Nothing But the Ruth!
Blogging Advice from the Experts
I’m just back from Content Marketing World — a weeklong conference featuring hundreds of leading experts in social media marketing and blogging. I was there to speak on social media law and to learn how to be more effective with my own marketing efforts. (I was pleased to see at least one of the 3,500 attendees was from a law firm marketing department.) By the end of the event, my head was buzzing with ideas to apply to how I write blog posts — as well as tactics I can use to make sure my existing content reaches a broader audience searching for legal information.
Here are highlights from the sessions I attended.
“Content Marketing Is a Slow Game”
This was a valuable reminder from Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, an SEO agency, especially for the legal community. Our job isn’t to create “viral” content; our job is to create quality content that potential clients can easily find when they need our help. Or as Mitch Joel, president of international digital agency Mirum, put it, “Make an impression with your content.” Don’t worry about the number of times a post is viewed. If you write quality content and make it easy for search engines to find it, your information will find the eyeballs of your target market.
Write to the Needs of Your Audience
This has been my experience, and it was echoed by Andy Crestodina, co-founder of web design and development firm Orbit Media Studios: “Your blog is your best networking tool.” Never be afraid to give away your best information. The search engine results will reward you. (Don’t worry about your blog becoming a replacement for legal services. A well-written post will help gain the confidence of prospective clients, and people only looking for free information will never hire you anyway.)
When thinking about what to write, look to your current clients. They are a “petri dish for great content,” said Jay Baer, best-selling author and founder of Convince and Convert strategic consulting firm. Observe what topics they care about — including the ones that are ancillary to your services — and answer their questions. Before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, Ann Handley, best-selling author of “Everybody Writes,” recommends asking yourself, “So what?” Reframe your perspective to match your readers’ so you can understand their views and write to their needs.
Never Create or Promote Alone
One of the best pieces of advice came from Andy Crestodina: “An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.” Ask contributors to provide a quote for your blog posts. Not only will this add more value to your reader, but your contributor will also help promote it.
Additionally, when you craft each post, Rand Fishkin recommends you ask yourself, “Who will help amplify this and why?” Your contributors are not the only people who are interested in sharing your work with their audience.
Creativity Doesn’t Just Happen
The most impactful message I brought home from Content Marketing World came from Jay Acunzo, creator of the Unthinkable podcast. His message was simple: “Schedule time to create.” Creativity isn’t something you think about; it’s something you do. Find joy in creating content — you’ll want to do it more, and you’ll get better at it. As lawyers, this means we need to pull ourselves away from client projects and billable hours to create new content. For some, myself included, this may also mean giving ourselves permission to take time away from other tasks.
If you’re interested in learning more about social media marketing, I highly recommend Content Marketing World, organized by the Content Marketing Institute. It is one of my favorites, and among the most valuable of the mainstream conferences I attend. It’s a top-notch event, organized and executed by a top-notch team of content marketing experts.
Ruth Carter is a lawyer, writer and speaker. She is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing her practice on intellectual property, social media, First Amendment and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal 2012 Legal Rebel, Ruth is author of the ABA book “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” In “Nothing But the Ruth,” she writes about the lessons she’s learning while building her practice. She blogs at UndeniableRuth.com. Follow her on Twitter @rbcarter.
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