Legal Bloggers: Strategies for Increasing Your Readership
So you have a blog. Great! Everyone – from legal marketers to managing partners – has probably told you that writing a regular blog will establish you as a thought leader and drive business development.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Finding a blog on the Internet is akin to picking out a needle from a haystack.
Just because you write it doesn’t mean they will read it. For your blog to attract readers, you need to give it a push. And that means coming up with a solid distribution strategy.
Let’s look at potential channels that could send readers to your blog.
You can bet that your target audience will be using search engines – Google, Bing, etc. – to find articles and blogs. Understanding topics and keywords that people search for should be the first step in blog writing.
Use Google Trends and Google News to mine for topics. Then research which keywords people are using to search for your topic. Google’s keyword planner provides data on how many searches are conducted every month. For example, if you’re writing about Title IX, are people using search phrases like “title IX discrimination on campus” or “gender equality in education”?
Once you determine the best keywords, integrate them into your blog – naturally. Don’t overuse phrases again and again. Instead, choose five or six phrases and sprinkle them throughout your blog.
Next, give consideration to your title tag. This is separate from the headline on your blog post. The title tag is what is known as a “meta” field and is accessible on the back end of most content management systems (WordPress, Drupal, etc.). Select one prominent keyword phrase that has relatively high search volume, along with high relevancy, to use in your title tag. Search engines use title tags to index your blog posts. Your title tag is also what search engines use to designate your posts in their results pages.
And don’t forget about “domain authority.” Domain authority is a third-party metric that indicates how well search engines will rank a website in search results. Hosting your blog on your firm website (as opposed to building a brand-new site for your blog) will most likely provide higher authority for your blog.
Have a way for readers to sign up for email alerts that are triggered when you put up a new blog post. This type of “opt-in” automated program delivers your blog to engaged readers – that is, potential leads.
If your blog focuses on various practice areas or industries, creating sign-up categories will help you target your readers with relevant content. As an example, Kirton McConkie recently launched a multi-practice blog that provides email sign-up options by category.
Subscription-Based Legal Syndication Sites
Sites like the National Law Review, JD Supra and Mondaq repost blogs on their websites. These online resources are hubs for general counsel, attorneys and reporters to find information on legal topics. Subscribers can join for free, while contributors pay monthly or annual fees to have their content included.
These types of sites have an added benefit for blog authors: They also use social media and email marketing tactics to deliver your content, creating additional visibility.
It goes without saying that social media has the potential to reach an enormous pool of readers. But getting the attention from the right people on social media is a daunting task. Sending out a tweet linking to your blog can be like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. Fortunately, there are a few best practices to help you get additional visibility.
First, decide which social media platforms you’re going to use based on the audience you want to attract. Every social network has a unique culture and demographic characteristics. Don’t waste your time chasing a crowd that’s not relevant – for instance, Snapchat users are not interested in legal blogs.
Once you’ve identified one or two social platforms, search for influencers in your topic area. These influencers will frequently write about and share relevant content and will have high follower and engagement metrics. Start engaging with these people. Don’t bombard them with requests to share your blog, but show interest in their content and join in conversations. Also, sprinkle links to your blog into your social stream. Just be careful not to make it all about you.
Use the LinkedIn “Publish a Post” feature to repurpose your blogs on your profile. It’s a simple way to expand your reach on LinkedIn. Not only are posts searchable on LinkedIn, but they also are pushed out through LinkedIn’s email notification program.
Blog Directory Sites
Setting up your blog’s RSS feed to relevant blog directory sites like AllTop’s legal section and ABAJournal blogs will drive readers to your blog. Track visits from these sites in the “Referral” section of your Google Analytics dashboard to measure the effectiveness of these visitors.
nvite thought leaders with high online visibility to write guest posts for your blog. These authors will have followers who read their content. If they post to your site, they will help you share their post through their social media channels, which again drives visits to your website.
It may be difficult to recruit guest bloggers. If you find that is the case, try to provide benefits to writers, such as prominent links back to their websites.
Other Digital Marketing Initiatives
Leverage all your digital marketing channels by including a link to your blog in your electronic communications – email signature lines, client alerts, invoices, etc. Add a link to your blog in all your social media profiles – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
As with all digital marketing initiatives, measurement and tracking are key steps for identifying tactics that work and tactics that don’t. Review your Google Analytics or other analytics-tracking platform regularly. Understanding which topics resonate with your readers will inform your content strategy as you go forward.
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