The Friday Five
“Why Your Blog Sucks and What to Do About It” is Sam Glover’s topic at the upcoming Lawyernomics 2013 conference. We talked with Sam last week to get a preview, and to learn a bit more about how wrong lawyer blogs can be. If you blog, or if you’re thinking about it, he has some mind-rattling thoughts for you. And he’s not just a-woofin’. Sam has driven the site Lawyerist.com to become one of the legal online world’s heavy-hitters—while continuing to practice law!
Five Reasons Your Blog Sucks (Probably)
While Sam has a whole lot more to say (there are, apparently, many ways a blog can suck), for today’s Friday Five we snipped these five reasons.
1. You think it is just a marketing tool. Your blog is not just another marketing tool. It’s a publication. If your only reason for blogging is to get clients, you are doing it wrong. It might support your marketing, but if you’re not blogging for your readers, you defeat the entire purpose. Focus on what readers want, and you can expect that you will also get some business from your blog.
2. You’re not doing it enough. You wouldn’t read a newspaper if it only came out occasionally—and people don’t read an “occasional” blog. Your blog should be a daily devotional. If you can’t do that, then do it weekly. You have to keep reminding people you are there. If you do, and you’ve got great content, many will come back for every post—just like they will seek out and read all the books by their favorite author.
3. You are writing in isolation. If you just write essay after essay and don’t link with others—and talk with others—you’re not really blogging, you’re broadcasting. People who are new to blogging don’t understand that blogs started out as conversations. They were online interaction between law reviews or medical journals. So keep in mind that you’re not just writing for readers, you’re writing for other bloggers, too. Link to them, talk with them, weigh in on their opinions.
4. You don’t read and comment on other blogs. Some bloggers say they just write for themselves, as a creative outlet. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re writing for an audience and for clients, you need to go out and get them. Let them know you exist. How? Start by reading other blogs regularly. Comment on their posts. Link to them. If you do, they’ll like you and link to your blog, too. Great writers are great readers. By the way, one of the best ways to discover new blogs is to click on the links people leave when they comment on yours.
5. You’re focused on SEO. Sure, SEO is important. And it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what it is and what it means. The really experienced bloggers have internalized SEO, so they almost naturally write optimized things. But without that experience, focusing on SEO and keywords just means boring headlines, bad text and poor content. Readers don’t return to bad content. The most valuable SEO doesn’t come from keywords, it comes from people who link to your blog because of its great content.
Sam Glover is a blogger and business lawyer for geeks, and he consults with other lawyers on motions and appeals. Also, he really likes espresso and fountain pens.
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