Archives for December 2010

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 12/31/2010

 Like New Year’s health and fitness resolutions, blogging resolutions are predicated on increasing frequency — of visits to the gym or of blog posts, respectively. Conventional wisdom in both cases is that success depends on overcoming physical/intellectual inertia through willpower and self-discipline.

Wall Street Journal article  offers an alternative approach to keeping New Year’s resolutions that substitutes advance planning and practice for guilt and shame. Brain research indicates that the part of the brain responsible for willpower is easily overloaded and exhausted, while the parts responsible for linking positive emotions to new habits are more effective at helping you condition and sustain new behaviors.

To illustrate the process, the piece includes a diagram for a metaphorical dance called “The New Year’s Shuffle”:

  • Make a realistic plan in advance
  • Practice in advance exercising self-control in other areas of life
  • Think in advance about what might cause setbacks and slips and plan to avoid those things
  • Plan rewards for yourself when you do new habits
  • Practice focusing on your new habit instead of the old one
  • Expect setbacks and slips
  • Make a plan for bouncing back from setbacks and slips
  • Plan punishments to help you get started, such as denying yourself TV
  • Reduce other life stress if possible
  • Use positive reinforcement 80% of the time, negative reinforcement 20%

Whether you master those steps or not, Happy New Year!

Getting Started in Legal Blogging: Selling Door-to-Door

I spent a recent morning  discussing legal social media with a client who, on her firm’s behalf, is just learning the ropes of blogging. One of our objectives was to develop a list of tactics that would answer management’s inevitable question, “What are we doing to drive traffic to our blog?”

We talked through the full gamut of mandatory technical levers — keyword research, SEO, SEM, linking strategies, search-optimized content — but kept coming back to the same conclusion: There are no shortcuts. It’s about hard work and building credibility post by post, comment by comment, response by response. What Jay Baer described as “hand-to-hand combat for eyeballs.”

Yes, first and foremost you need to have plenty of useful and/or entertaining content on your blog, but just setting up your tags and trusting that search engine spiders will take the bait is not going to ramp up your traffic and subscriber base.

SHOW INTEREST AND BE INTERESTING

The most direct and effective means of driving quality traffic and subscriptions to your blog is by posting comments and engaging in discussions on other blogs – Regularly contribute to the comment threads of blogs that a) attract frequent comments and exchanges by individuals in your target audiences or b) are written by individuals you’ve identified as key influencers/referral sources even if they don’t have a large following or active comment streams.

And be persistent:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxCHEJSHOBE&fs=1&hl=en_US]

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 12/17/2010

This week the Minnesota State Bar Association announced its picks for the “Top 25 Minnesota Blawgs, 2010 Edition.” I was familiar with some — what legal social media denizen isn’t a Lawyerist fan — but I was surprised and delighted to be introduced to many new (to me) and original voices.

As I reviewed the winning blawgs, I noticed something very encouraging: a large plurality were designed and run on WordPress software and haven’t needed the phantom “marketing support” of commercial blawg mill operators to gain traction and authority.

Because I’ve long maintained that small and solo practices with robust blogs don’t need a separate website, I was most excited to read the citation for Budge Law Offices LLC:

“When we talk to attorneys about law firm websites, they often tell us “I don’t want my site to look like a blog.” Hmmm. Confusing. One of the best ways to engage potential clients is a site that maintains fresh content. The Budge Law Firm takes that to heart. Their law firm web site is a blog, and their blog is a law firm website. And they do a nice job with it, showing how much you can do with some content, a few posts, and a nicely minimalist approach that actually uses a slightly tweaked version of the WordPress default theme.”

Other honorees powered by WordPress include:

Congratulations to the winners. I’ll be posting about you again soon.