WordPress for Law Firms: Must-Have Plugins for Your Blog

With an abundance of massively useful best practices, tips and “how-to” guidance, sites like WordPress Jedi make a compelling case that you’re probably wasting a lot of $$$ on a hosting service for your blog (since they’re likely hosted on WordPress already).

One of the great things about WordPress is that critical functionality like maintenance and security can be added without specialized programming knowledge (or paying a Web developer), through plugins.

What are your recommendations for the “must-have” list?

 

Content Marketing for Law Firms: Don’t Get Sucked Into Storify

The I Can’t Blog, But This App Can Daily is out!

Look familiar? Twitter is awash with that headline formula, which announces/flags (depending how you look at it) auto-generated posts posing as curated content.

One of the more credible “curation” platforms is Storify, which “lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative.” Although Storify is more authentic than Paper.li, Summify and other curation platforms insofar as it requires the user to actively choose and arrange the content samples, like its app spam counterparts Storify has no compelling value proposition for content marketers. In fact, Storify could end up making you look like a social media dilettante. 

As Ramon Ray unironically commented yesterday on the Small Business Technology blog, “If you are looking for an easy to way to compile online content, but don’t have your own content to share, Storify can help.”

Seriously?

If you don’t have your own content to share, then you shouldn’t waste your time on social media.

 

So what’s the harm in using Storify?

  • It takes as much time to research and assemble a Storify “story” as it does to write a blog post.
  • If you make the time to caption each of the elements in your story, you might as well be creating multiple short posts on your own blog.
  • It’s even more difficult to develop a Storify following than it is to build traction for your own blog.

In contrast, Larry Bodine takes the right approach to curation with his “Best Practices in Lawyer Blogs” posts on the Martindale.com blog. He features a few  interesting/useful posts from other sites/authors, providing a précis and link for each.

For my part, every Wednesday and Friday I cull and present without comment or embellishment seven strong “how to” posts from various sources in my RSS feed, all under the heading “Endeavor to Be Useful.”

Are you trying your hand at content curation? What content marketing tactics are working/not working for you?

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 02.02.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

  • 11 tips for a better Facebook ad campaign | SEOptimise
  • 5 Steps To Bootstrapping Your PR Efforts | SEOmoz
  • 5 Essential Qualities of Growing Your Blog Quickly in a Crowded Niche | Kikolani
  • 47 Essential Social Media Tools for Content Marketers | Junta42
  • 5 Ways to Brand Your New YouTube Profile | Social Media Examiner 
  • 15 essential tasks to complete after installing WordPress | WordPress Hosting SEO
  • Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid – Single Grain

 

SEO for Law Firms: What Legal Marketers Need to Know About Google’s Panda

In the search engine optimization world, “quality” content doesn’t mean what you might immediately think. It’s not breakthrough ideas compellingly expressed (although that’s part of it, in an indirect way).

From an SEO perspective, quality derives in part from structural elements and patterns within your content (frequency, amount of original content on a site, duplication, unnatural overuse of a word) and the way visitors interact with your content (time on page, bounce rate).

In other words, Google’s Panda search algorithm evaluates the “quality” of your content by how long visitors spend on a page (presumably reading) and whether they visit other pages on your site during the same session. Quality content = high average time on page + low bounce rate.

Digital marketing agency Single Grain created a useful infographic that chronicles Panda’s evolution (so to speak) and highlights what law firm site designers and managers can do to build essential inbound links to their blogs and websites.

 

What are your SEO for law firms tips? Have you made any changes to your website or blog(s) to accommodate the new content paradigm Panda has created?

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 01.26.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Market Research for Law Firms: What Legal Marketers Need to Know About Millennials

Last summer I wrote a piece for the Texas Bar Journal about how “digital natives” will transform the ways law firms and clients communicate and collaborate. This recent Bazaarvoice infographic illustrates how much Millennials rely on social proof in their choices of goods and services.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 01.20.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 01.18.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Content Marketing for Lawyers: 5 Non-Blog Content Types That Can Get You Noticed

It’s almost an old chestnut in “innovation” circles, but some of the most important breakthroughs are not new inventions. Rather, they’re new applications of proven technologies and methods. In a post entitled “Don’t Think Different, Think About Different Things” on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Art Markman of the University of Texas at Austin cites the example of vacuum cleaner mogul James Dyson.

“Dyson set out to invent a more effective vacuum cleaner. He noticed that vacuums lose suction as the bag fills, because the pores in the bag get clogged. Most people who tried to fix this issue in the past attempted to solve the “bag problem” by crafting a more effective vacuum cleaner bag.

“Instead, Dyson realized a vacuum takes in a combination of dust and air and needs to separate the dust from the air. Once he thought about the problem in this way, he was able to recall his own knowledge about the industrial cyclones used in sawmills. Industrial cyclones use centrifugal force to separate particles from air rather than a filter. He then designed a small industrial cyclone into a vacuum and created a highly successful business.”

The same can be said of content marketing for lawyers. You can wait two or three years for your reputation and new business leads to gestate on your blog, or you can mobilize the full depth and breadth of your content resources through third-party distribution channels like JD Supra. In a recent e-mail exchange, co-founder Adrian Lurssen provided a very helpful summary of JD Supra content types beyond repurposed blog posts:

  1. Favorable court filings – Lurssen notes that intellectual property attorney Ron Coleman’s repository of documents is comprised almost entirely of his own filings —  decisions, pleadings,  motions, memoranda and related work.
  2. Legal analysis – Multi-specialty law firm Lane Powell uses JD Supra to aggregate newsletters, articles, and alerts covering developments in sectors as wide-ranging as transportation, securities, environment and energy, immigration, labor and employment.
  3. Legal forms – Instead of ceding the “forms” business to LegalZoom, templates and samples of complex instruments like a family trust can surface your content in search engines, and help build reputation.
  4. Legal documents of interest (content curation) – In addition to posting his own writing on social networking and Web 2.0 in the legal space, attorney Doug Cornelius  uses his JD Supra portfolio to collect legal documents not written by him but either related to his practice field or of interest to readers of his blog.
  5. Q&A site responses — Versions of responses written for sites like Quora and LegalOnramp also find their way into JD Supra portfolios.

“We are a bridge between two worlds: lawyers, and the people lawyers serve,” Lurssen concluded. “Any content that makes sense, somehow, of the legal implications (business, consumer, other) of our lives —  that’s good content on JD Supra.”

 

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 01.13.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.