Webinar Recap: 2021 in Review & Looking Ahead to 2022

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To cap off the first month of 2022, LexBlog’s Publishing team held the first LexBlog Learns webinar of the year. We both reflected back on 2021 and looked ahead at what’s to come in 2022 for legal bloggers.

Weren’t able to attend the live event? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. As always you can find a full recording of the webinar below along with some of the key takeaways from the presentation. We’ve also got some information about our next webinar at the end of the post—don’t miss that.

If you’ve read our post from earlier this month—The LexBlog Community 2021 Year in Review & Look Ahead—you’ll be familiar with some of the topics covered in today’s webinar. Co-hosts Colin O’Keefe and Michelle Newblom took this opportunity to dive even deeper into these subjects. Here’s what they hit on from our earlier post:

In addition to deepening the conversation around these topics, Colin and Michelle also looked at a number of new subjects, all exclusive to the webinar and all relevant to legal bloggers in the new year.

Digital trends that could spread to legal in 2022

It’s common knowledge that the legal industry as a whole tends to be a bit more cautious when it comes to adopting new technologies and following digital publishing trends. As a result, we’ve been looking at digital trends that are still largely outside the legal space that could impact legal bloggers over the next year.

The Substack style

If you’re not familiar, Substack is a platform that provides writers a way to publish and monetize newsletters. It saw immense growth in 2021 and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As Colin noted in both the webinar and his piece over on our company blog, a lot of Substack’s success stems from its similarities to old school blogging:

  • Starts with full-text newsletters delivered right to reader’s inboxes
  • Heavy reliance on bringing an existing audience with you based on your personal brand
  • Very regular content schedule
  • Still a web-based for discoverability and sharing
  • Run by single authors

While lawyers don’t need to rush out and start a Substack newsletter right away, the popularity of the platform proves that modern readers are looking for niche content from trusted voices—something legal bloggers have been providing for years.

However, for those interested in pursuing something closer to a Substack-style newsletter, Colin had this to share:

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On the LexBlog product side, we’ll definitely be taking a look at full-text newsletters and seeing if we can do something like that and to see how receptive lawyers are to it.”

Refined social promotion and social video

It’s been the case for many years now, but social media will only become more of an essential tool for those in the legal field. Lawyers and law firms are only getting more tech-savvy and in 2022 we expect to see a lot of firm’s elevate their online presence to be much more polished.

Expect this to include more slick quote graphics like the above Tweet from DLA Piper. In our end-of-year survey, many in our community expressed a desire to improve their Instagram presence in 2022. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing firm’s post explainer galleries on legal issues styled in a similar way to The Guardian’s posts.

Closely related, many in our community said they want to place a greater emphasis on video over the next year. The key to this will be ensuring those videos are mobile-friendly. But what do mobile-friendly social videos look like?

  • Short, typically under 60 seconds
  • Video posted directly to the social platform, not a link to an outside website like YouTube
  • Square or tall dimensions fit better on phone screens and take up more real estate on people’s social media feeds
  • Include captions—most people watch social media videos with the sound off

In the end, these social media efforts can work in tandem with your blog and other parts of your digital presence to create a complete content ecosystem. Your legal blog should serve as a sort of ‘home base’ for all of your digital efforts. Your blog can host posts, podcasts, webinars and more while your social media efforts can work to direct people back to this ‘home base.’

Leading with top personalities

As mentioned in the Substack section, these days a lot of digital media revolves around big personas. This is being done in the legal space with great success. A couple of quick examples:

While it is easier said than done, it really does just come down to identifying a rockstar in your firm and providing them with a low-ask lift that will in turn lift others. What that might look like in practice is asking a lawyer at your firm if they can take 40 minutes out of their week to record an episode of the podcast. All they have to do is talk for that short period of time each week. Someone else will handle the editing, publishing and social media promotion and in the end the entire firm will benefit for it. Your firm ‘rockstar’ doesn’t have to put the entire firm on their shoulders and do everything, but utilized correctly they can still have that kind of impact.

A few new blog ideas for 2022.

If you’re considering starting a new blog in 2022, you need to really think about why you are starting that specific blog. As Colin puts it:

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A lot of firms fall into the trap of—‘we have this practice group, so we’re going to start a blog for the practice group. That’s how it works, that’s just how simple it is. We have a practice group we start a blog and we’ll try to make them publish as much as we can.’ Don’t look at it just that way.”

What kinds of things should you look for when starting a new blog? Here are a few big ones:

  • Obvious high-growth sectors
  • Very focused subject matter where you still have a chance to ‘write the book’ on the subject and become the go-to blog
  • Legal issues that can be hit from a variety of angles—great for firms that have different practice groups who can all contribute
  • Plenty of news about the topic

With those criteria in mind, here are a few ideas for law blogs that our team believes would be great to start in 2022:

The eBike Law Examiner

  • eBikes outsell electric cars globally—including U.S.
  • Could do all last-mile transport (eScooters and more)—but not as niche as just eBikes
  • So many angles to hit it from: supply chain, intellectual property, regulation, general growth, safety and more
  • There is no competition out there…yet

Remote Work Law Resource

  • It’s not going anywhere anytime soon
  • Carve out a niche within employment law which is the biggest category of blog posts we see from the LexBlog community
  • Again, lots of angles: HR policy, taxation, trade secrets, side work/contracting, data security

The Psychedelics Law Standard

  • Decriminalization is picking up around psychedelics particularly in regards to their study
  • Already starting to see ads for it
  • The folks at Harris Bricken who broke new ground when they started the Canna Law Blog are already on this
  • Pharma world will start taking a close look
  • IP issues abound

Any plaintiff’s law—the right way

  • Superb models in Bill Marler and Jim Walker
  • Choose a narrow niche and serve as a watchdog over an industry
  • Being able to say you’re out here fighting for everyday people is a powerful story to tell and will really help you rise above the fray
  • Very few who do this well currently, but those who do are among our most popular bloggers

It’s not that you have to start these exact blogs, but the thinking behind these blog ideas should be the same way you or your firm thinks about opportunities to start new blogs.

*****

As always, LexBlog Learns webinars are completely free and open to our clients and non-clients alike. We stream all of these webinars in real-time on our social media, but if you want to be able to directly participate and ask questions, you’ll need to register in advance.

We’ve just begun work on our February and as Colin teased in today’s webinar, we’re expecting a special guest from our community to help us out with this one.

If you’re interested in attending, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram where we’ll be announcing more information about this event soon.

We want to make sure these webinars are useful to you. Have questions or feedback on this or future webinars? We want to hear from you. Shoot us an email at: publishing@lexblog.com

Alec Downing
About the Author

Alec is an intern on LexBlog’s publishing team where he creates content for the company’s various digital platforms. A former radio news anchor, Alec brings both a background in journalism and a passion for law. Alec has the eventual goal of attending law school—and of course—starting his own law blog. His writing has been published in The Seattle Times and Crosscut.

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