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Scribd: Knowledge Management Tool, Marketing Tool, or Just a Waste of Time?

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, April 2, 2007

As you know, we often point to and analyze YouTube videos related to law practice. That's because we believe YouTube provides law firms with an unprecedented marketing opportunity — the ability to reach millions of consumers without having to pay an advertising fee. You do, of course, have to create a video and promote it, but that's a small expense by comparison. In fact, promoting a video might entail emailing the link to your clients and asking them to pass it along (you should also email us as our coverage often causes significant spikes in viewership).

Now, I'll readily admit that most law firms have never dabbled in video — except perhaps depositions. However, every law firm has considerable expertise in another medium — the written word.

For this reason, newly launched Scribd might prove even more powerful and far cheaper than YouTube.

Scribd is YouTube for documents. You simply upload a document in one of the supported formats after which Scribd indexes it and makes it available in several versions — PDF, Word, Plain Text, Flashpaper (for browser viewing) and MP3 (for listening).

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way first in case it's not so obvious:

• You can use Scribd as a free document conversion tool, albeit with a limited number of file formats right now.

• You can use Scribd to convert documents into MP3 files that you can listen to while commuting, which means you can drive and bill. Ka-ching!

• You can use Scribd as a quick and dirty extranet for clients.

• Someday, I suspect Scribd will also perform free OCR.

That's all great and yes you can keep your documents private, thus using Scribd solely as a technology tool.

But I think Scribd might even have greater utility as a marketing tool — both for you personally and your firm.

Scribd probably already has a larger audience than your Web site does, and that gulf will no doubt widen now that Scribd has taken its first dose of venture capital.

Why not try uploading an article you've written to see what happens? For maximum impact, place it on your firm's letterhead and create a complete Scribd profile including a link to your firm's site. Also, don't forget to tag it with keywords that people will likely use in their searches.

To get started, allow Dennis Kennedy to lead the way as he often does. Check out Dennis' first Scribd upload — a collection of seven of his articles on e-discovery.

Also, I've also uploaded an essay I wrote in July 2002 entitled Jar Jar's Law. It compares the technology in Star Wars to that of our own world.

Tip: Upload your documents in PDF format for best results in Flashpaper (the browser viewer).

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A TechnoEditorial is the vehicle through which we opine and provide tips of interest to managing partners, law firm administrators, and others in the legal profession. TechnoEditorials appear first in TechnoGuide, and later here in TechnoLawyer Blog. TechnoGuide, which is free, also contains exclusive content. You can subscribe here.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Online/Cloud | TL Editorial
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