Epic Storytelling Makes the Mundane Fascinating

I had had a long day. After staring at the blank page for far too long trying to decide what to write, I decided to pack it up and try again tomorrow. Writer’s block had struck. But when I got home, my husband inadvertently reminded me of exactly what had been missing from my blogging efforts: storytelling. Continue reading

Schedule Your Social Media Posts and Take a Load Off Your Mind

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

Newsjacking To Build Your Audience

You may not know the term “Newsjacking,” but you probably know it when you see it. Blogs, social media accounts, and even cable news networks will use top trending news stories to get readers’ attention and build their audience. Continue reading

Draw Me A Picture: Who Is Your Ideal Client?

I recently had a conversation with a real estate agent where I asked him, “Who is your ideal client?” His response “I don’t know, anyone looking to buy or sell a house.” Here’s why that just won’t work. Continue reading

Facebook Changes: Bad for Small Businesses

For years you have been hearing about building a Facebook business page for marketing purposes. But some behind the scenes changes are making Facebook tougher for small businesses. Continue reading

A New Year’s Resolution: Keep Social Media Personal

There aren’t many people who choose to send New Year’s Eve alone. That’s because the holidays are social events – times to connect with family and friends and strengthen old bonds. So why do so many businesses treat social media networks so much differently?

Far too many business owners treat their follows on social media like the the masses at professional networking events – they collect as many contacts as they can, but never do any follow up. But social media is about relationships.

On its most basic level, social media is one of several ways for business owners to keep in contact with past and potential clients and referral sources. And it can be a platform for publicizing new blogs and news items. But if you stop there, you may as well be using mailers.

Instead, small business owners need to commit to making personal connections with their social media followers. That means engaging with them and giving them a glimpse at the man behind the curtain. So, in 2015, business owners should resolve to:

Reply to Followers

Inevitably, someone will comment on one of your posts. In fact, you want them to. That’s how you can develop organic reach for your social media posts. Thank new followers, like or favorite responses and shares and retweets. And engage in your followers’ conversations. It will build brand loyalty and grow organic reach.

Be Personal

In between blog posts and product photos, take the time to post something personal. That doesn’t mean posting a picture of your lunch, but maybe you could post a shot of you and the crew on the job. Let them see who you are and what they are paying for behind the marketing pitch. It will help your loyal fans recommend you better to their contacts.

Have Conversations

Particularly on Twitter, one of the best ways to improve visibility and teach your followers about your business is to have conversations with them. Consider asking open-ended questions and being prepared to respond to the answers. Or set up a Tweet-chat or “Ask Me Anything” – dedicated times when you will engage and respond to your followers’ questions.

2015 will give you a chance for a whole new take on your social media strategy. Make a New Year’s resolution to take it more personally and to engage with your followers. What you invest in time, you will get back in organic growth and dedicated followers. If you need help developing a social media strategy, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt at Legal Linguist today.

 

Skipping Christmas?

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.

Dodge Christmas

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.

Writing Simply: Avoid Legalese

Lawyers and other highly trained professionals are in danger. They don’t know how talk to their clients, and so in the world of social media they risk losing followers by talking over their heads. So how can you fight the disease of legalese? Here are some tips:

Drop the Dictionary

Every lawyer has developed an elaborate vocabulary of legal terms, in both latin and English. But using those terms in your blog doesn’t make you sound smart. Instead it confuses your readers and makes your blog hard to read. Drop the dictionary and cut out anything you might have to define if that same client walked into your office. If you’re not sure, ask a non-lawyer friend what they think a word means. You may be surprised what counts as legalese.

Shorten Your Sentences

One of the symptoms of legalese is long, wandering sentences with lots of commas. Particularly when viewed on a mobile device, these sentences can seem to go on forever. Your readers will get lost in the maze of clauses and eventually just give up. Befriend the period. Break up your sentences into easily digestible pieces. Your readers will thank you for it.

Check Your Tone

One sure way to avoid a legalese infection is to read your blog posts aloud. Blogs should be conversational, so if your article sounds more like a lecture you know you have a problem. Take your formality down a notch and change up your style. You’re not teaching a class, you’re writing to a friend. Tone can be tough to manage, but with some practice you can develop a style that is compelling and conversational.

The last thing your followers are looking for on your blog is a legal brief. So if you find yourself at risk of spouting legalese, stop, look, and listen. Walk away from your blog post for at least an hour. Come back and read it anew. And if you aren’t sure about your tone read it aloud to a non-lawyer. If you still need help managing your tone, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt for a meeting.

What the Heck is a #Hashtag?

If you are new to Twitter, you’re probably wondering why everyone keeps putting number signs in front of everything. It’s even made its way on to Facebook now. So what are these pound signs all about?

In the social media world, this symbol # is called the hashtag. The easiest way to think about it is as a signal to the world what your tweet (or Facebook post) is about.

How Does a Hashtag Work?

To go deeper, first we have to step back. Everything you put on Twitter is publicly available to the world. But to find your needle in the haystack of tweets, a person needs to “Follow” you or search for your post.

Hashtags tell the Twitter search engines to include your post in certain searches. For example, the title of this post, “What the Heck is a Hashtag?” would show up in searches for “hashtag.” But the post is about more than that. It also about social media marketing and Twitter. So to make the article show up in a Twitter search, I added the hashtags: #twitter and #socialmediamarketing.

How Do You Choose a Hashtag?

Just putting a pound sign in front of a word doesn’t make it a good hashtag. For it to be effective, a hashtag has to be something people search for. Sometimes it’s obvious, like #socialmediamarketing. Sometimes it’s trendy, like #whyIstayed or #HeforShe.

To find the best hashtags you can browse Twitter, searching for your topics and seeing what other people are using. You can also use websites like Hashtags.org, which track the popularity of hashtags to pick the right word or phrase.

Getting noticed on Twitter is all about entering the right conversations. You can do that by labeling your posts with effective hashtags. If you need help tagging your blog posts, contact ghostblogger and blogging coach Lisa Schmidt to set up a meeting today.