Starting Your 2018 Blog Off Right, Part Two

The new year often brings with it resolutions to do better at home, in life, and in business. For lawyers and business owners this often comes in the form of an aggressive marketing plan to build a robust pipeline and recruit new clients. But by February, many New Year’s Resolutions fall away. So what can you do to make sure you stick to your 2018 blog plan?

In last week’s post, we talked about things you can do in January to get your 2018 blog off to the right start. But it isn’t enough to set things up correctly. You need to plan strategies now to make sure you stick with your content marketing plan all year.

1. Set Aside Time To Write

Lawyers and business owners get busy. It’s a part of life. Deadlines press in, and working on your business gets pushed to the side to meet client demands. Unless you make your web marketing a priority, it will keep falling further down the list. Schedule an appointment with yourself every week to write your blog posts and get your social media posts squared away. Treat this as sacred. Whenever you plan to write, you can’t do anything else.

When I first started blogging, I found it all to easy to reschedule on myself. During the busy times, I would find myself hurriedly throwing something together at the last minute before the scheduled post. To be honest, I often missed my deadline. Then I committed to “blog-day Fridays”. Knowing that my schedule often was slower on Friday mornings, I set that time aside for myself and my blogs. Meeting my deadlines got easier, and my posts got better, because I gave myself time to think and write intentionally.

2. Find Your Blogging Sweet Spot

Not everyone can clock in at 9 o’clock, sit right down, and start writing. Some people are more inspired in the quiet of the early morning, or as a wind-down in the evening. There is no right answer about when to write.

Try moving your writing appointment around to different times during the day. When you find your blogging sweet spot, commit to it. Make space in your weekly schedule to make use of your personal work rhythms, rather than fighting to write while your brain is processing other priorities.

Your sweet spot may also be a place. Maybe you need to unplug and find a quiet corner to get in touch with your inspiration. For me, I need a certain level of ambient background noise. That means my best writing happens in a coffee shop. You don’t have to be chained to your desk to get your work done. Mix it up and find the place you write best.

3. Set Realistic, But Aggressive Success Goals

Your new law blog won’t have thousands of followers overnight. People are not necessarily clamoring to read for a new law blog. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shoot for a strong readership within the next year. You may not be able to commit to a blog every day, but you should be able to write at least once a week.

Take a look at your industry, what you want to get out of your blog, and how much you can commit to the project. Then set realistic, but aggressive goals and take the extra time to break down how you plan to achieve them. If you want a 1000 visits per month, are you willing to invest some money into social media marketing to make that happen? If you want to post every day, do you have at least 5 hours a week to write content?

By having clear goals, you will know what it looks like to have a successful blog. This will keep you from hitting a mid-year slump and calling it quits.

4. Use Analytics to Track Success

Once you know what success for your blog looks like, you need to figure out how to know it when you see it. Many of a bloggers’ best success markers can be tracked using web analytics. Whether you install a plugin into your WordPress content management software, or sign up for Google Analytics or some other outside measurement, you can track unique visitors, where they are going, and how long they are staying there.

Ultimately, most law firms are using their blogs to attract new business. That means what matters to them is who signs the retainer. In that case, you need to pair your online analytics with careful in-house monitoring. Asking every potential customer how they heard of you – and dig in when they tell you they “found you on the Internet”. That way you can quantify that last step from reader to paying customer.

5. Use Your Content Plan to Get Through Dry Spells

In last week’s post, I explained how important a content plan is to a successful new blog. That’s because, eventually, you will hit a writer’s block. Without a content plan, a moment of writer’s block can send you off your game and make it far too easy to fall out of the habit of blogging. But by tapping into your content plan on a regular basis, you will find inspiration from the investment you made at the start of the year.

A truly proactive blogger hordes topics and inspiration to be used later. Let’s say your firm handles family law and estate planning cases. You alternate posts based on the various services within those two practice areas. On an estate planning week, you read an article about the psychological effects of divorce on infants. Save that link! Even if it takes a month before a relevant keyword comes around, you can easily go back to that stored inspiration and write a meaningful post.

A successful blog is one part preparation and one part planned endurance. Without both, your blog will fizzle and you’ll find yourself falling short of your web marketing goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Do the work now to make it easier to succeed all year long.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help sticking to your 2018 blogging plan, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.

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