Last week via Twitter I stumbled upon ProBlogger Darren Rowse’s excellent 9 Things to Do To Make Sure Your Next Blog Post is Read by More than Your Mom. It’s well worth a read if you’re trying to generate more attention for your content online (blog content or any other).
The post had been written on the heels of another, titled The Myth of ‘Great Content’ Marketing Itself. Rowse’s point at the heart of both pieces: great content does not necessarily sell itself. You have to work to find an audience (or to have an audience find you).
If you build it (a website, a blog, whatever), they might come – but unless you follow up with promotion, it is more likely that they will not come:
The reality is that many blogs produce quality content that doesn’t get read. The reason isn’t that the blog’s not worth reading – but in many cases it’s because nobody knows to go read it.
Rowse uses "seeding content" to describe how he promotes his work online. I like the phrase; it brings to mind the idea of judicious and thoughtful placement of your writing wherever something meaningful might grow:
I’m not really a great gardener but I do know that in order for me to have a new plant grow in my garden I need to go to some effort – but that if I do too much I can actually hurt the growth of the plant.
Agreed. For one thing, as you promote your own work online you don’t want to be perceived as a spammer. No one will read you (or follow your links) on an ongoing basis. For another, we all only have so much time in the day; what we do should make an impact. ("Seeding content" is, I think, another take on the figurative "hub and outpost" strategy of participating online wherever a worthwhile audience happens to gather.)
Rowse’s nine suggestions for seeding content include Twitter, Facebook, guest blogging, links in email signatures, social bookmarking, and more. All terrific ideas. I recommend reading the original post to see what tactics might fit into your online strategy.
Here are my three additions to Rowse’s list, written specifically with legal professionals in mind:
3 Ways to Get Attention for Your Online Legal Content
1. Post on JD Supra – well of course I am going to say JD Supra! The fact is, over the last year we have built (and continue to build) a network that distributes your content widely across multiple platforms, to targeted audiences around the Web. We build it so that they come to you (or, more specifically, we take you to them.)
Take a look at the index of subject-specific legal feeds gathered in our new and always-growing list, JD Supra Everywhere. Your work uploaded on JD Supra (including blog posts) is fed to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; is emailed out monthly via digests; and is distributed via third-party providers Newstex, complinet, and others. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Suggestion: if you are a legal professional looking to find more readers for your work, upload it to JD Supra.
2. Start a Facebook Page – over the past year we’ve seen a growing trend towards businesses of all kinds adopting Facebook pages to extend reach online (as covered by numerous media outlets). We love Facebook pages for their ability to grow a willing and viral audience of readers, who in turn promote your work to their connections as they read it, comment on it, share it – engage with it. I’ve written about this before ("Why You Should be on Facebook.") Most recently, the ABA Journal picked up the story with a piece about Massachusetts-based Vetstein Law Group’s efforts to grow an audience for their blog on Facebook.
Suggestion: create a Facebook business page for your professional legal service. Tether your blog and your JD Supra portfolio to the page in order to automatically feed new content to Facebook. Promote your page to clients new and old, colleagues, and your closest network of family and friends. As you grow your audience and feed it good content, it will in turn grow itself.
3. Participate in LinkedIn Groups – we see very real and worthwhile engagement with JD Supra content in LinkedIn groups. As you perhaps know, groups on LinkedIn have a "News" section where members can recommend individual articles or stream an entire RSS feed. If you’re not participating in this way on LinkedIn, I recommend starting now. It’s an easy way to find a trageted, professional audience for you work.
Suggestion: search LinkedIn groups for gatherings of professionals you serve. Join those groups that make sense to join – do not spam with advertising or, for that matter, only with links to your articles. Rather, become an active and worthwhile participant in the group. Whenever and wherever appropriate, suggest your new content via LinkedIn "News."
What other ways do you seed your content around the Web? Share your tactics here, with a comment to this post.