Archives for July 2010

Daily Blogging Can Be As Easy As 1-2-3

According to the legions of SEO experts on the Interwebs, Goggle search bots LOVE blogs with frequent posts. Social media maven Liz Strauss believes writing and publishing on your blog every day makes you a better and more successful writer. Both are compelling arguments for cranking out a daily serving of blog.

I fancy myself a nuanced thinker and stylish, economical writer (DON’T JUDGE ME), so I tend to take too long mulling over headlines, distilling ideas into a few concise statements and pouring over bookmarked links for the perfect balance of relevance and link love. That takes time — LOTS of time. So I’m streamlining my blogging process to make myself more productive and my blog more effective. I surveyed as many “top 10” lists on the subject as is could find (until I hit the point of redundancy overload), and developed a “minimum acceptable post” approach to daily blogging that I believe will meet my objectives, and that I can sustain over time. This doesn’t mean I will not do longer posts, but at least I won’t have guilt and cognitive dissonance if I write short.

I’m calling it “The Daily 1-2-3”:

  • 1 hour.
  • 2 links minimum, no more than three.
  • 3 paragraphs (plus an optional closing).

I’ll keep you posted (as it were) on my progress.

Oh, THAT Box…

Blogging and online networking are by far the current “out of the box” darlings of legal marketing, but the discipline remains inside an even bigger box. It’s an ongoing puzzle to me why lawyers look almost exclusively to other lawyers for marketing insights, ideas and inspiration. Survey leading marketers in consumer packaged goods, manufacturing — even other professional services — and you will find that in addition to competitors and leaders in adjacent markets, they look to other industries and geographies for best practices, then innovate for their own products, services and customer/client segments.

My sense is that some of it is rooted in a sense of exceptionalism — i.e. “Lawyers are different, we do things our own way.” Yes, like every other law firm. Everyone uses the same blogging platform, everyone belongs to the same LinkedIn groups, everyone angles for speaking spots at bar association meetings…you get my drift.

If you want to really stand out and break through, then borrow a page from the Apple playbook and “Think different.”

A couple of examples:

  • Like the legal profession, advertising by financial services providers is highly regulated and scrutinized. If you’re struggling with how to make a splash with a Facebook campaign while staying in bounds with bar association rules, check out Genworth Celebrates and Genworth Celebrates Parents for inspiration.
  • The Social Media Business Council’s Business Blogging Blog is an invaluable conduit for case studies and online content with great ideas applicable in law firm marketing from companies like Pfizer, GE and Nokia.

What companies and organizations outside the legal profession inform and inspire your marketing?

Thoughts on Solocon 2010

I recently had the great good fortune to participate with Ed Poll and Renee Barrett on a social marketing panel organized and moderated by the estimable Heather Milligan for the L.A. County Bar Association’s Small and Solo Conference — SoloCon.

Entitled “What Happens in Vegas Stays on Facebook” (and incorporating subliminal “follow the yellow brick road” visual imagery), the discussion covered strategies for building a social media footprint, using the panelists’ own journeys in social networking and marketing as illustrations, tips — and warnings.

While all of us on the panel work in legal marketing, our relationship with and use of social media differ widely — and that was the whole point. The effectiveness and choice of social media tools depend on the interests, intent and bandwidth of the user. So-called “best practices” are directional, not prescriptive.

Having said that, certain commonalities and recurring themes did emerge:

  • Start slowly and build organically. Initially focus on and optimize a few platforms that a) you have interest in and bandwidth to sustain over time and b) that show results.  For example, Renee does not blog, and I don’t do Facebook for business — yet. Once you’re comfortably on top of those critical few platforms you can more effectively and more confidently extend into new ones.
  • Seek quality of contacts and connections, not quantity (though if you can pull off both — good on ya!)
  • There are no “secrets” in social media. Social media communities are large and generous with their insights and assistance. LinkedIn groups can be invaluable technical support desks.
  • Expect the unexpected and embrace serendipity
  • Give yourself permission fail — and move on quickly. Don’t tether yourself to something that becomes burdensome or unenjoyable.