Only a few years ago, blogs were pretty much the monopoly of those offering their personal (and sometimes extreme) opinions on politics, religion, sports, and pop culture. Today, however, blogging is seen as a nearly indispensable element in online marketing, and nearly three-quarters of social media marketers have established online blogs.

Why has blogging emerged as such an important internet marketing tool? Compared to, say, preparing an email blast, a blog post is quick and easy. In fact, the large law firms that first posted blogs with the LexBlog Network did so to save the time it took to prepare conventional email newsletters. Legal blogs are now perceived as credible sources for news, information, and legal insights. They’re cited by other attorneys and by the news media, and they’re easy to read from mobile devices. Walter Olsen, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, believes that legal blogs will soon replace law journals. Of the current Am Law 200 law firms, 78 percent publish blogs.

Blogs provide other advantages to marketers and especially to law firms. Well-written blogs are apt to be shared. They help lawyers and firms attract clients, and they help boost an attorney’s search engine ranking. Unlike a law journal, a blog post is instantly available everywhere. And you can incorporate your blog into your own website, establish it as a separate site, or contribute it to a “blogging community” site like Open Salon.

Of course, you’ll want to post links to your blog on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Coordinated social media marketing is critical to overall marketing success. Finally, if you don’t have a great deal of time for writing, or if you just don’t feel competent as a prose writer, you may want to consider hiring a ghost-writer or a social media marketing company that provides content-creating services.