The User-Generated Content & Social Media Committee of The Interactive Advertising Bureau published a great introduction to user generated content (UGC). While the article focuses on helping advertising agencies and “brands” understand the potential and risk of advertising in this new environment, I think there’s a lot that law firms, lawyers, and other legal professionals can learn from this as well.
The white paper’s authors write:
Traditionally, marketers have been able to buy time or space on fixed media in a controlled context. They knew where their ad would appear, what it would look like, and perhaps most important, in what context it would be seen. In other words, they could be guaranteed their message wasn’t being delivered in a hostile or inappropriate environment. Today, such guarantees are harder to make, and that lack of control can be a source of great anxiety for marketers. But it also represents an unrivaled opportunity….Advertising in UGC requires marketers to alter their approach. Instead of broadcasting one-way messages at their audiences, advertisers are compelled to engage in a conversation. Doing so carries risks, but failure to do so carries more.
I agree and think this applies to lawyers and law firms. Those who are actively pursuing these types of opportunities to communicate with clients and potential clients are taking a risk. Those who try to sit it out will not survive. But the authors also make a good point when they write:
As with any new environment, it’s important first to understand where you want to go and how you can get there before diving in.
Fortunately, the article itself provides some of the information needed to help grasp some of the basics of this new environment.