer for the very first time, consider providing basic information, “how to guides” and “frequently asked questions” materials. For experienced clients, recently published articles on a particular area of expertise might be more appropriate.
A person is arrested for drunk driving and is in the local jail, waiting to be bailed out. The arraignment is set for 10am the next day. This client needs help fast! Now consider the in-house counsel of a large corporation looking for outside help on an upcoming patent issue. The DUI defendant has about 48 hours to find a good attorney; the in-house counsel might spend months. If you are serving DUI defendants, do you have a 24-hour answering service? Does your Web site state that you’ll return calls within a certain period of time?
It is a sad fact that some Americans either fear or dislike lawyers. At least until they need one, at which point they grudgingly contact an attorney. How do you combat skepticism? Some people feel more comfortable if they can ‘put a face to the name’, which may be an argument for including attorney photos on your Web site. Client testimonials can also help. And prominently advertising “free consultation” may also go a long way (if you offer that, of course).
Personal Relevance .
How personally involved is the potential client in the case? For issues like bankruptcy, divorce, and criminal law, the legal matter at hand may be one of the most important moments in a person’s life. Your initial interactions with that potential client may be vital to getting a signed client. If you recognize the significance of the case to the client (regardless of how many similar cases you have had before), you may put the client at ease. If you immediately point them to your paralegal, they may look for an attorney who cares.
Quantifiable Needs .
Sometimes, choosing a lawyer comes down to simple ‘yes or no’ questions. Does the firm have more than ten years of experience? What’s the win/loss record? Will this cost me more than $1000? Is your office within 25 miles of my house? The more of this information you provide upfront – whether on your Web site, brochures, or other advertising – the more likely it is that you will answer important questions a potential client may have (and choose you over a firm that doesn’t provide this information).
Qualitative Needs .
Some clients want an attorney who is “compassionate” and “understanding of their needs.” Others are looking for someone who is “a pit bull” and “aggressive.” If your firm has a distinct personality, why not advertise this to potential clients? After all, if all of your attorneys are really ‘pit bulls,’ a potential client that wants someone to hold their hand isn’t going to choose your firm anyway.
Internet Experience .
Are your clients tech-savvy engineers from Silicon Valley who get excited by the latest gizmos, or hard-working blue-collar folks who want basic and straightforward information? Create your Web site to reflect the values of your potential customers.
Are there alternatives to using a lawyer for your potential clients? For example, instead of hiring you to draft their will, could they use a software product instead? If so, do you have an explanation for why a potential client should choose legal representation over the alternatives?
Preferred Method of Contact .
Some people prefer to talk on the phone. Others only want to communicate by email. For some practice areas, the initial consultation may be followed by fancy dinners, tickets to theatre, and golf outings. Think about how potential clients prefer to engage with your firm.
The Tip of the Iceberg .
The suggestions above are only a few of the hundreds of factors that go into a client’s decision to retain an attorney. The best way to really understand your clients’ behavior is to ask them – ask past clients, ask current clients, and ask potential clients. Gleaning this information now will help you win over more clients in the future.