Crowdfunding may work, or could be like finding a pig in a poke.

Crowdfunding may work, or could be like finding a pig in a poke.

Money? On social media? Where?

Tomorrow morning about this time, I’ll face a roomful of association leaders, each eager to hear how their organizations can finally—finally!—make some revenue off this social media thing we’ll all convinced them is worthwhile.

What can go wrong?

The annual meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives (“NABE,” an ABA affiliate) meets in San Francisco this week. I plan to have an Irish coffee at the famed Buena Vista Cafe, sit down with two other talented presenters, and face the challenging questions.

Among us, we have more decades of communications experience than I’d like to admit, and we’re all social media advocates. But when it comes to increasing revenue via social media, we’ll be discussing a topic that is still in serious flux.

For instance, how much do you want your bar association to be increasing non-dues revenue via online channels? Maybe you have no opinion. But maybe the last thing you want is to be “sold” via yet another medium.

Below you’ll see an image of our panel description in the program brochure. And you can click here to read our handout of other resources.

NABE program description on monetizing social mediaOn Thursday morning, after a Kickstarter expert explains that tool, I will discuss challenges bar associations face in monetizing. My three-part presentation is divided into:

  1. Why many people like the idea of monetizing (even when they don’t quite understand it);
  2. What are the many possible missteps inherent in trying to make money online; and
  3. Why, despite my negativity, there may be hope after all to increase revenue.
word_on_the_street-monetize

Word on the street: “Monetize”

In my talk, I get to touch upon:

  • Spiderman
  • Veronica Mars
  • Law students
  • Herd mentality
  • The A-Team
  • Venice Beach
  • CLE
  • Spilled watermelons
  • The Bill of Rights Monument
  • Al Pacino
  • Subway trains
  • The Bar Foundation

Curious, right? Kind of feel bad you can’t be there, eh?

I may report back about what we covered, and how it was received. If you see big honking pop-up ads cluttering my blog in the coming month, you’ll know our message did not get through.

Texas School Book Depository

Dallas building housing the former Texas School Book Depository

First things first. I am in Dallas this week, for the first time ever: Any tips?

A friend from Alabama also will be in the city known to “Live Large. Think Big” (whatever that means), and he made a pretty good suggestion: We should visit the Texas School Book Depository. For some people, that may not ring any bells, but it is the structure in which Lee Harvey Oswald crouched as he fired fatal shots at President John F. Kennedy back in 1963.

The building is still on Dealey Plaza, and the sixth and seventh floors have been converted into a museum commemorating the awful day. Read more about it here.

Yeah, we may be downers. But what history-lover is not?

NABE logoBut because I may find myself with any additional free time, I would appreciate some tourist insight from folks who know this town. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

On the focused-on-the-conference-front, I will be enjoying quite a bit of learning at the hands of presenters at the NABE midyear conference. And I’m happy to add that I will be one of those presenters. (Thanks again to those who offered suggestions for our panel on social media!)

Jordan Furlong

Jordan Furlong

On Wednesday, just before we present, we’ll have the opportunity to hear from Jordan Furlong. (Follow him on Twitter here.)

Furlong, a Canadian lawyer, is one of a handful of people focused with clear eyes on the future of the legal profession.

I have mentioned Furlong more than once in my blog, but for a real education, head over to his own page. There, you can read his insights on, most recently, legal education. (See posts here and here.)

That’s it for now. I eagerly await your Dallas suggestions!

About a month ago, I wrote about a workshop on social media I will help lead. Thank you to those who provided their general insights about the topic.

cool new facebook features

But now, in a week, is when the rubber hits the social media road. And so I’m asking for your insight again, specifically on the topic of new(-ish) and advanced Facebook features that you appreciate.

That is the topic for which I’ve been tasked at the National Association of Bar Executives, and I am trying to winnow down a list of Facebook fan page features that I think bar associations should consider and maybe adopt.

Here are a few of the features I appreciate on Facebook business pages. Have you used any of them on your personal Facebook page? And would they add to your experience of bar pages?

  • Bigger Facebook profile photos
  • Improved SEO via updated Facebook URLs
  • Better using of the “About” box & “Info” tab
  • Use of “Like” boxes to increase inbound links
  • Incorporating your blog content into Facebook
  • Adding Google Analytics to your Facebook page
  • Posting (more) multimedia on your Facebook pageFacebook Like thumbs up

Of course, it’s possible there are Facebook features you love that have entirely omitted. Let me know what you think.

Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

social media icons

Next February, I’ll be part of a panel communicating all we know for a “Social Media Master Class.” At the moment, I’m feeling vaguely outclassed.

Sure, by February, I plan to have a vast knowledge to impart. But right now, I’d appreciate your insight on what you would expect if you passed by a hotel conference room and spotted the following sign:

“Social Media Advanced Class”

That, essentially, is what we’ll cover in our session.

We will be presenting at the ABA/NABE Midyear Meeting in Dallas, and our audience will be chock full of bar association executives and lawyers.

I didn’t write the copy for the program description, but I am looking for ways to meet its expectations. Here’s what it says:

“If you have not seen the very latest features for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other leading social media platforms, you may be living under a rock. Delve into the newest add-ons and enhancements that will bolster your messaging workflow while optimizing your Association’s exposure. Learn how to navigate unexpected (and sometimes unwelcome) redesigns of leading sites. Plus, get recommendations on the best shortcut tools like HootSuite to ease the pains of posting. Whether you’re a seasoned social media junkie or the new kid on the block, you’ll find something valuable to take away.”

social media "map" by Fred Cavazza

I love this social media “map” by Fred Cavazza.

Hmmm. We’d better bring our A game.

I figure one of the best ways to stretch your audience’s knowledge is to stretch your own. That’s why I’ve reached into a few new worlds this past month, to Quora and even Instagram. And I’ve also been examining the old standards (Facebook and Twitter) for what I think are best practices. But Pinterest hasn’t yet sucked me into its vortex.

Later today, I meet (via conference call) will the other panelists (from Ohio, San Francisco, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia). We’ll be strategizing the best way to communicate valuable content to attendees.

Your insights would be appreciated. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver

Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver

Earlier this week, I shared the magazine’s good news about our national award (press release here). But today is Change of Venue Friday, so we’re on a related but lighter topic: Here are some photos from my trip to Denver (nothing says Change of Venue better than few words, more pics).

I’ve placed a few photos in this blog post; the rest are here, on the Arizona Attorney Facebook page.

But before you head over yonder, you really have to watch a brief video. No, not by me, but by a friend and talented communicator named Patrick Tandy. He’s the Communications Director at the Maryland State Bar Association. Besides all the work that goes into attending a conference (it’s true), Patrick also lugged his iPad around, snapping pictures and capturing the flavor of Denver (and the funky Curtis Hotel).

Patrick teamed up with everyone’s favorite songwriting buddy, Warren Zevon, who provided the appropriate track: “Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead” (communicators – so so dark).

Enjoy his video, and then go look at my non-videofied photos. Have a great weekend.

By the way, have you Liked the Maryland State Bar on Facebook yet? Whatcha waiting for?

Larimer Street, Denver

Larimer Street, Denver

NABE Luminary Award given to Arizona Attorney Magazine, State Bar of Arizona

2012 Luminary Award, Arizona Attorney Magazine

Last Friday, October 12, 2012, Arizona Attorney Magazine received a Luminary Award at a national conference in Denver. Given by the Communications Section of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), the award “recognizes excellence in bar association communications by honoring the outstanding communications projects of the past year.”

NABE is an affiliate of the American Bar Association.

In each of the six competition categories, the Section gives awards in three categories of bar associations: large, medium and small. Our Bar—the State Bar of Arizona—is in the large-bar category.

A complete list of winners is here.

We won a Luminary in 2001 and in 2009. But as the challenges stacked up against print magazines grow, success this year is especially welcome.

Congratulations to our stellar staff and our talented Editorial Board, all of whom go above and beyond to produce a magazine that excels. And kudos to all of our great NABE colleagues on magazines and in communications departments all across the country. (Thank you also to the terrific folks at Fastcase, who sponsor the Section awards.)

What follows is the news from NABE (including the terrific judges’ comments about our magazine; I bolded that part!).

Actors have the Oscars. Advertisers have the Clios. Bar association communicators have the Luminaries.

REGULAR PUBLICATIONS

  • (Small Bar) DCBA Brief – The Journal of the DuPage County Bar Association Submitted by Jacki Hamler, Financial Manager Judge’s Comment: A truly impressive volunteer-written publication, the content of which is better than many state bar journals. This is a “by lawyers, for lawyers” magazine, and you can tell the contributors and editors bring tremendous energy and dedication to its production.
  • (Medium Bar) San Diego Lawyer – San Diego Bar Association Submitted by Karen Korr, Communications Director Judge’s Comment: Kudos! This publication is truly outstanding. Graphics, layout and design are superb. Articles are well-written and edited, and the publication features an eclectic mix of information that is informative and entertaining, in keeping with the mission of the publication. Congratulations on producing a highly professional publication! 
  • (Large Bar) Arizona AttorneyState Bar of Arizona Submitted by Tim Eigo, Editor, Judge’s Comment: Arizona Attorney continues to be the most innovative and interesting state/local bar publication in the country, and it has to be one of the most profitable. Tim Eigo’s embrace of new media has informed his approach to the magazine in an enlivening way, and Karen Holub’s remarkable design work is arresting but not distracting – her illustrations help tell, but never overwhelm, the story. And the ads, good gawd, the ads! Just an inspiring model of excellence from stem to stern.

SPECIAL PUBLICATIONS

  • (Small Bar) The Annual Membership Directory – Nashville Bar Association Submitted by Nikki Gray, Director of Communications Judge’s Comment: This directory clearly meets its goal and provides information in an easy-to-use format. For the editor/producer to be able to jump into this project and quickly create and invent the process, layouts, and design is truly amazing.
  • (Medium Bar) “Welcome to Your State Bar of Nevada” (new attorney orientation kit)  – State Bar of Nevada Submitted by Lori Wolk, Programs & Services Manager and Jennifer Smith, Publications Manager Judge’s Comment: Nevada’s approach to welcoming new attorneys to the practice of law is a perfect example of bar excellence. This welcome packet is visually appealing, innovative and has a wealth of pertinent information for new lawyers.
  • (Large Bar) “The North Carolina Constitution Explained” (publication for high school students and teachers) – North Carolina Bar Association Submitted by Anne Strickland, Assistant Director of Communications, Publications & Print Media Judge’s Comment: As a wife of a schoolteacher, this publication proves to be such a valuable resource to the intended audience. In fact, I found some of the “explanations” very valuable! Overall, I think it’s a great publication, certainly worthy of recognition.

ELECTRONIC PUBLICATIONS

  • (Small Bar) New Matter (monthly e-newsletter) – The Chester County Bar Association, New Matter Committee Submitted by Wendy C. Hoffman, Executive Director Judge’s Comment: I was very impressed with the quality and breadth of content in New Matter. Clearly the editorial board and staff work to address topics that are timely and topical. Additionally, I found the Uberflip layout easy to use and it was very well branded. The design is simple and clean. New Matter also has a very high readership, so it would appear that moving to an electronic format has been a very positive benefit for members.
  • (Medium Bar) This Week at the Bar (weekly e-bulletin) – San Diego County Bar Association Submitted by Karen Korr, Communications Director Judge’s Comment: San Diego’s e-publication has a clean, uncluttered design and provides its readers with targeted messages that are easy to scan. The content is excellent and I admire the staff’s ability to solicit and edit such solid content, including a weekly President’s Message, under such time constraints. The publication appears to be very effective, with online registrations up and less emails sent overall.
  • (Large Bar) OSBA Report Online (case digest e-bulletin delivered in a daily or weekly format) – Ohio State Bar Association Submitted by Nina Corbut, Director of Publications Judge’s Comments: The Ohio State Bar’s online report with case summaries, legal and association news, events and job openings is an extremely well-designed, content-rich, and targeted electronic publication. The ability to customize the interaction with the Ohio State Bar, including the type and frequency of content received, is an amazing member benefit. The staff’s editorial skills and ability to deliver case summaries up to six weeks sooner than a print publication are another invaluable member benefit. The publication is easy to navigate and a pleasure to browse.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

  • (Small Bar) Central Texas Wildfire Legal Response Team Free Legal Clinics (campaign to assist Central Texas wildfire evacuees with their legal problems) – Austin Bar Association, Communications Department Submitted by Kat Hinson, Director of Communications Judge’s Comment: This is an excellent example of crisis communications at its best. From recruiting volunteer attorneys to getting the word out to the public on where to seek help, the Austin Bar Association not only met but exceeded the need for legal help in the time of disaster. An effective public relations campaign is measurable by coverage by the media, but this was not only effective but really was able to help lots of people, evidenced by the need to expand the clinics as the disaster progressed. A stellar job and a model for all – showcasing attorneys at their best and having a plan to help in a disaster.
  • (Medium Bar) Why Lincoln Was a Lawyer (community outreach program which included attorneys speaking in elementary classrooms) – Indiana State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section Submitted by Carissa Long, Assistant Director of Communications Judge’s Comment: The Indiana State Bar Association’s submission is some of the best PR I have seen recently, and not just for a legal submission, for its all-around excellence. The quality of the communication and design, the honing of the message, and an excellent and diverse collection of support materials, is all spot-on. The photo documentation within the classrooms is excellent and continues to carry on the message. This is a great example of a thoroughly researched and developed idea that is well implemented, and it should be used as an example for other bars. Excellent, excellent work!
  • (Large Bar) Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yah! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers (interactive web-based project to assist Texas students in preparing for the new Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKs) standards) – State Bar of Texas, Communications Division Submitted by Kelley Jones King, Deputy Executive Director Judge’s Comments: The State Bar of Texas’s Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! program is a clever and successful civics resources initiative that is well-branded, catchy, educational, and wide-reaching. It is a fun rendition of important educational information that is well placed and promoted. The use of branded media and swag is effective and memorable. The brand and message are cohesive, well-communicated, and engaging. This is an exciting program and a great example of effective public relations and good design that show off the great concept and thoroughly researched and executed message. I love this program for its legal and educational successes as well as its PR and marketing successes. It is exemplary.

MARKETING

  • (Small Bar) Electronic Communications Campaign for a Collection of Events- Montgomery Bar Association Submitted by Jim Mathias, Director of Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs (and including Nancy R. Paul, Jack Costello & George Cardenas) Judge’s Comment: The online Member Resource Center defines a useful Bar member interactive experience and is so elegant. I wish the websites for every conference that I attend were as straight-forward and useful as this bar’s Bench-Bar webpage.
  • (Medium Bar) 2012 Solo & Small Firm Conference Social Media Marketing Campaign – Indiana State Bar Association Submitted by Carissa Long, Assistant Director of Communications Judge’s Comment: A very detailed and strategic execution of a marketing plan via social media channels and nice signage. Definitely one to copy!
  • (Large Bar) Membership Marketing Materials for Lawyers, Law Students and Paralegals – North Carolina Bar Association Submitted by Anne Strickland, Assistant Director of Communications, Publications & Print Media Judge’s Comment: Excellent campaign, messaging and layout. I was engaged throughout both pieces in their entirety. This is an example of branding consistency done right

WEBSITES

  • (Small Bar) Kane County Bar Association, Website Committee Submitted by Jan Wade, Executive Director (on behalf of the KCBA Website Committee) Judge’s Comment: Great website for a small bar. I particularly liked the splash photos that mixed current as well as historical bar pictures. There’s plenty of content available without having to login. I especially liked the history page for content. Overall, I like the way this website works.
  • (Medium Bar) San Diego County Bar Association Submitted by Karen Korr, Communications Director Judge’s Comment: I thought this was a great design. I liked the hub concept with the various groups on the outside and the connection point in the center. I particularly liked the use of black and white photos. These days, that makes it stand out. Throw in the fact that they change to color when your mouse passed over (just like in the Wizard of Oz!) and it’s a great design. I also liked that they didn’t try to cram too much on the homepage. Users can access a lot through the tabs without making the front page messy.
  • (Large Bar) State Bar of Georgia, Submitted by Sarah Coole, Director of Communications (on behalf of the SBG Communications Department) Judge’s Comment: This is a very appealing, well organized, and informative website, without being cluttered.  They’ve incorporated a great use of color and graphics and I thought it was a wonderful idea to have a calendar appear on every page. I also liked that the page is full screen. Great job!

I am in Denver this week (my first time here; can you believe it?), where I’m attending a great communications conference. While here, I am pleased to be leading a panel on how to manage the avalanche of content that seems to overwhelm us (rest assured, our actual title is much nicer than that).

Whenever I travel for work, I try to find great ideas to steal learn from. And that’s what takes me to an award-winning blog site: Solo in Colo

I invite you to look it over. The website, created by the Colorado Bar Association (“Colo”) aims to give voice to the wealth of solo-lawyer knowledge and experience. (The Colorado and Denver Bars are also hosting this week’s national conference, so they’re talented and generous!)

I am used to my own avalanche of content that I must create, curate, rewrite and post. But even given the horrorshow that is my daily calendar, I am in awe of this site. It includes a breadth and depth of value that continues to amaze long after they launched it.

What do you think? Should the State Bar of Arizona take on such a task? Do Arizona’s lawyers—particularly its solos—have any wisdom to impart? (That’s a trick question. They do.)

In what I am sure is no coincidence, the Denver conference includes as a speaker Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, of the great website Attorney at Work. She will speak on (Re)Building Your Blog:

“Using the real-life example of Attorney at Work, Partner/Catalyst Merrilyn Astin Tarlton shows how to create and manage a multi-author blog. She will discuss building readership, creating interaction, creating presence, content development, daily blog management and more. Plan to take good notes so you can head home with a plan to launch or spruce up your own bar blog.”

Any site whose slogan is “One Really Good Idea Every Day” and that manages multiple contributors is worth stealing learning from. Here’s to great ideas!

I return from the Mile-High City Friday evening, laden down with a treasure trove of “borrowed” ideas (and a smile that comes from cooler weather). But I’d like to hear your take on SoloInColo and Attorney at Work, and what you think of getting more voices “out there.”

Happy Change of Venue Friday.

Last week, I promised to provide more photos from my trip to New Orleans (for an annual meeting of Bar folk).

Here, then, in no particular order, are my snaps from the trip (the one with the woman in costume holding a bowling pin, I must admit, is not mine but came my way courtesy of the New Orleans Bar Association, where they know how to host lawyer events!).

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Yesterday, I promised that Change of Venue Friday here on the blog would include photos from New Orleans. Well, that promise is a work in progress.

I was in the Crescent City to attend the midyear meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives. The seminars and the people were great. Unfortunately, it ended with a sudden flight change to avoid Denver and its first major snowstorm of the year. The storm reached “blizzard conditions,” so I’m glad I re-routed through LAX; unfortunately, that meant leaving early from one of the most entertaining cities in the country.

Given the jet-lag, combined with the dexterity and time required to extract many photos off a cell phone (and save and res them down for web), I’m taking a more casual approach to my Friday. The bulk of the pics will be posted next week.

But a promise is a promise. So here are a few photos from The Big Easy. I miss it already.

Have a great weekend.

Former Fifth Circuit Judge John Minor Wisdom

Organizers of the midyear meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives devised a nefarious plan to keep butts in the seats inside a slew of ordinary Marriott conference rooms—not an easy thing to achieve in a distraction-filled city like New Orleans.

What was their devious scheme? Create a broad swath of great sessions that actually gives music and Blues and oysters and Bourbon Street and beignets a run for their money. Oh well, there’s always the evening.

I’ll be following up with some content about what I gleaned from the presenters. (And on Change of Venue Friday, I plan to provide a selection of photos from the trip. Don’t worry— they’re not from the conference rooms!).

Today, though, I point you one more time to the Times-Picayune and its commitment to tell New Orleans stories on the Crescent City’s 175th birthday.

I mentioned some of those stories on Tuesday. Today, though, I point you to some of the more legal-ish of their offerings. But don’t be dissuaded from reading—these are very interesting!

Here, then, is a brief description of some stories I found intriguing, with a link to read the whole story. (This is just a small sample of what the newspaper covered—search around for more!):

Judge John Minor Wisdom was part of a crucial four-vote bloc that handed down a number of landmark civil rights decisions in the 1960s.

Ruby Bridges and three other 6-year-old girls integrated New Orleans public schools in November 1960.

Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead, right under the nose of the Dallas police, 2 days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Carlos Marcello was the Mafia boss of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Louisiana Purchase: The Americas once were the battleground for three European powers: France, Spain and Great Britain.

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