I finally did it! I’ve been saying that Legal Linguist needed a Twitter feed for over a year now. This week, I bit the bullet. Why did I wait? Because I wanted to do it right. Then I learned about a great way to schedule my social media posts. It takes a load off my mind and lets me plan ahead to make a better first (tenth? hundredth?) impression. Continue reading
There. I said it. Lawyers shouldn’t blog every day. This may go against conventional wisdom for building better SEO rankings, but in reality, most lawyers who try to blog every day will not help their reputations very much. Continue reading
You have spent a lot of time and money building up your web presence, particularly a professional website. Now your marketing manager wants to add pages for every aspect of your practice. So when is enough enough? Continue reading
You blog regularly. You publish on a set schedule designed to reach your target audience. And now that schedule is telling you to post on Christmas. What do you do?
Let’s face it, very few people will be scrolling through their RSS or social media feeds on Christmas or New Year’s morning, looking for a thought-provoking article on business or the law. So how do you deal with the scheduling conflict. There are a few options.
Post with Christmas Cheer!
If you are a stickler for schedules, you could decide to post anyway. People often may not find your blog until the next day, but you can show your dedication to consistency. If you are going to post on December 25 (or January 1 or any other holiday, for that matter), be sure to acknowledge what you are doing. Don’t just put up a generic “top tips” post because, let’s face it, you’re phoning it in while your kids open up their stockings to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Instead, craft a blog that is in the holiday spirit. There are very few topics that can’t be connected to Christmas or New Year’s Resolutions or at least year end. Let your readers know that you are paying attention rather than just posting for the sake of posting.
Your readers may be busy on Christmas morning, but they probably will have some down time on Christmas Eve or the day after the holiday. Adjusting your schedule so your post goes out just before or just after a holiday can be a good idea, particularly if you are targeting consumers. You may still want to use a holiday theme, but people probably won’t fault you for a fall-back post either. Instead they will be thanking you for giving them something to read to avoid unwanted in-laws.
Skip the Post
Every business (except possibly emergency rooms) has some holidays when they are closed. Despite the importance of new and fresh content, your readers won’t lynch you because your office, and your blog, are closed for the holidays. The more often you blog, the less likely skipping Christmas will negatively affect your SEO. So relax and enjoy the egg nog, knowing you’ll jump right back into blogging in the new year.
Which holiday strategy is best for you depends largely on how often you post and who your target market is. Ask yourself whether your readers will be at their desks or whether they may want a distraction. Then decide whether to target, dodge, or skip this holiday season.
Lisa Schmidt is a ghostblogger and blogging coach for Legal Linguist. She helps small businesses and law firms create professional web content and improve their online marketing return on investment. If you need help giving your website a boost in the New Year, contact Legal Linguist today.
“I should be writing.”
Every writer, blogger, or idealist has thought this at least once… a week. Ok let’s be serious, I may have thought this more days than not. But the sentence does more harm than good and can actually kill my ambition to write.
And let’s be clear, I am a writer. I maintain two blogs for myself and write ghost blogs for other lawyers and I have six novels in various stages of not-finished. And yet there are days, even weeks when I have trouble writing a word. Why? Because “I should be writing.”
I think about writing a lot. I’ll find a “blog-able” article while browsing the internet or come up with a fantastic plot while driving. But the moment my brain shifts from wanting to write about something to the dreaded should be, all bets are off.
That’s because suddenly the desire is an obligation. It gets added to the list of all the things I really ought to get to, most of which I really don’t want to do.
And along with that sense of obligation comes the feeling of shame. Shame on me for not doing all those things. Shame on me for not writing every day like I’ve been told by every writing teacher or coach I’ve ever had. And that makes it even worse.
The only thing worse than “I should be writing” is “You should be writing.” Then my inability to put pen to page isn’t just a personal short-coming. It is a failure in a duty I hold to someone in authority, or even the world (remember, writers tend to have big imaginations, that means we can blow things out of proportion sometimes). After I’ve let all those writing teachers down, I couldn’t possibly make amends just by picking up a pen now, could I?
Yes, I could. Every word on page or screen is better than no words. Every thought memorialized is better than the blank page. Better, not because I’ve satisfied some obligation but because I actually do enjoy writing. It’s fun and it energizes me. I feel better having done it.
The challenge is to keep that feeling stronger than the shame I feel for not doing it. The best way to do that? Start writing. Not because I “should be” or because it will make me a better writer, and certainly not because I might maybe make some money off it, but because I enjoy doing it.
I am a writer, I just need to remember that I like it.
I intentionally wrote this piece in first person to eliminate any ‘self-help’ vibes it might have. If you have any suggestions for the “should be” writers out there please add them in the comments!
With Memorial Day behind us and the summer ahead, you are probably looking at your calendar looking for a few days’ vacation. But how should you deal with your blog while you are away? Here are a few ways to get through your time off:
1. Write Ahead
If your blog is still getting its sea legs, you probably will want to take the extra time to have blogs scheduled and ready to go while you are away. Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule your posts in advance, so you can set everything up and walk away without worrying that something could go wrong.
2. Write Abroad
One of the great things about the web is that you can access it from almost anywhere. Sometimes your vacation will inspire you. If it does, write. Don’t bottle it up and try to wait until you get back. You can upload your blog posts on the go or save them electronically to use later.
3. Cut Back
Maybe you don’t have time to write a fresh blog for each day of your vacation (if you are blogging daily), but you probably have time for 1-2 extra posts. It is okay to cut down your frequency while you are away, as long as you pick it back up when you get back.
4. Use Guest Bloggers
If your blog has a decent following you probably have a few other bloggers reading your work. Send out a call for guest bloggers to fill the gaps while you are away. This will take burden off of you and will help grow your audience at the same time.
5. Use Ghost Bloggers
If none of these options suit you, you can always hire someone to write on your behalf. A ghost blogger reads what you have written and provides additional articles that fit your topic and writing style. You can hire one to keep up your content stream while you are away.
Just because you go on vacation doesn’t mean your marketing efforts have to go with you. With some careful advanced planning you can have an uninterrupted flow of content marketing while you are away that will keep you up and running when you get back. If you need a ghost writer to help fill the gaps, contact Lisa Schmidt today before you jump on that plane!
Hootsuite, a web application that allows users to coordinate posts to all of their social media accounts, is a leader in providing social media assistance and information. Always willing to assist its users, the company has recently been ranked top for customer service by Brandwatch.
Earlier this month, the site did something so clever it warrants retweeting – I mean repeating. It created a Dr. Seuss-Inspired Guide to Twitter. The infographic gets a 10 in content, form, and creativity. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
Hootsuite’s infographic is a great example of the innovative ways that you can get noticed on social media. As you are creating your web content for next week, consider what you can do to stand out from the pack.
You’ve made a resolution to start taking your social media marketing seriously. Maybe you’ve committed to posting something every day, or maybe you just want to make your presence known. Fantastic. But how do you fill that social media quota? What kind of content will make people interested in your business?
This is especially true for Pinterest and Facebook. If you are going to catch the attention of a potential client scrolling through hundreds of posts, the best way is through a big, colored picture. Whether it is of you, your business, a stock photo of a related topic, or even a cute cat or dog, potential clients will be more likely to click on posts with a picture to catch their attention.
LinkedIn and Facebook have separate sections for other people to post testimonials about your business. But even on those platforms, there is nothing stopping you from posting a client’s kind words (with their permission, of course). Testimonials are one of the best ways to lend your firm credibility by showing that someone else liked your work.
Even if the client isn’t interested in sharing their experience, you can still post generalized stories about what you did for another person. These posts might look like
Dismissed! I just got the prosecutor to drop the charges against my latest OWI client. I love it!
These kinds of posts let potential clients see that you are successful right now, and maybe in a way that directly relates to them.
Has something changed in your business? Are you bringing on a new associate? Are your prices going up or are you having a sale? By letting your followers know ahead of time you’ll make them feel like they’re part of a special club. You could even consider having a special discount for Facebook or Twitter followers.
When business is slow it may be hard to come up with stories and updates, but you have probably filled your time by reading articles related to your field. By sharing these with your audience you show that you are an expert and that you keep up to date on the latest developments, maybe more than your competition.
Just because this is your business doesn’t mean you can’t have fun once and a while. If you see a relevant meme or a tasteful, funny picture that relates to your business, share it! Your followers will enjoy the laugh and will be reminded that you are human too, not just a business.
There are lots of ways to meet your social media goals. By sharing pictures, testimonials, stories, articles, and the occasional joke, you can keep your page fresh and your content interesting. If you need help setting up your social media platforms, contact Lisa Schmidt, blogging coach, to get you started.
The New Year is a time of looking forward to the year ahead and planning how this year can be better than the last. As you are planning your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget about your marketing strategy. Resolve to make better use of social media for your business in 2014. Doing so will grow your online presence, improve your SEO, and bring you better returns on your blogging investment.
What does improving your social media presence look like? That depends on where you start.
If you are new to the world of social media, you might see Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn as something your kids or associates use, but not for you. The problem is, more and more of your clients are using social media as a tool to find and vet business professionals. If you opt out you are missing out on a growing piece of the pie.
That’s What I Use at Home.
Personal social media accounts are great to connect with family and friends and keep up with current events, but they are not the best option for your new business social media platform. Instead, resolve to create a dedicated business page with your branding, hours, location, and contact information. Then invite your personal friends to like your business page.
But What Do I Do With It Now?
One great way to get started using your social media accounts is to link them to your blog. That way, every time you post a new article, your target audience will get a reminder of who you are and what you do. This will drive more traffic to your blog, which will in turn send more people to your door.
It’s Got to Be More Than That.
If you’ve already set up your business social media accounts and linked them to your blog, you are ready to take your social media presence to the next level. Using an application like Hootsuite, schedule regular posts to your social media accounts. These can be anything from your latest blog post to a picture of you at a networking event, or even a client testimonial. Mix it up and keep your social media presence fresh. Try to post at least once a day at different times to reach the biggest audience.
No matter what stage you are at in your social media experience, 2014 can be the year you take your web presence further. By resolving to improve your social media marketing you can increase your marketability and drive in new business. If you need help implementing a social media strategy, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt.
Let’s face it, a lot of blogs start with the best intentions, but then never – or only very rarely – get updated. Many would-be-bloggers will tell you they have a blog and they “know they should write more” but they are too busy or can’t find anything new to say. In reality, blogging is not that hard or time consuming. So what is stopping all these well-intentioned writers?
One of the fastest ways to make anyone, but especially a lawyer, stop writing is to tell them it has to be perfect. Many authors will find themselves stymied by a feeling that every word they write is being scrutinized by the public on the Internet. What if they say something incorrect that makes them seem foolish, or worse, unprofessional?
This is especially true for lawyers. As attorneys we are held to ethical standards that prohibit us from giving false legal advice. This can scare off would-be-bloggers. Rather than risk the ire of the local ethics committee they turn to safer, more tested, and often less effective forms of marketing.
So how do you overcome perfectionism? How do you combat the feeling that every article you post must be 100% A+ perfect?
The trick is to remember that a blog is a living document. Because you post every week (or maybe every day), you always have a chance to correct your mistakes. You can post updates, explain nuances in later posts, or even delete the error entirely. Your blog does not have to be perfect when you post it because you can always fix it later.
In fact, providing updates or expanded articles is a great way to show that you keep up with changes in the law. If instead of just re-editing a post to address a new statute or case, you write a new post on how the law changes, you will appear to be on the cutting edge. Just remember to add update links to your outdated blogs in case potential clients land there first.
There is no such thing as the perfect blog post. So instead of sitting down to craft a pristine work of art in under 500 words, write what you think, back it up with sources, and be prepared to update it later if it turns out there was an aspect you didn’t consider. Doing this will make blogging far less about anxiety and a lot more fun, even for an ethics-conscious lawyer like you.