The highly-regarded law firm, Preston Gates, has moved into the world of blogging with the nicely-implemented and useful Electronic Discovery Law blog. I’ve been following the blog for a while and noticed that it seemed to be achieving momentum, with more consistent and useful postings. Most important, unlike some of the large law firm blog efforts I’ve seen, the Electronic Discovery Law blog has an RSS feed.
I became even more impressed with the blog yesterday when I got an email from Dave Bowerman of Preston Gates about the blog. It turns out that I picked it up before its official launch, which will be on Monday.
They’ve actually been working on the blog in a “live” mode before they launch it. Aside from the amazing story of Sabrina Pacifici doing three months of posts before she launched BeSpacific.com, you don’t hear of many bloggers taking that kind of a rigorous approach to a launch.
This bodes well for the prospects of the Electronic Discovery Law blog becoming a solid resource on electronic discovery. As you may have noticed, there is a long trail of now-defunct blogs that law firms have launched with great fanfare but quickly faded away as they learned the difficulty of sustaining a regular posting regimen.
Dave’s email to me was a textbook example of how a blogger should ask other bloggers to mention or link to his or her blog. Note the following:
1. Make a positive reference to the blogger or blog from whom you request a reciprocal link or mention (for convenience, I’ll call him or her the “target blogger”). In this case, the Electronic Discovery Law blog had already posted a favorable mention of one of the Electronic Discoverers columns I co-write with George Socha.
2. Show that you have visited or are a reader of the target blogger. Bonus point: remember to make a positive comment about the blog. Dave starts simply: “I came across your blog today [nicely done].” I don’t ask for much – just a little pat on the back is OK.
3. Give a reason or an example of why the target blogger’s audience will benefit from knowing about your blog. Ideally, write this in a way that the target blogger can copy and paste into a post about your. Example from Dave: “we’re adding the finishing touches — including a searchable case database on electronic discovery issues — in the next day or so for our formal launch on Monday.” This database sounds like a great tool.
4. Don’t ask for a “reciprocal link” or, worse, demand a link to your blog. Be polite and respect the blogger’s time constraints. There are two great examples in Dave’s email. First, he simply says that he “wanted to alert you to the upcoming launch of our e-discovery blog.” He ends with, “Please check it out when you get a chance.” Anyone who has gotten a lot of requests for reciprocal links over the years will recognize that this polite of an approach is rare indeed.
5. Mention your blog’s name and give the URL so that the target blogger can easily copy and paste it in a post. You’d be surprised how many people neglect to do this.
6. Add a link to the target blog on your blog before you ask for a link in return. The only minor quibble I might have with Dave’s email to me when comparing it to a mythical “perfect” request is that he didn’t say that he had already linked to my blog, but (1) there already was a post about me (better than a simple blogroll link) on the blog and (2) in fairness to Dave, he was not making a reciprocal link request.
7. Consider point #3 above very carefully. If you simply want a link from a target blogger to enhance your search engine placement or drive traffic to your blog, without offering any significant benefit as a resource to the target blogger’s audience, realize that you are asking for a purely economic transaction that benefits you, not the target blogger. In that case, you must treat your request accordingly and I recommend that you read my post on my reciprocal linking and blog mentioning policy.
I wish Dave and Preston Gates the best on the Electronic Discovery Law blog. It’s an important area that could use more blogging coverage. I’m planning much more electronic discovery coverage in my blog and I’ve been talking with several people lately about launching an e-discovery blog. At the moment, Michael Arkfeld is the key electronic discovery resource in the blogosphere, but electronic discovery is a big topic that would benefit from much greater blog coverage. I’m pleased that Preston Gates, with the debut of its Electronic Discovery Law blog, is jumping into this area with an effort that holds great promise. I’m even more pleased that they have someone like Dave Bowerman who seems to know how to handle its launch in the right way.
Note: George Socha and I will be presenting a webinar on the electronic discovery process on January 11 – details at http://www.fiosinc.com/events/webcasts.html#050111.
Some other great electronic discovery resources:
DiscoveryResources.org – http://www.discoveryresources.org
Tom Mighell’s Strongest Links Column on Law Practice Today – http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/articles/slc07041.html
A Gold Mine of Electronic Discovery Expertise: A Conversation Among Veterans of Electronic Discovery Battles – http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/articles/ftr07041.html
Michael Arkfeld’s book – Electronic Discovery and Evidence
EDDix’s “EDD Suppliers Landscape” – http://www.eddixllc.com (Until January 31, available at a special discount to readers of DennisKennedy.Blog – details at http://www.eddixllc.com/landing/dmk.asp ; see my comments on the report at http://www.denniskennedy.com/archives/2005_01.html#000550
For litigation support issues in general, check out LSVA.com – http://www.lsva.com