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
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This month writers across the country and internationally will be scrambling to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Most bloggers are afraid of anything long-form. But NaNoWriMo and it’s non-fiction counterpart, National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo) can inspire bloggers to do more with their archived articles, even publish a book.
If you are like many bloggers, you are convinced you don’t have time to write anything longer than your weekly 500 word blog post. Maybe you have trouble even finding that much time to write. So when your readers tell you “you should write a book” you cringe in fear.
Bloggers and short-story writers have the same take on this: there’s no way they have it in them to write something that long. Sure, 500 words a week may be easy enough, but who could possibly create whole chapters of original content?
The thing is, you may have already done just that. The average non-fiction book runs 50,000 to 75,000 words. But an eBook could be as little as 3,000. That’s 6 blog posts. If you look back at your blogging archive it’s a safe bet you have 6 or 10 or maybe even 20 posts all on the same topic. With a little editing, there is your book.
Books and eBooks can also be a great way to repurpose your hard-wrote blogs and even make a little money. By re-editing your blog series on weathering a bankruptcy, you could create a self-help book that earns you money while you sleep.
Being a published author can also boost your reputation and distinguish you from your competition. Imagine being able to offer potential clients a free copy of a book with your name on the cover and your picture on the fly-leaf. Pretty impressive. Why would they go with any other lawyer when you literally wrote the book on their issue?
You may not think you have the time to write a book, but the organizations that run NaNoWriMo and NaNonFiWriMo beg to differ. And when you already have the content written in your blog, what do you have to lose? Join the thousands of writers dedicated to creating a book this November. You may thank yourself later.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Southfield, Michigan. She can offer you and your firm writing services from ghost-blogging to brief writing, to ghostwriting a book based on your blog content. If you don’t have time to write it yourself, contact Legal Linguist to reach a ghost writer today.
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
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!
Alright, admit it. There are times you go back to the same blog post 5 or even 10 times and wish you had written it differently. Maybe you keep editing and updating even after the post is published. Lots of lawyers are perfectionists, but applying a standard of perfection will hurt your blog, not help it.
Demanding that you produce a flawless blog every time will diminish your creativity, slow your writing progress, and could even keep you from blogging at all. You will be so focused on writing it right, you eventually won’t be able to write anything without fear of imperfection. Perfectionism may help when you are editing a major brief or finalizing your web layout, but in a regularly updated blog, it can be more of a hindrance.
Instead of trying to write the perfect blog every time, treat the blog as a whole as a living, growing sample of your work. Acknowledge that some of your posts will be excellent while others are merely adequate. Every once in a while, go back and read some of your early posts. There’s a good chance your new work will look a lot closer to perfect by comparison.
Blog writing is a learned skill. It is not something you will do perfectly right away. If you hold yourself to unreasonable standards of perfection early on you will get discouraged. You will be more likely to lose your drive and let your blog join the thousands of other stagnant pools that never get updated.
Focus instead on improvement. Not perfect, but perfecting. By learning from past mistakes and practicing your craft you will become a better blogger over time. If you need help perfecting your writing without being perfect, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt today.
You’ve been posting regularly, maybe even religiously, to your blog for several months. But this week there’s just no way. Time is short, to do lists are long, and there are simply higher priorities than blogging right now. Is missing one week really going to kill your online marketing efforts?
No. We’re all human and sometimes we get sick, or have too much on our plate. Your followers will forgive you if their subscription email doesn’t show up one morning. But there are strategies you can use to help minimize down time on your blog.
- Don’t post the day you write. Plan on writing a few days before your posts get published. That way if something happens and you simply can’t finish your blog article that day, you have an extra day or two to catch up before it affects your posting schedule. Most blog platforms allow you to schedule your posts in advance, so give yourself a buffer to account for the unexpected.
- Create emergency posts. Everyone has slow periods in their business. Use that down time to create posts that can be stored and used in emergency situations, like when you get sick. Make sure these articles aren’t tied to any particular news story or event, though. Otherwise the post may seem out of date when you finally use it.
- If you miss one, post anyway. Just because this week’s blog didn’t get out by your deadline doesn’t mean you can’t post something later. Consider finding a particularly time sensitive issue and posting an up-to-the-minute update later in the week. That way your readers will be pleasantly surprised by your mid-week post and will forget about the missed day.
- It’s okay to skip a week. Missing a blog article is not the end of your marketing world. Your readers won’t abandon you if you skip a week, and your blog won’t suddenly plunge to the bottom of the search rankings. But while it’s okay to give yourself an occasional pass when schedules get extremely tight, if you are having trouble finding time to write regularly, you may need to outsource the work. It’s okay to skip once in a while, but there is a danger to your marketing dollar if you fall out of the habit altogether.
Your blog doesn’t need to be a source of stress in your already intense schedule. It’s okay if you find yourself up against a deadline and need to make adjustments just this once. What is important is that you maintain a feeling of regularity with your readers and that you keep your blogging habit, even when your schedule fills up. If you’re in over your head trying to keep up with your blog, contact ghost writer Lisa Schmidt for help.
Your blog is fighting with literally thousands of other websites for the attention of prospective clients. Most of those websites have nothing to do with your business, and even the ones that do may be for companies so far away they aren’t even competition. So how can you build up your blog to push aside those irrelevant sites and rise to the top of your clients’ search results?
- Use the right terms. Just because the technical term for your practice area is “medical malpractice” doesn’t mean that’s what your clients are looking for on the web. Take the time to figure out the keywords potential clients are using to find businesses like yours. Then build these terms into your web copy and blog content to build your organic SEO.
- Bulk up your blog. Make sure your website is full of good and accessible content. The more references you have to key terms, the easier it will be for web crawlers to find you. The quicker they find you, the higher you’ll be in their search results. But don’t forget to keep your site accessible too. A page loaded down with keywords may get a lot of hits, but visitors won’t stay long. Prevent bounces by making sure your content is readable, engaging, and answers your readers’ questions.
- Post often. One of the things browsers like Google and Bing look at is how fresh your blog is. By posting every week or more, you keep your content fresh and at the time of the search results. Plus, by posting frequently and regularly, you’ll put yourself in front of your followers and referral partners. Their visits, likes, and comments, will also boost your SEO and make your blog rise to the top.
The Internet is a competitive place, with contenders from all over the world. Keep your blog fighting for the top spots in the search results by using terms people search for, loading your blog with accessible content, and keeping it fresh. This will get your blog into fighting shape and drive potential clients to your site and your door.
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.
So far this blog has talked about using blogging to reach potential customers on the Internet. But blogging isn’t just about fishing. Blogging also cultivates your team of referral partners by teaching them what it is that you do.
All private attorneys (in-house general counsel excluded) have some people they rely on to send them referrals. They could have formal arrangements with other complimentary lawyers or they could rely on networking organizations like chambers of commerce. Even if they just get referrals from their family and friends, they all want someone to send them clients.
The best way to encourage this is by making yourself an expert in those people’s minds. A blog is a great way to do that and to maintain constant contact with your referral partners.
When you ask them to subscribe to your blog they will start receiving regular reminders of what you do and, more importantly, what you know. Weekly, or even daily emails announcing your latest blog post puts your business in their inboxes.
People refer people they know, and professionals want to know that the person they refer has the ability to do the job. By maintaining a consistent, conversational blog that deals with everyday issues you can assure your referral partners that you are competent to handle their clients’ concerns.
And by demonstrating week after week that you have unique knowledge and insight into your practice areas, you will constantly remind your subscribers that you are an expert in your field. Then when a potential client comes to one of your readers with your kind of problem, you will be the one he thinks of to solve it.
Content marketing is not just about fishing for potential clients through keywords and SEO. It is also about training your referral partners to be better salespeople for your business.
Last week’s post described several social media outlets available to grow your blog’s visibility and influence. This post and those that follow will look at each website in more detail, starting with Facebook. This powerful business tool is a great way to reach potential clients and should not be overlooked.
Facebook has a huge international following. What started out as a way for Harvard college students to connect with one another now has 1.11 billion monthly active users. Of those users, 655 million access the page daily, making it a great outlet to maintain contact with your audience.
Many solo professionals will try to use their personal accounts directly. But this dilutes your message, interspersing your great trial result with Aunt Minny’s pie recipe and the cute dog picture you shared while eating lunch.
Instead, create a dedicated point of access: a business page. Make your profile picture and cover photo consistent with your branding using your professional photo, logo, or maybe a picture of your office building. Facebook does have restrictions on how much and what kind of text can appear in your cover photo, but there is enough flexibility to make your message clear.
Put up some initial content: something catchy that will make people interested in what you have to say. This is where your blog comes in. You can post links to your blog articles on your page. If you use images in your blog, Facebook will automatically copy the first picture and put it next to your link.
Think about uploading pictures, or even video. Facebook is a visual medium, so the more imagery you can include in your posts, the more likely your viewers will read your content.
Next, build a following. Invite your friends and business connections to follow you on Facebook. If you are already friends with them on Facebook you can send them an invitation to “like” your page. You can also use your email contact list to connect with business contacts.
Just like your blog, it’s important to keep your Facebook page updated. Some of this can happen automatically if you set up your blog to link to your Facebook page. But you can also use Facebook for less formal communications with clients. Here are just a few ideas for content:
- Link to news articles related to your field of practice
- Announce big moments for your firm, like that million dollar case you won
- Post pictures of you with partners and business contacts
- Do short informational videos
- Create announcements for your publicity events
The company has an algorithm that determines which followers see each post. If you post something you want everyone to see you can pay to promote it to all your readers.
Facebook is an excellent tool to reach your clients, especially if you represent individuals. By posting frequently you will stay visible and by linking to your blog clients will have an easy reminder of your skill and expertise.
You’ve committed to writing a professional blog, but now the kids need to be dropped off at school, and you’ve got a meeting in 2 hours, and don’t forget about that client who is coming in this afternoon. Couldn’t you skip the blog just this once? How often do you really need to post for it to be enough?
There is no one right answer. Originally, the feeling was that you have to provide new content every day, like a newspaper. It’s true that your readers will not come back to read the same content again and again, but are they really going to read every word of your content? While search engines like daily posts, your readers may not have time to keep up.
Other commentators feel that once a week might be enough. Particularly when combined with other online marketing efforts, you could see significant returns on your investment of just a couple hours per week. It all depends on how you will use what you write.
The right balance also depends on what you are blogging. If you are a photographer who is sharing sample images that are available as prints, by all means post daily. In the visual arena you need constant contact with your viewers. But if your posts tend to be long, thoughtful dissections of the latest law or news story, then even twice a week may be more than most readers can handle (Stay tuned for a later article on the optimal word count).
The key is to find a good balance between the ever-hungry search engines and the busy but interested readers. Constant contact is important, but it can be achieved through other sources like social media and emails that bolster the effect of your blog.
So how often is enough? For most people, probably somewhere between once a week and once a day. The most important thing, though, is to be regular and to include high quality content whenever you update your blog. And always have a post or two stored away, in case you need to skip a day to take the kids to school.