Mining Existing Content for the Social Web

Business teamLaw firm markerters, this one’s for you!

Part of the VirtualMarketingOfficer’s mission is to pass along ideas to make your job easier. So, if you’ve been tasked with setting up or directing a social Web program in your firm, here are your first 4 steps.

  1. Establish the rules of the game; e.g. policy, guidelines and training.
  2. Survey attorneys and staff. Who is participating, where they are participating, what they are conversing about? Are there any influential voices in the bunch? Do they know of each others participation and do they collaborate, cross post, backlink, etc.?
  3. Manage your RSS feeds, blogs, news services, and social networks using a tool like iGoogle (there are others, this just happens to be my favorite). Then, train your attorneys to do the same.
  4. Mine for content and synergies that already exist within your firm.

For the purpose of this post, let’s focus in on #4.

Within every law firm there are people already doing interesting things and producing useful information. Often the stuff they know or have already produced is hidden, but it’s there, and it’s your job to aggregate it and help them to re-purpose it on the social Web to easily build reputation, establish expertise, and forge new connections that can lead to business relationships.

1. Start with the annual report, practice group newsletters and press releases (even the ones that weren’t printed in full). Look for content patterns that can be organized in categories. Cross reference all firm attorneys by categories.

2. Reduce the categories to areas of focus (not practice groups). For example, your law firm’s strategic and marketing focus could be “practice innovation” or “bet the company casework,”  “legal risk management counsel,” “controlling costs in litigation.”  These are all potential themes for blogs, or for publishing articles on peer to peer networks.

Keep in mind that key words and themes associated with a lawyer’s name are one way to help them rise to the top of search results within networks or the Web search engines. Help them gather up 50 keywords or kw strings that serve as a reference to stay focused –across all networks and services.

Next, add categories for  “fellows” programs,  rankings, or honors. Associate attorneys with these categories. These attorneys obviously have made a name for themselves and have something interesting to give back to the community. Consider creating a jointly authored blog, with a theme of course, and an editorial calendar.

Is your firm involved with an alliance with other law firms or professional services firms? Bring individuals from those alliances in to the mix. They all have a vested interest making a referral network work, so why not consider creating a group, forum, or discussion board within one of the existing online networks, or again, a jointly authored blog. A simple monthly email sent to alliance members with jointly authored and themed blog post excerpts will surely increase activity and keep your contributors top of mind.

These are just a few off the top of my head ideas. I know there are other ways to leverage existing content, so in the spirit of inspriation and sharing, leave yours in the comments.

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