Archives for January 2011

The Best Things in Social Media Are Free

Earlier this week a prominent legal marketer’s LinkedIn post announcing a webinar entitled “What GCs Look For On Your Website When They Want to Hire a Lawyer” caught my attention. The $300 price tag lost it.

Why?

  1. A simple Google search would turn up the same information and more FOR FREE.
  2. The presenter for the scant 75-minute session was — you guessed it — a law firm website developer. So basically, participants paid $300 each for a sales pitch they could have gotten from the same person a) 1-on-1 b) in a customized version c) FOR FREE.

Don’t get me wrong, webinars can provide very useful education and training. As long as they have a clear ROI potential (i.e. proprietary, well-curated or difficult-to-find information), webinars are usually worth the cost of logging on. A little research up front will help you determine how much of your time and money a webinar’s worth. If it’s a well-trodden topic, my usual threshold is a little time and no money.

And fortunately, lots of top-tier bloggers and subject matter experts regularly offer webinars FOR FREE.

Applying the insights and specific action items you found FOR FREE during your Google search, you could instead invest that $300 in useful activities more likely to directly result in new business, like:

  1. Website redesign
  2. Updating and refreshing content
  3. Video (yes, it can be done that cheaply)
  4. Developing speakers bureau content like MCLE presentations
  5. Registration for an all-day conference where you’ll be able to interact and network with multiple speakers and participants (as opposed to remotely watching a 75-minute sales pitch in listen-only mode).

 What’s the most you’ve ever spent to attend a webinar? Was it worth it?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCf46yHIzSo&w=480&h=390]

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 1/14/2011

I return this week to the topic of how to successfully keep new year’s resolutions concerning legal marketing health and fitness. The pilates tenet of strengthening one’s “core” as the basis for all physical fitness holds true in marketing as well. Before you can safely, effectively and consistently perform more advanced and strenuous moves, the underlying muscle systems must be strong, flexible and controlled.

In the case of blogging and other forms of social media marketing based on content creation and dissemination, the “core” muscles involve listening, not writing. Listening enables you to:

  • Identify whether there’s a market for your content.
  • Identify who else is creating similar content
  • Monitor your progress (or lack thereof)
  • Get new ideas for posts, presentations and other content
  • Capture timely, relevant content for linking and sharing through your blog, Facebook and Twitter

Andrew Hanelly’s “Social Media Monitoring Made Simple” post explores how Google Alerts is a free and easy exercise for building your listening core.

Instead of moving immediately into elaborate “thought leadership” maneuvers, video tutorials and SEO optimization, my “Pilates for Legal Marketing” regimen calls for mastering basic content that connects with readers. While it technically was not created this week, I discovered a useful post on point by the Allinotte Law Office via Twitter this week. “5 Things to Know Before Hiring a Personal or Business Lawyer” is addressed to parties looking for a lawyer, but the same advise provides a template for creating a firm website based not on what you want to tell prospective clients, but on what they want to know.

Depending on the area(s) of law you practice and the size of your firm, this could include topics like:

  • How do you bill for your services?
  • What resources do you have available that will make you responsive to and capable of supporting my needs?
  • Do you proactively communicate on an ongoing basis?
  • What types of matters do you personally work on beyond your advertised specialty or niche?
  • What happens if you get too busy or leave the firm?

Without a strong, flexible and controlled marketing core, the rest is flailing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-2nTyxdKA4&fs=1&hl=en_US]

The Art (and Quasi-Science) of the Comment

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the utility of commenting on other blogs, Facebook fan pages, etc. to fast-track your social media visibility and drive visits when you’re kicking off your first, or a new, blog. To my eternal shame, other than offering the generalized dictum to “Show Interest and Be Interesting” I did not go into detail on the anatomy of an effective comment.

So I was delighted to find Judy Dunn’s excellent primer on that very topic on For Bloggers, By Bloggers. Dunn’s inverse, “why nobody notices your comment” advice includes:

  • You waited too long to comment.
  • You leave a “vanilla” comment.
  • You never take an opposing viewpoint.
  • Your comment is all about you.

I have one wrinkle to add to her inclusion of “You didn’t read the post” as a reason to be ignored, because it might actually result in a surfeit of attention — but the unwanted kind. For example, I recently wrote a guest post on the Spin Sucks blog that was also picked up on Social Media Today. Another blogger chose to excoriate my argument, also on Social Media Today. Fair enough. Problem was, despite the clear attribution to me on both the original post and the SMT version, the rebuttal’s author mistakenly attributed the ideas to Gini Dietrich and directed his shots at her. Both Gentleman Danny Brown and Gini kindly alerted the author to his error, but by then the damage was done.

You can find Chris Pirillo’s ranty take on the same topic below:

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