There’s one thing I’ve learned about being a blogger—the cost of entry may be cheap but it’s expensive to sustain.
And that’s why, more than we would like to admit, [law firm/lawyer/anybody] blogs are increasingly neglected or abandoned. Blogs are not necessarily expensive in dollars and cents, but are necessarily expensive in time—and as they say, time is money.
Despite the bill of goods you may have been sold, bloggers spend a lot more than “a-few-hours-a-week” drafting, editing, linking, posting, cross promoting, and in the best cases, responding to comments. Not to diminish the fact that demands on their imagination—keeping it interesting, relevant, and appealing—are also significant.
No wonder that for many bloggers “the thrill is gone.” Go ahead, browse the Internet for law blogs and tell me you don’t find a bunch of article archives where once lived an animated social media presence. Check out the Alexa statistics for some law blogs and you’ll find some very “long shots.”
Are there law blogs that remain highly active—absolutely, but, not without apparent reasons. They have support, motive, passion, and/or incentive.
- Many have content creation support; i.e. others write, they edit, approve, and pass it along to still others to post and promote—wrapped up neatly with their name in the by-line.
- It’s their primary marketing tool and it’s working—they’re motivated.
- They sell advertising to support their blog—they have incentive.
- They really like writing—it’s a hobby—it’s an outlet for their creative impulses that they can’t control. They’re passionate.
- It’s a combo-meal where a steady stream of blog content keeps coming in thanks to the efforts of multiple contributors—and the savvy marketers that coordinate and incentivize it.
- And etc…
But that’s not you? Okay, let’s put that behind us and move on….
You’re one of those solo bloggers who survived the recession, investing in low cost marketing tactics, i.e. your blog and other social media. Now you are busy with “real” work. You’re finding it easier and easier to disengage with your blog as the months go by. But is that wise?
I say that before you put that valuable real estate out to foreclosure and forfeit your original investment; hang on. I offer these suggestions—those I found to work for my own dip in interest as my time is limited—to revive and renovate your blog. If they work, let me know. If they don’t work, let me know—maybe I can help you sell your blog real estate at a deeply discounted price. (Just kidding.) But, seriously, you can breathe new life into your blog.
FIVE ACTIONS THAT WILL BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO YOUR BLOG
1. Be honest.
Take a quick reality check about the differences between what your blog once was when it was shiny and new and what it is now.
- Did you post more?
- Were the posts longer/shorter?
- Did you take the time to add more outbound links?
- Did you cross-promote to social media more often to drive traffic?
- Were your topics juicier?
- Did you spend more time creating an editorial calendar—you are a publisher, right?
- Were posts more organized, purposeful?
- Were you often the first out on a topic?
- And, etcetera…
Make a list. Create two columns and document then and now. You may be surprised and find actionable adjustments.
2. Reassess your objectives.
Go back to the beginning. Dig up your original proposal—the one you sketched out on your note pad, discussed with your blog developer/coach, or presented to the managing partner, your marketing committee, or CMO.
What was the top-ranked objective (TRO) of your blog strategy?
- Build your Google footprint?
- Attract clients?
- Gain qualified exposure among your known networks on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter?
- Promote a practice area?
- Push traffic to your website?
- Identify leads through email sign-ups?
Is your TRO still relevant? What’s different today? If reaching your Facebook network—friends and family referrals—wasn’t on there two years ago, maybe it’s time to add that to your secondary objectives—and while you’re at it, throw in a few dollars for some FB ads—a viable tactic to replenish the readers you lost while you neglected your blog.
3. Revisit what you are trying to convey to your readers.
Social media is evolving and so has your practice in the past two years. What are the high-impact business problems that you solve today? Are they the same or have they changed? Can you be writing about them with frequency and connecting the dots to your expertise? How frequently? Do you need to revise your topics?
Are you involving your readers with a call to action—join the conversation, comment, sign up for regular updates, and etc…?
Did you ever consider what a neglected blog conveys to readers when your most recent post is dated 2011? At the very least, IMHO, it conveys that you have disengaged. Believe it or not, that can be a stain on your personal brand. It may be better to cut your losses and delete your blog if you can’t revive that once-upon-a-time passion you had for your topic.
4. Re-evaluate your participation.
What is the minimum participation required to get a meaningful return on your efforts? For example:
- Maybe you need to shift your frequency-of-post strategy? The more you post the more over all traffic you get, and traffic boosts your search rankings. However, if you post three times a week, roughly 12 posts a month (lots of work), the aggregate of your monthly traffic is distributed equally among all those posts. One blockbuster post a month can return the same amount of monthly traffic—the monthly equivalent of many posts—and the search robots don’t care, they’re looking at the overall traffic activity when they rank your primary blog URL. (Note: any individual post, whether it is one of twelve or one of two, will rise in the rankings if it is popular, however the home URL is weighted on an aggregate of traffic and will lift all posts.)
The first question you need to answer is: does your topic(s) really fit best into more frequent but shorter posts OR can you transition to fewer, more detailed posts, say even once or twice a month?
- To answer this question, study your site analytics at both the post and over all traffic levels. Do a public search on your topic(s) and compare how others are handling the topic—short frequent updates or longer form analysis—and make some actionable conclusions.
The second question is: what are the reading behaviors of your primary audience? That would be the audience that is most meaningful to you.
- IMHO busy professionals are bombarded with too much information. It’s important to note that some readers prefer to consume quick tidbits frequently while others prefer to find a quiet time once a week or so to catch up on all their reading. You need to know and strike a balance that meets readers’ preferences, and one that you can deliver.
To answer this second question, ask your readers!!! You can, you know.
- Add a survey to your blog or FB page. Or, offer, in widget on your blog, an extended analysis (something of value) that requires they fill in a short form with name, email, and answers to two questions about how they prefer to read blog content in order to receive a link to the download. It may take awhile to collect responses, but you’ll eventually see a pattern of readership that is actionable.
Finally, whether you post once a month or three times a week, I believe it is important to be CONSISTENT.
- You might even mention in your “About Page” how frequently you will post so your readers know what to expect.
- Statistically, blogs receive more first time visitors from search results than regular readers, however, if your topic is narrow and your audience focused you are likely to attract more regular readers—let them know your publishing schedule.
5. Get a visual facelift.
There are dozens of free or low cost options for updating the look, feel, and even the functionality of your blog—inspiring for both readers and you, the publisher—nothing like a new outfit to make you feel rejuvenated. My favorite blog combo is WordPress and Thesis Themes. Thesis just launched 2.0 and the customization options are amazing. Doable for do-it-yourselfers, or, break out the checkbook and spend a few dollars to hire someone to re-face your blog and enjoy the results.
What do you think? Valuable information? Are you inspired? Drop a comment, share the knowledge—or contact us for help! I sincerely appreciate your support and value the prospect of your business—we can help you! Contact the VMO.