A recent article posted on the excellent JD Supra blog for law firm marketing discussed what large firms do on their blogs to define their practice area and build their online presence. A common trend in 2011, they report, was for firm websites to pile on great heaps of content and appear as a large conglomerate in something resembling a “corporate brochure.” This pattern, they now point out, seems to be transforming to a greater emphasis on enhancing a site’s functionality.
In the great race to look big and powerful and draw an ever-increasing number of page views – whether by amassing tons of SEO-enriched content or through a slick web design – one vital point of emphasis is getting overlooked: It doesn’t matter how many people are viewing your site if they are the wrong people.
While developing and sharing plenty of fresh content on a consistent basis helps to build reputation and solidify a firm’s position as a thought-leader, relevance is often overlooked.
The goals of a large firm’s website include turning a qualified website visitor into a new client without wasting time talking to non-qualified prospects and supporting existing clients.
This nugget is equally true for firms of all sizes. It is vital to consider some key questions when you select content to be posted to your firm’s blog and social media outlets:
1. Are you writing for business or consumer prospects?
2. Does the look of your website reflect the size and scope of your business and potential clients?
3. Is the tone/level of the writing targeted to the proper audience?
4. Is the material distinctive enough to add value in a way that only you could?
5. If you hope to have the content shared by colleagues, are you promoting it to facilitate that approach?
Developing and sharing relevant content helps to ensure that referrals generated from this effort are on target.
When setting out to write a blog post, knowing you should do it frequently to keep your website content fresh, do you struggle with what to say that will add value or attract readers? Do you find yourself staring at your blank screen much like a teenager stares into the fridge looking for snacks?
The top search engine is an amazing research tool and it can be your best friend in identifying topics of interest to your prospects. Using google alerts, you can readily track news and developments in your industry, and then add value with comments and interpretations. You can tailor your search queries on topics you want to monitor, as well as controlling the frequency and quantity of results.
If you are uncertain about what topics to follow, you can take another tip from google, this time from google trends. The “hot searches” area on this site indicates what people are looking for; attaching a story idea to a widely-searched topic is a way to leverage some of the popularity of that category if you connect it to your business.
Just because you’ve written about a subject doesn’t mean it’s completely done. If a CPA has done a post about year-end tax strategies for small business owners, it is still legitimate to discuss time-related planning, e.g., “Automating Your Business’ Tax Plan for the New Year.” Blog posts should be brief and sharply focused; that format leaves plenty of room for expansion in a separate, related article.
Sometimes, we can get bogged down with an idea, weighing the merits, worrying about whether all of the SEO terms and top keywords are included. While it is always a good idea to ensure that your posts are relevant to your audience’s interests, it is just as important to be consistent about posting regularly. Rather than agonizing over fine-tuning the perfect topic, focus on the quality of your content and be sure that you are adding value to the “public conversation.”
I know, it’s a hideous-sounding thing….kind of what your six-year old would say when tasting your spinach smoothie. Or maybe what goes in the thought bubble above Snoopy’s head? But a business blog is an incredibly cost-effective way to add fresh content to your website, and there is a direct and profound connection between fresh content and building link popularity (“the total number of web sites that link to your site”). The benefits of a business blog are numerous:
- drive traffic to your website
- identify yourself and your firm as an authority in your field
- provide helpful resources and information to differentiate your business from competitors
- connect with customers with a more personal voice
- engage clients in an interactive dialogue through comments
- attract a social media following
Most busy entrepreneurs and business owners are rightly focused on their primary objective: meeting the needs of their varied stakeholders and doing the job they are hired to do. Many rely on referrals for additional business, and intend to enhance their online presence…..SOMEDAY!
According to Hubspot, a business blog is central to a successful inbound marketing strategy that will help you get found and generate more inbound leads online. They offer 6 reasons your business needs to blog:
1. Build thought leadership by showing your expertise and becoming a go-to resource for prospects and media.
2. Get SEO (search engine optimization) value for each blog article, resulting in more opportunities to get found online.
3. Engage in a dialogue with customers and prospects through blog comments. Host conversations and respond to issues or questions.
4. Attract social media followers. Businesses that blog enjoy more social media reach because they have content to share.
5. Generate more leads online. A HubSpot study found that businesses that blog generate more than 67% more leads online compared to businesses that don’t blog.
6. Humanize your brand by giving your company a voice of the people behind your brand.
It can be daunting to enter the world of business blogging without assistance. At times, it can feel that there is TOO MUCH information available, making getting started overwhelming. Let us help you tap into the potential to position yourself as the expert in your field with customized, professional content targeted to your industry or specialty.